I don't think I can put Salix in the "ideal for beginners" category yet, but it's getting there. I would warn against the Ubuntu-based distros, though, because Ubuntu sends a lot of experimental and beta stuff along in their updates that cause breakage. A lot.
I think my best recommendation for a total Linux novice might be MX-Linux. Very newbie-friendly, Debian Stable base, awesome cool tools, easy installation, great community.
Talk about other linux distributions, or even other OSes.