I recently started trying out a version of Linux called Linux Mint. If you've been reluctant to try Linux, or if you have and got frustrated with other versions out there, then I encourage you to try Mint. Completely free, open sourced, and based on Debian and Ubuntu. It's the closest to Linux has come to Windows in my opinion. I haven't yet given up on my Windows 7 (which I love) but I've had fun with Mint, which is something I haven't been able to say before with Linux-based OSes. A good use for this will be on one of my older, slower, laptops. Linux is far less needy than Windows, and may breathe new life into an old system.
One of the most disconcerting things about running Mint, or any version of Linux for that matter, is that you don't need anti-virus or anti-spyware software. With Windows that's practically the first thing anyone should install but, it is deemed unnecessary on Linux due to i't open-sourced nature. Since Linux Mint, and versions built on it, is open-sourced there, are more eyes on potential security flaws and vulnerabilities. If a vulnerability is found, it has a very short shelf life. There is a firewall included, but it is disabled by default. Be sure to turn it on.
As I write this, Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” RC (release candidate) was just released! I know what I'm going go play with after I post this!!!
From the site, "Linux Mint 15 is the most ambitious release since the start of the project. MATE 1.6 is greatly improved and Cinnamon 1.8 offers a ton of new features, including a screensaver and a unified control center. The login screen can now be themed in HTML5 and two new tools, “Software Sources” and “Driver Manager”, make their first appearance in Linux Mint."
Here's the "what's new" for those curious. Once you download the .iso file, you can give it a try by running it from the DVD without having to install it, although any work/changes you make won't be saved.
A complete list of torrent links and direct download mirrors is located here.
Remember, it is completely FREE and created by people who love what they do!