Hi all. First off, thank you for taking the time to check this. Now down to business. I have used Windows for the majority of my life. I'm sick of it though. I've heard a lot of good things about Linux, especially the fact that there are a ton of free distributions. My problem with switching: 1) I don't know anything at all about Linux whatsoever. 2) I don't know what I need to learn, and where I need to go to learn it. 3) I don't know what I need, or how to find it. What I want to do, and don't know if I can with Linux: --> AIM/Yahoo/Jabber/ICQ/MSN-Windows MSG/IRC (or compatibles) --> Be able to backup all of my audio CDs, video DVDs, PS1/PS2/Xbox/GameCube games. --> Standard Internet usage. (i.e. browse, yahoo games or similar, chat, download, e-mail, etc...) --> Run an older computer as a print/proxy server. At the least, a print server. I have 4 printers: HP T45, Epson Stylus Photo R380, Brother HL-2040, and an HP 712c. What I would greatly appreciate is if anyone could point me in the right direction as to college courses (online or off) and/or free guides/tutorials on how to do programming (like what I would need for say... Linux. (Big surprise, eh?!) As well as the same for web design. I have a bit of free time on my hands and that all I want to know how to do is program and web design. I mean I know the basics of taking a computer apart and putting it back together, but I want to do something that actually takes some intellect... well that, and I think it would be just fun to do & learn. I know that programming is hard, but I also know that it's very gratifying when you can create something that can help so many others, and best of all when you make it 100% free. Granted donations may be nice, and that's what helps a lot of places continue to develop their software, but it's not all about the money to me. I just think it would be kinda cool if everything for computing that cost so much was also made free and easily accessible. Any help whatsoever would be much appreciated. Oh, and while I'm at it, does Linux need special hardware? How hard is it on system resources compared to Windows (e.g. memory [RAM], CPU, etc)? Would something like Knoppix be a good alternative, or at least something to play with to learn Linux? Just curious. Well, I'm going now. It's 7:59 AM EST (US) and I haven't gotten sleep for a good while now. So I think I'm out. Bye. Xero.