A message of NOOB encouragment!
I am a noob. I am posting this to all you other Noobs out there who are struggling to make Linux work.
Linux is a pain in the ASS for the first couple weeks that's for sure. But as you learn and fix all the damned little problem that keep cropping up in the beginning you find that all the solutions out there...well... They just sort of work and just sort seem to make sense after a while.
Then you look at your system one day and think well I have this problem here... I think I'll try to tackle this one and you sit down and look at what others have done and what others recommend and find that if you work at it... Many problems have relatively EASY fixes that almost seem to just work like MAGIC. I submit these 2 stories of my Linux experience as example and realize as you read this that I have only been using Linux for about a month.
After about a week of the grueling process of getting a Linux distro chosen then Downloaded then burnt to disk then (GASP) actually Installed. I then needed to immediately do what seems to be one of the most DAUNTING tasks in all of Linux... Getting it to work with the ever elusive WIFI. After another grueling of fighting the system I found I had started to learn how linux thinks. In the third week or so I decided I wanted to mess with some video files and audio files I had kicking around. Wanting to convert some mp4's to .wav files which I would usually do with VLC media player on a win machine... I found that I had no MP3 encoder on my system. Yes I know you don't need an mp3 encoder to make .wav files but the way I was doing it in VLC... Well suffice it to say it was complicated. In researching that problem I found that I already had the capability built in to my distro and it was FAR Easier to do than it was on my legacy machine. But I still wanted the MP3 encoder. After I'd say no more than 3 hours of deciding to convert some video and audio files... I had the whole thing running smooth as a babes bottom. So much so that I took it a step further and got EAC running in WINE with it's own copy of LAME to do MP3 outside of having to convert them myself. between NEVER using WINE before and figuring out how to get EAC to have it's own copy of LAME... I think that took only about 2-3 additional hours... The solutions out there just seemed to work but beyond that it was almost intuitive... Like it made SENSE that the problem should be able to be fixed that way. not like on a legacy machine where it's hit or miss and PRAY you don't hose your registry in the process.
A few days later I decided I wanted to make a CD. All I thought I had was some CD-RW. Linux warned me before I burnt the disk that some older CD players wouldn't work with RW disks... and I though well RW disks are more expensive so maybe I should save it for another purpose than I what intended it for now. So I happened to dig out a stack of LightScribe CD's that I had forgotten I had. You see when this machine was built it was built with a LightScribe DVD Drive. For those that don't know that's a special Drive that takes specially backed CD's or DVD's and you can put the disk in upside down and burn your own custom labels into the back.
However when this machine was a legacy machine... I never could get the Drive to work for labeling a disk. No, never, not once. Once I burnt the disk I looked at it and said well I remember these disks were more expensive than normal CD's as well and I felt bad about it being wasted like that. So I decided to try to get that fixed up and running as well. Wouldn't you know it about an hour or 2 later I had everything I needed installed and running on the system. About 9 hours later I had the disk Image all done up the way I wanted it (took that long because I'm both ANAL and can't use Image editing programs like Gimp yet for crap) (tho admittedly GIMP is a million times easier and less blatently counter-intuitive than Photoshop EVER will be) I digress... some 9 hours later that Disk went in the drive upside down and out came it came when it was finished doing it's thing. Worked perfectly the VERY FIRST TIME!
TAKE THAT windows!
So for all you NOOBS out there. Take it from me, a fellow noob. Linux is a pain in the ass for the first couple weeks... But is it worth it???
DAMN RIGHT it is. If you're strong enough.
Get past those first few shaky weeks and don't be afraid to do some reading on the Internet. You will be FOREVER GLAD that you made the switch.