If I had to start someone on linux today, I would probably start them on openSUSE with Cinnamon.
It's a more familiar, Windows XP/Gnome 2 style interface, without too many surprises.
But I still prefer Gnome3 with Docky, panel docklet s,evil icon status forever and pidgin integration.
And Tom's Hardware offers some fixes for Gnome 3 too, in their review of Fedora 16
Windows Vista is still my favorite desktop ui. Discuss.