It is so gratifying to say that I am finally using linux!!!
I am still on MS Windows, but one step closer to leaving it behind!
It is both exciting and liberating to be able to change things to make them how I want them while also seeing exactly what the operating system is doing!
I ended up using VMware, which is a virtualization software upon my dad's recommendation. It was nice not having to create a dual boot, and I also have added 2 linux distributions, Fedora Core 4 and Ubuntu (Breezy Badger). It just sucks that my host platform is the memory hog of XP.
After being in GUI world for so long, it was really nice to play around with the terminal and moving around the filesystem.
VMware lets you allocate RAM, diskspace and has virtual drivers for all hardware devices so it makes it pretty easy to configure. After installation, I realized that it also is pretty easy to do this with linux without the virtualisation software, but VMware lets you take snapshots of the configurations so you can always revert back to an older config.
I am still rather new to these 2 distributions, but here is what I found so far:
Fedora Core 4:
-Installer is more graphical
-takes 4 cd's to install!!
-has an interactive startup
-seems to want to install way toomany modules than needed (at least for me - did the workstation install)
-has an annoying subscription updater from red hat that always loads on startup
-had trouble with video card configuration (might be because of VMware)
-sound was harder to install (also might be due to VMware)
-the default text editor is a little hard to use (vi)
-overall not too hard to configure
Ubuntu (Breezy Badger)
-can't login at root, must do it from usr login (i assume good default setting)
-isn't bundled with support for 'rpm' files, just tarball
-have to have a little more understanding of terminal usage (at least for me)
-has pretty awesome package installer
-nice graphical interface (layout similar to fedora)
-had same troubles with display as in fedora (must be VMware issue) after i installed vmware tools, things were cool
-network settings weren't as intuitive as fedora (maybe biased because father helped with fedora and i followed with ubuntu == father is Red Hat expert)
Overall both operating systems are up and running and doing good. as I learn more I would like to post more comparisons.
(Thanks to Brian for suggestion on using Ubuntu too! I really like it!)