There is a free "version" of Red Hat. It is called Fedora. It is not exactly the same as Red Hat, as the Hat long ago became a pay-for distribution. The Fedora project is, for the most part, a parallel project and is 100% free.
To try it out, you can download and burn a "LiveCD" image. Boot from it and try it out without even touching your hard drive. If you like it, you can play with it for a while, get some comfort, and then, if you choose, reformat and install Linux with confidence.
I would encourage you to try out several distributions with their Live CDs/DVDs before you decide which you like best and install it.
The Fedora LiveCD is available here: