Posted 26 December 2009 - 01:34 AM
LiveCD is a good place to start. Remember that it will run slower than a full install b/c it has to be decompressed on the fly.
Dual boots are fine but you can bork an existing install if you're not careful
May I suggest a used Pll or Plll from thrift shop for under $50. You can run LiveCDs, dual boots and full installs with no fear.
Lexmark and Canon printers do not support Linux...return the favor and do not support them (yes, some models work, but it's the principle)
HP, Samsung, and Brother all support Linux....return the favor and support them. My Brother DCP7020 monochrome allinone laser works fine with Linux
Pay attention to Cameras and multimedia devices as you would MacOS. Cameras should have PTP mode and then they will be compatible.Try to use multimedia devices that are recognized as mass storage devices and you will have less problems.
Now, on to distros. most any distro will let you into the CL, however, for GUI I would recommend choosing either GNOME, KDE, Xfce or another desktop environment FIRST (b/c that's where you will spend most of your time if you are a GUI person) , then choose a distro that supports that by default. Most distros will allow a variety of DE, but each version is "tweaked" to take advantage of specific desktops.
Next, browse the forums and look for a distro that seems to have a seasoned userbase.
Then look for a distro that provides a reasonably consistent release schedule and a balance of cutting edge and stable apps. Some distros like to release cutting edge stuff and are not suitable for production use and will warn of that in their WIKIs.
I have distro recommendations if you wish
hope this helps