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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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I don't know what you want to learn. If you want to try out different desktop environments, perhaps Mandriva, openSuSE or Fedora would be a good idea as they come with several.
If you want to learn about how the operating system works, perhaps slackware. If you really want to go hard core, look at Linux From Scratch. You will following detailed instructions and build your own Linux system from scratch, compiling all your own packages from source, and writing your own configurations and scripts.
The distrowatch web site is great for finding out which distro's are available.
Good thing to have is as many live CDs as you can get, that way you'll have a wider view about Linux and the different flavors/distributions, you also will find out which ones will run better in old/ancient hardware or new hardware. It is the easiest way to try without have to install.