I am a techie who has never blog on technical issues on this site before. I have been focus on politics ad infinitum since I started this blog sometime last year. But I do have a fetish and it encompasses any flavor of that free software first developed by Linus Torvald...called Linux.
Ubuntu an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others" is the name chosen by the Debian Project for their complete open source operating system built around the Linux kernel. With the havoc that viruses and lately spy ware is leveling against Windows, folks need to take a second look at Linux. There are numerous easy to use Linux distributions that don't have these problems and Ubuntu Linux is the new kid on the block.
Ubuntu Linux is a simple to use Linux distribution that comes with all the basic software you'd need - a word processor, a mail client, a web browser and much, much more. It has an active community which is responsive to its members.
Go here to pick a download site. Once there you can either download an "Install CD" or a "Live CD." The Live CD can run entirely off of your cdrom drive. That means it will not change your computer and will allow you to take Ubuntu for a test drive.
Most Linux distributions are easy to configure and a joy for the inner geek,but there is a learning curve. Switching to Linux is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for a computer novice...it might drive some people crazy since you have to re-learn how to solve problems that you've already learned to solve on Windows a long time ago. The file structure is completely different, and so most people will be confused and end up just installing everything to run out of their /home directory, if they can install anything at all.
Personally I use and adore Linux, but I really don't think Linux is ready to be a mainstream desktop operating system yet (this is a regular debate topic on Slashdot). So as sad as I am to say it, I don't think you should switch your computers to Linux unless you know what you doing because you'd have to learn a whole new set of software - as Linux versions of what you currently use in windows (assuming there's some specialized software for your field) almost certainly don't exist. There's also no Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. There are some decent copies, but they're just that – copies.
So choose but choose base on your skill set. If you are tired of the malfeasance that comes with windows and have a decent computer know how then Linux is the way to go. But if you are a click and go kind of guy or gal stick with windows and pray that the redmond demons will stop calling on your computer so often.