For all the Linux newbies despairing, don't! I started with Linux about a month and a half ago. It's new to me, I'm completely literate with Winblows. I still don't have my plustek parallel port scanner working (it won't work with XP either though), and haven't quite figured out file sharing with my wife's WindblowsXP machine.
But you know what? I love this OS. With dual boot on my machine my wife can access the shares she needs on my machine under Windblows until I get it figured out. I'm typing this while listening to music on a headset under Linux, a major achievement for me.
OpenOffice is great, and I can say goodbye to the licence vampires at MS. Tonight I managed to transfer all of my email contacts to Linux, and working with Ximian I like it. It doesn't have everything MS does, but it has many things that MS doesn't, including being free.
It's worth the effort. I still can't migrate my wife's machine to Linux, as hers is mission critical and I don't have the knowledge, but once I'm done with mine, we can't wait. We're looking at having to pay MS thousands over the next few years for software and OS licences, something we can't afford.
The Linux Community is vibrant, helpful, and the best tech support you could ever hope for. If you're thinking of trying Linux, try it, be patient, it's not point and click quite yet, but it's definitely worth the effort.
Now if only I can get that scanner running, and figure out why I have to do sound card detection in order to get the sound card to work........and windblows network sharing.............