I got into Linux at the beginning of the year and it sounds like we have allot in common.
My home network consists of a Windows 2003 server, two XP workstations, a wireless XP laptop, and now -
1) Debian Sarge workstation running as a multimedia / recording station. 2) Sarge server running Apache2, Samba, Squid, squidguard, DansGuardian. (locked down with iptables)
Iím trying to decide either to put the Linux server between my cable modem and my network or setting up another box as a gateway.
Just finished a few articles on IDS, Network security, and securing Debian.
Anyway I would suggest to read
as much as you can on the subject/direction of your interest. I've been using the internet exclusively to gain access to books and articles. There are tons of it.
As for version I really like the flexibility of Debian/Sarge. Very configurable, tons of support / addons. There are flavors compiled for specific usage but I like to get my hands dirty and crash systems a few times. Thatís what it takes for me to learn. I've done full reloads 5 times to date.
Note Ė Linux administration check out Webman GUI content management tool.
Well from one newbie to another stick with it if you really enjoy it / read, read, read.