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Linux is not as tough as it is thought of. Although if you are migrating from GUI based operating systems like Windows, then its better take some time and learn the basics and then get started.
For tutorial you can go to linux homepage.
You can get a lot of tutorial online I am sending you link to one of them
I would suggest this website : "Distrowatch.com" it has all the flavors of linux out ther (may be about a a hundred) and each with a description and what it is optimized for from there you make your decision whether to install in to your hard drive or just boot it from a cd (ISO that you can download and burn for free in the same website)
I think it depends on ur need . I had tried various kind of *NIX OS. But the best one is Knoppix (u can install it in harddisk). The reason is :
1. nice GUI
2. U can play mp3 or other audio/video file without installing more package
(in RedHat/fedora core/suse/mandriva etc u must install more package to listen mp3 and watch movie)
3. U can use it as a good try (without installing it)
4. Most of the package is suitable for desktop user
If you wanna use linux for server i suggest Debian/Ubuntu/Red Hat
first than all, look for the forum about your distribution and log in, there you will find the best help for beginners, and also there are online a lot of manuals, just read them carefully, and the time will do the rest, the experience.
I think the best way to start as a beginner is Trial and Error. after you reached a resonable level you can start with available books.
but remember that:
Don't play with SU or ROOT user when you are a newbie.
Linux live is indeed a great way to see Linux and get familiar with the operating system but it has limitation ……….. You can’t create any directories of make any files, plus there are a lot of commands which needs you to be logged in as administrator and that is some thing which you can not do in Linux live
for me, the best way for a beginner is to install a virtual machine software such as VMware and install Linux on the virtual machine to avoid any complications. after feeling comfortable with linux working, can choose to install normally without VMware.
Get Open Suse 10.2 from en.opensuse.org or just google it, it's a free download it's the best Linux for beginers, weather we like the M$-Novell deal we all have to admit that Novell is one of the internet pioneers and SUSE is one of the best Linux distribution arround! I would recomend Debian too, but as it's development phase is rather slow and carefull, it's not for a beginer as he'd have to build a lot of updated packages for software compatibility with newer apps.