Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Building a Linux distribution with the novice user in mind has been tried many times over the years. If you had to pick one area where many new users struggle, it would have to be installing new applications. Missing dependencies or improperly configured repositories lead to frustration and, ultimately, abandonment of the entire platform.
Some recent distributions (like Moblin and Jolicloud) have taken hints from Apple using an app store approach to let users browse and then download approved applications. This brings a familiar process (browse and download) to the novice Linux user and, hopefully, takes the guesswork of software installation out of the picture.
Igelle DSV 1.0.0 is a recently released distribution with an eye on simplicity. It focuses on a simple end-user experience and a small footprint. Minimal system requirements include a Pentium III processor or higher, 256 MB of RAM and at least 1GB of disk storage. The full distribution fits in an iso file that's slightly over 600 MB.