Yeah for a couple of years I've been wanted to load Linux distro onto one of my Windoze machines and explore the world beyond Redmond WA. Some friends had used Fedora and Gentoo. After consulting distrowatch.com I elected to go with ubuntu.com since it seemed very popular and has so much momentum. Not to mention the infusion of $10 million in financing.
I had trouble with running the Live CD and installing Ubuntu to my harddrive from the iso image on CD. I chose to go with GNOME GUI www.gnome.org I was pleased to see Firefox, my prefered browser, was included as was Open Office. I was less happy about version of Firefox 1.0.8. Out of the box Ubuntu recognized my two external USB drives, one FAT32, the other NTFS. I was able to open and view text files from both drives. I double clicked a Word document and it opened in Writer and was formatted reasonably well but not perfect.
Ubuntu did not mount my two internal harddrives which was annoying. I found a script to do the mounting in the Ubuntu forums.
http://www.pcmech.com/show/os/917/1/- Windows to Ubuntu Transition Guide - a guide on how to use your new Ubuntu system.