Is anyone here familiar with it? Any distributions you might recommend to a complete beginner? I was thinking perhaps Ubuntu.

I’ve been considering trying it out for a number of years now, but never really had any need to. It’s knowledge that may help me when I finally enter the workforce, however.

I have a PC already running WIndows 7, but I ordered a re-install disc when I bought a new PC recently. I suppose it wouldn’t be possible to install it without first wiping WIndows, right? Is there some way I could partition the drive to fit another OS while keeping my current settings safe? Any general advice in this regard?

Linux is dead easy these days. You can install it along side Win 7 on your PC very easily. You can even try it out from the bootable disc to see if everything on your PC works right under Linux. I recommend Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx since it is the latest long term release. Since switching to Linux, I have lost all interest in Windows or Mac for my personal computing needs. It is much more stable, virus resistant and quite user friendly.

I agree with dooo, Ubuntu 10.04 is a good choice. Also the easiest way to try Ubuntu is to use it inside a virtual machine without wiping out your existing Window 7. I recommend using VMPlayer (VMware Workstation Player | VMware). It is free and pretty stable.

Mint Linux 10 is very nice. I’m yet to see a distro which compares with it.

(I know a newer version is out but that one just works beautifully for me. None of the new features are worth updating for.)