I was a newbie too...and on this forum I am still. Only 6 more posts to go until I can reach 'member' status. Heh.
I learned a lot using Mandrake Linux. It was my first distribution. But I wanted to understand the workings of Linux so I chose Slackware. When I get braver I'll try Gentoo or Linux From Scratch.
In either case, welcome to the Linux world. Hopefully SCO doesn't f*** it up for us.