I think Linux is a great too, especially if you want to learn programming. You can get a great background on programming for just looking at the Kernal.
Man, look at all those lines of code. Now, I have a programming background in C. C++ is similar, somethings have been tidied up a bit.
However, I think if you have the time, and the resources, it is a great thing to get involved in.
As far as configuring your perfs, most things now-a-days, with some exceptions, run out of RPM files, and can be easily configured.
I know some of the files, as far as drivers go, are a pain to setup, for example. I have a motherboard with an ON board RAID, and it too awhile for me to get it working correctly.
Well, I hope this clears somethings up about Linux.