Yup. I keep a partition around too, although I don't use it too much. Mostly just when I want to play Halo or one of the Thief games. The best disto to start with depends on what you're looking for. Ubuntu is a very popular distro these days. Its approach is to do the same things that other mainstream OSes do, but with more panache. It focuses on having an attractive desktop and "just working" (although that's a bit of a pipe dream where computers are concerned). Still, the idea is that it's for non-technical users. Not that a technical user couldn't be happy with it, but more technical people tend to prefer quirky and customized setups that the average person would not put up with. Kubuntu is pretty much the same, but it uses KDE for its desktop environment rather than Gnome. In all honesty, most distros are pretty similar. The big choice you want to think about is KDE versus Gnome (or neither). Those two are responsible for whatever graphical interface your computer gives you. Gnome tries to be simple and attractive, whereas KDE is more about being configurable (it's a little over the top at times). I lean towards KDE, because it has some neat features like Kparts, which are program components that can be embedded in other programs, and KIOSlaves, which make all sorts of things available through the file manager. An audio CD will show up as a CD containing audio in a few formats which you can just copy to your computer when you want to rip them, for example. Gnome is nice too though. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter whether you use KDE or Gnome, your desktop environment is just a bunch of programs running. It's not tied in to the rest of the system at a low level like the Windows or Mac UI is. If you like, you can uninstall Gnome and add KDE, and vice versa, or they can coexist on the same system mostly peacefully. There is an X windows server that provides a place for programs to draw, and there is a window manager that draws window decorations (title bars and window borders) and otherwise manages windows on your screen, letting you move and resize them. Usually they provide a task bar or its equivalent as well. KDE and Gnome go one step further and provide a whole suite of system configuration tools, extra features, and useful applications. They're not just window managers; they're full blown desktop environments. Which is cool, if that's what you want. Your other choice is to just run X and a simple window manager. (Technically, you could run neither, but you probably don't want to do that all the time. Even I run X most of the time. Ever try browsing the web in text mode? Yuck.) This is what I do. KDE and Gnome are nice, but that's a lot of stuff to be running. I prefer a lean system, so I just run X with a lightweight window manager, even though my system could easily handle more. Running all that stuff just offends my sensibilities. Like I said, most distros are about the same. There are exceptions though. Gentoo is probably the major one. Rather than offering pre-compiled packages for everything, you download the source code and compile everything. It's popular with system tuning freaks since you can pick the compiler options that you think will make the software run best on your system, as well as leaving out some features you don't want. Gentoo doesn't start you off with a bunch of software that you don't want, which is neat, but compiling everything, even with a package manager to help out, is a lot of trouble to go to just to get a system up and running. Personally, I run Arch Linux, a distro that's similar in some ways to Gentoo, but which is based on pre-compiled software. Arch's approach is to start with a minimal base system, just about enough to edit some text files, compile some software, and use the package manager to install everything else you want. If you don't mind using a more complicated system, I recommend going with Ubuntu or Kubuntu, depending on whether you want KDE or Gnome. If you like the sound of a simpler system, then I highly recommend Arch Linux. Take a look at the install guide to see if you think you'd be comfortable doing it. I suppose it might be difficult to know what to install if you don't know what programs you want, so playing with some Live CDs first to learn about Linux software might be a good idea. Information overload yet?