One major question for any person thinking of shifting to Linux is ‘Which distribution of Linux should I choose, and which is appropriate for me?’ There is a dearth of comparison matrices for people new to Linux, and those which ARE there are totally focused on the technical specs. Certainly not helpful for beginners.
Now Linux is not like Windows, which is only sold by one company (Microsoft). Rather hundreds, in fact, thousands of groups make their own operating system, called ‘distributions’ or ‘distros’ in short. Some are paid, many are free, but most of the groups (like Red Hat, Novell, Mandriva, etc.) do release a free download edition. Do remember that if you want these, either be ready to download huge files, or pay some small amount to some online retail store to give you the CD/DVD. One notable exception to this is Ubuntu (by Canonical Ltd., of Mark Shuttleworth, of space tourist fame), which ships its CDs free-of-cost to anyone anywhere, apart from the download option.
Before you reach THAT stage though, you need to choose the distro most suited for you. This can be a daunting task. There have been some attempts to make something to address this, but they have been pathetic and half-hearted, to put it mildly.
However, that will all but change with this questionnaire-style ‘test’ from Zegenie Studios that asks a few simple questions from which it determines which one is ‘best-suited’ for your needs and level of experience. It may not be a perfect match, but it will be a good guide to what you may require.
In the end, the LDC (Linux Distro Chooser) will give you the exact matches to your criteria, a short write-up on it (generally the official blurb) with a link to the company / group’s website. As a thoughtful feature, it will also include results will closely match your requirements, but not exactly, with the reason why they did not qualify; pretty useful, because it also gives you as clear view of the alternatives.
The site may underestimate itself by saying that only a limited number of distros are listed, but believe me, the ones they have are basically the only ones that matter. It also includes ‘live CD’ versions that run direct from CD, just in case you only wanted to try it out.
Looking forward to meeting you in the Linux community!