My first Linux distribution was Slackware Linux. There were only a couple of choices back in 1993/1994 – Slackware and Yggdrasil. I distinctly remember installing Slackware from 24 3.5 inch floppy disks (these things in case you are too young to remember them). A somewhat tedious but oddly rewarding experience.
I used Slackware linux for many years, using it to build numerous SMTP servers, Usenet servers, web servers and even a point-of-presence dial-up server using an ISDN card. Slackware was, and continues to be, a very clean Linux system. You learn a lot more about Linux using Slackware than you ever will using Ubuntu or Redhat. There is a saying in the Linux world: “If you know Red Hat, you know Red Hat. If you know Slackware, you know Linux.” – certainly true in my view.
At some point in the late 1990’s I found myself trying out various distributions of Linux including RedHat, SuSELinux, Debian and others. I continue to prefer Slackware as the basis for my server operating system builds if I am building from scratch, but for desktop OS I then became a long time user of SUSELinux. The package manager in SUSE (YaST) was so much better than RedHat offered at that time and apt-get was still quite immature in comparison.
Then the whole Novell situation occurred with SUSE and I decided to look again at my “free” options. I tried and did not like Ubuntu on the desktop but I did find myself drawn to a distribution based on it – LinuxMint. It has remained my desktop distribution of choice for the last 2 years although I have recently installed Ubuntu on my new 4K desktop build and Gentoo on a server build.