There are several main versions of Linux, and most of the distros seen are versions of these.
One thing we ought to get clear is that 'linux' is actually just the central part of the OS, and on its own isn't much use for anything. To use an analogy, linux is like a car engine. Not much use without the surrounding and supporting bits.
The proper name for the car engine in our analogy is 'the kernal'. Different distros surround the kernal with different bits and pieces depending on what the aim of that particular distro is.
I've tried several different distros, including:
The one I finally settled on is called PCLinuxOS. Being a windows user, I found this particular distro more forgiving and easier to get on with than the others.
The thing to do though, is to try several different distros and see which one is best for you. If you aren't brave enough to do this just yet, go for the PCLinuxOS to start with. As with a lot of distros you can install this on your machine alongside windows if you want to.
In the next couple of posts, I'll look at Live CD's and I'll walk through an install of PCLinuxOS.