I suggest that you install a newer version of Linux first. If you are comfortable with Redhat, try Fedora Core 5. It comes with all the new programs, rather than 5 year old ones. It also comes with a package manager called Yum, which downloads and installs a program and all its dependencies automatically. There is pirut, which is a graphical front end for Yum.
Also, you should be able to install Acrobat Reader with no problem. FC5 comes with evince, a PDF reader that I find is actually better than Acrobat. Also, KPDF (If you prefer KDE) is similar to evince.
Alternativly, other distros such as Ubuntu (if you like Gnome) or Kubuntu (if you like KDE) are excellent for Newbies. I personally prefer Kubuntu.
I hope this helps