Linux (Ubuntu) Mint 17.3, still the Number ONE
Ubuntu Mint has the best GRUB 2 in all the Linux distributions, I have installed in my computer.
It detected Windows 8.1 which I craftily shifted to the second hard drive.
It also had the canny insight to leave the old boot record untouched and available at boot time.
I had to press F2 or Del to get to the boot record.
One has to remember Linux Mint came into existence, when Ubuntu deviated and went developing Unity desktop, which I never criticized (they have the right to take decisions like a successful business adventure) tier new vision BUT admired their bod steps.
One can still get gnome desktop which is poorly supported officially but a community effort.
So if one wants to go back to Linux basics I have no reservation recommending Linux mint.
Its 17.3 version comes in MATE and Cinnamon desktops.
I am not sure it has the KDE desktop but only tested Cinnamon desktop.
If you want all the desktops in on installation Debian 8.2 is the best bet.
It does not support Abiword (DVD installation disk) which was a handicap for me.
In closing Mint had a temporary breakdown of its web site.
We must thank the server administrator and the team for getting its running again.
If you had any problem with Mint web site recently that was the reason.
I also recommend downloading torrent file instead point to point download for the above reason (temporary instability).
No wonder why Linux Mint is Number 1 at Distrowatch ranking.