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First steps in Linux:

(I will use the term Windows to mean any Microsoft Windows produce eg. Win98, Win Millenium, Win2000, WinXP,Win7. Also Linux used to mean a GNU/Unix system.) A couple of things to know before you start using Linux. I guess the first thing is that unlike Windows which is made by Microsoft, Linux can be made (distributed) by any of a number of companies or organizations. Each has its own strength's and weaknesses. You will probably like one better than another. Each of the over 300 Linuxes is called a DISTRO but it is an Operating System (OS) just like Microsoft Windows or the MAC OS.

Tux, the Linux mascot/symbol

Some of the main players in the Linux game are :
Ubuntu (S.Africa) 	openSuSE (USA ?) 

 Red Hat/Fedora (USA)		Slackware (USA)	

Mageia (formerly Mandriva,Mandrake -France)	Mint (Ireland)

there are hundreds more....
All are available over the Internet in one form or another. The cost for each varies from $0 for downloads to a maximum of $30 for mailed DVDs.. I recommend using UBUNTU because it is easy to install and has the most support systems world wide. What makes Linux unique is that it is an 'OPEN OPERATING SYSTEM'. You can copy, modify and distribute a Linux distro FREELY with no worry about copyright. Most importantly for today, Linux is virtually virus and malware proof. You need not worry about an attack to your system. Linux is as easy to use as any Windows OS since it uses the same key-stroke short-cuts and has an easy to use desktop. There is many, many free LINUX software programs which you can use. Many of these programs do the same kinds of things as popular Microsoft Windows programs such as MS Office. There are also programs for Linux which are identical to those of MS Windows. Your NEXT STEP is to TRY OUT LINUX without affecting your computer.