Hi I'm a little new to linux although I had installed mandriva some time ago and knew my way around it (sort of). It happens that I was forced to format my HDD so I tried out Ubuntu and was completely lost.

I'm looking for a distribution that can help me learn but I don't want to start with something difficult (example ubuntu gave me problems)

Another question: Which distro is the ideal server/security build?
I heard from some thats it's red hat. Then again red hat will probably body blow me. What distro are large company's or goverment using for security purposes?

I'm a pc repair techie but I have no knowledge of programming.

Ubuntu is actually considered one of the easiest Linux distros to use, so I don't really know what to suggest. The fastest way to learn *nix is to emerge yourself in it, and using 'easy' distros like Mandriva, SUSE, etc. do not teach you very much about it. You should definitely learn how to use the command line before you even think about creating a Linux server. :)

Well I don't think that my failure at ubuntu was due to a higher difficulty level than mandriva, more so because everything was pretty much changed up and it was harder to find the most simplest things.

I'm willing to give Ubuntu another try but I want to make sure that the distro I start over with can sned me on the correct path towards learning or getting a glimpse of a widespread distro used for security purposes for high end applications.

I wouldn't mind starting with one and upgrading to another.

You might try Fedora (which is basically RedHat for desktops) or CentOS (whish I think is akin to RedHat for free). Both of these would have SELinux (RedHat's security extensions) built in for sure.

For servers i would say CentOS/Redhat or Debian. Do not use Fedora for serversa. Its too buggy and has a short releasy cycle

i would start out using ubuntu, but i would definetley learn to use the command line. After you have more expirience, then i would go on to use slackware, or gentoo, as this will teach you a lot more about how linux works. I agree with jbennet, fedora sucks for servers. i would use something lightweight like debian, but virtually any distro could work as a server.

dont use SuSE for servers;. Novell lies. Its crappy

jbennet, have you tried SLES? I actually think it's pretty good and useful as a serer OS.
I like Novell, they make good products.

For immersing one's self into Linux, I would suggest Gentoo. Just print yourself off a copy of the appropriate handbook (based on your processor architecture), and follow it very carefully.

Slightly easier, but without a nice little manual to follow would be Debian - my distribution of choice.

debian is one of the easiest distros to install ever.

dont use gentoo for servers ever you will regret it

use debian or centos

use debian for servers. (many distros including gentoo and arch get a new kernel every week or something. Its really annoying)

RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Slackware are also very popular server choices.

CentOS is also good. It's basically RHEL but free.

I have always heard that RPMs are pretty bad.. is that true?

Not handling dependencies very well, slow, unreliable, etc. I have always heard that debs are better.