You can get Mandrake here
Mandrake works great. You will have to learn about boot loaders (lilo), and auto mounting file systems (fstab), configuring X servers (Xrfee86), sound systems (ALSA) ect. I have Mandrake 10.0 installed on 4 machines and each one was a little different but installation was intuitive and understandable. Several window managers come with Mandrake. KDE, GNOME, ICEWM. Several mail clients, several office suits, Open office, Koffice. Text editors, Browsers like Mozilla and Konqueror. You can download Firefox which works great. (Better than I.E.) Media players, calculators. C development enviroments, Web servers (Apache), FTP clients, Instant messengers, ect. And there is 1000's, yes no kidding, of rpm's that you can download for it. I have it installed on machines from a Celeron 400, PII400, PIII850, P4 2.2gig. As long as you don't use a Nvidia super blaster video card or just released piece of hardware the installer will probally auto detect it and take care of it. You will have to research and configure some hardware. Wireless 802.11 is something that will be the toughest. I advise getting a wireless bridge to plug into your network card with a cat 5 cable. It is painless and you will be up running a wireless network in 5 min. As for the 802.11 pci and pcmcia cards it will take some more work like getting the windows .inf file and making a module for your card to work under Linux.
If you want a good Linux tutor, you can get a distro of linux that runs completely from cdrom. You just put the cd in the drive and turn the machine on. It has good hardware detection and will allow you to see how linux works before you make an install. it is called Knoppix. You can get that here.
Let me give you these links to help start you off
Hey, dive into it. It'll be a struggle for a while. But when you get a little into it then you will have a box that every web site, hacker, virus, activeX script, jpeg buffer overflow flaw won't be able to attack.