Linux Distros

First of all I'm a total newbie to linux.  I have to share a computer (actually 3 computers) with the rest of my family so therefore I'm probably gonna need a linux distro that runs alongside win9x.  I'm also looking for a distro that bundles apache with it (i'd assume most do).
Probably the main reasons I want to get linux installed are too get access to the gcc compiler and the apache web server (yes i know they've been ported to to windoze but i wanna use the real thing) so i can use a c++ compiler at home (and not have to lay out big $$$ for visual c++) and also use it as a testbed for some of my perl scripts.
Of course I've got to start somewhere but so I'll probably end up confining myself to the gui for the first while at least but I'd like to be able to go down to the lower levels later on and start working from the command line.
I've been looking at the phatlinux and winlinux distros but am not sure which one would be most appropriate for me to use.  I was wondering if any of u would have any reccomendations or any good linux books for me to browse around in.
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I think the most robust distro. is Mandrake.  (

Its a lot 'easier' than some of the others because it is 100% Red Hat compatiable, which means any fixes that are suggested for a RH problem, will apply to the Mandrake too.  That makes the number of resources (help docs etc) availiable really quite big, so any problems you have, you'll probably find an answer to.

It includes all the bits you mentioned above (esp. in the newest ver 6.1).  I use it at home and at work and we run one of our servers on it.  The other uses Slakware, which is a lot harder to get a hold-on, but more 'beefy' if you like.
Hope this helps

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