I just wanted to add to this thread my experience. While I don`t have much experience with linux, I have the perspective of a new user. I believe this to be invaluable to new users or pre-new users ( if you will ) of linux. I tried to download various distributions by either netinstall or .iso. The problem I was having was none of the .iso`s worked for me, or they would boot and give me some kind of Kernel error ( which I didn`t understand ) but then I found this. http://www.download.com/UNetbootin/3000 ... d=10863683
check it out. download the file Which takes less then 10 seconds, and the resulting utility will install just about any distribution of linux you like via a drop down menu. It will then proceed to guide you through partitioning you drive and deciding what packages you wish, ie. server, laptop, desktop, ect.
I partitioned my HD and installed debian in under 30 min. from download of said utility above to first boot up of my shinny new database server ready system
This option takes all the stress out of trying to switch from windows to linux. And you can get to the nitty gritty of learning *nix commands, programing ( not whilst under an oppressive system ) and well, really join the open-source community.
One final thought, and its a big one so read it slowly.
THANK god there are great people out there who saw fit to make information utilization technology that worked great and was free. Thank god for open-source.