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As someone who has used Linux off and on for many years, I would highly recomend Ubuntu Linux to anyone who is interested in trying linux out. You can go to http://www.ubuntu.com and either download the iso to burn your own CD (direct link for x86 CD download: http://mirror.cs.umn.edu/ubuntu-releases/6.06/ubuntu-6.06-desktop-i386.iso) or you can request that Ubuntu send you CDs for free (https://shipit.ubuntu.com/).
If you just want to try it out, boot from the CD and it will give you a fully functional linux computer for you to play around with and it won’t have any effect on the files on your hard drive. If you decide you like it, you can use the same CD to install Ubuntu permanently on your computer.
Many others have their own favorite linux distribution but I have found Ubuntu Linux to be the easiest, most hassle-free distribution making it ideal for a beginner. There’s also a great on-line support community for ubuntu at their web site.
As a side note, there is a liveCD distribution of linux called dyne:bolic that is made specifically for media creators so it has lots of tools for streaming and manipulating audio files. We use it a lot at our radio station. Because it’s a liveCD, you can also just boot from this CD without effecting any of the files on your hard drive. You can download it at http://dynebolic.org/.
There are currently only a couple of automation programs for linux that I know of so we use it mostly for editing and recording at our station. Linux is also really helpful when using older, donated computers as it tends to run faster/use less resources then windows.
Good luck getting started in linux! Maybe if there’s demand for it (and if it hasn’t already been done) myself or someone else could write a tutorial on how to install linux and set it up for radio automation.