Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
In this cursory overview, Mark Rais, provides some of the common reasons why people brand new to Linux have installation failures. The brief article covers issues with Fedora, Gentoo, Mepis, PCLinuxOS, and Ubuntu.
The anaconda installer used in Fedora is pretty resilient to installation errors. The interface is reasonably easy to follow, even though some new users have gotten confused by a few of the key steps.
However, there are some overt issues that appear after installation, rarely during the install.
I use Gentoo in situations where fine tuned control and performance are essential. It's a damn good flavour, but it is questionable whether Gentoo should be used by someone brand new to Linux. In any case, the number one biggest issue I've found people completely new to Linux have with Gentoo installation has to do with the total compile and completion time.