I started using emacs a month ago. It's great.
Emacs isn't only a text editor, but it's a powerful desktop manager in text mode with graphics support in X. If you don't know what version of emacs install, let my tell you my experience. I've tried all versions of emacs, and the best for me is emacs-snapshot. Why? because I listen music within emacs, I write music with lilypond within emacs, I surf internet with w3m within emacs, I browse files within emacs, I program in several programming languages within emacs, I process text for Tex, LaTex within emacs, I use a console emulator within emacs, I read and send mail within emacs, I view ps and pdf within emacs, I read the man and info pages within emacs, I install packages within emacs, I query dictionaries within ... well... sorry, I could not stop ... it is a joke to make you realize everything you can do without leave emacs. And spend much time in front of the screen without antialiased fonts is deadly... Emacs-snapshot (Xft Gnu Emacs) is the only one that I know of that supports antialiased fonts in X. Go to www.emacswiki.org/emacs/XftGnuEmacs
to take a look.
So I recommend you install emacs-snapshot. The package emacs-snapshot-nox is a version without support for X, and the package emacs-snapshot-gtk is a empty package to facilitate upgrades (all emacs with X support work with gtk). Once you are familiar with the emacs environment (motion, killing and deleting, search, work with files, buffers, windows, commands..) then you can take a look at www.emacswiki.org/emacs/SiteMap
to see what complements are useful for you. A little example:
emms: the emacs multimedia system.
gnuplot-mode: a Gnuplot mode for emacs.
midge: generates MIDI files from text input. Included is a emacs mode.
mpg123-el: an emacs front-end to mpg123 audio player.
timidity-el: an emacs front-end to timidity to play midi and mod files.
w3m-el-snapshot: an interface program of w3m, a pager with WWW capability. It can be used as a lightweight WWW browser on emacs.
And with package: simple package system for GNU Emacs, you can install complements and modes within emacs. However emacs-snapshot include a lot of extensions.
I hope that this long long long commentary encourage you to install and discover emacs. This takes time and patience, but believe me, it's worth.
PD: I don't speak english very well... sorry.