In that case, there's probably very little reason to reinstall Windows since 98 is nearing its end-of-support from Microsoft. It wouldn't install since it requires a FAT32 or FAT16 type filesystem installed on the partition, and Redhat uses Ext3 or something similiar. I'm not even sure if 98SE is capable of repartitioning a drive. If it had worked it would have just overwritten everything else anyway.
If it's a boxed set off Amazon, then you're probably right to get it. That way you get technical support from Mandrake if you really need it.
Of course people here said it's easier to get rid of Windows
Many Linux users (most, even) started with it after getting fed up with Windows, for all the same reasons you mentioned. In one way it *is* better to go for a Linux-only system because you force yourself not to rely on the Windows you know, but don't love.
Linux may take some work to learn, but it can definitely do all of the things it promises. My system's been rock-solid and it is now at 9 days since I last rebooted. I've actually used it do some rather heavy file-serving for months straight with no problems. The rare program that crashes never takes down the entire system or forces a reboot. Its security has never let any spyware or viruses install off the web.
I can't speak for everyone, but I help out on this forum because I want to give something back, since most of Linux has been contributed in the same spirit of cooperation. Plus I feel sorry for everyone who still uses Windows