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you could also read some reviews of distributions on this site.
they give a lot of info to compare different 'brands'.
edit: o yeah... and first install it as a dual booting system ( at startup you have a choice between linux and windows, so in case of linux install problems, you can always reach info on the www,
probebly this site. )
As far as a good first step, I would recommend Xandros as a distro to help you with the transition. It is one of the easiest installs I have seen yet, and very well set up out of box. It supports NTFS partitions (read-only) without having to recompile, so you can access your data. It also can resize a NTFS partition to allow room for it to install itself (ALWAYS back up your data before doing this just to be safe). Once you get the hang of X (in Xandros's case, KDE) and the linux console, also known as the bash shell, you can try a few different distros to find the one of your liking. I prefer Fedora myself, but have used Redhat, Debian, Slackware, SuSE, and Mandrake. Fedora is based on Redhat.
try mandrake 10 because it has this easy-to-use control center (sorta like the control panel in windows, but with much more stuff, and more configuration possibilites). Plus.. I find it gives you great control over the system, and KDE 3.2 on mandrake 10 is just awesomely sweet sauce (the eye-candy is super, and gives easy control). installation is easy, too. Fedora Core is also nice (installation is easy).
ok good so far, but i don't need to dual boot, I'm using windows/internet on a housemates pc, so I can play freely with my own pc and shove basically anything on the HD as soon as I've formatted and partitioned it.
i need something that supports a lot of music processing programs (some advice on those oculd be cool to if anyone knows any pro music techies using linux), so far debian looks the most obvious, is that suitable?
another thing is I really don't care how much it looks like windows - in fact, the less resemblance it has the less nightmares i'll likely have remembering how much time i've spent tryingto fix problems on windows
I haven't found any good music software for Linux yet... Give it time. I use Cakewalk Sonar myself... and until something on that level comes out, I'm stuck with Windoze.
As far as desktops, they all look the same really... Mirrored after the original Macintosh desktop in one way or another. But there's enough difference to keep you happy... Especially once you start using the multiple desktop option.
As far as not needing to dual-boot: Cool! That makes installation that much easier.
really? I'm sure I read about a number of initiatives, but maybe those articles were newer than I anticipated (I should really check the dates on stuff)
have u tried audacity?? it looks really sound, and supports vst which is handy
i saw some others listed on linuxsound.jp that claimed to support protools, which would suggest they had pretty reasonable capabilities, again in this area there seems to be a lot of choice, though i'm sure a lot of it sucks