There are many excellent distrubutions of linux out there, and these are the best (going from hardest to install, to the easiest):
Gentoo – not for the faint of heart, but no excess bloating of the OS
Fedora Core – Not quite as pretty of an installer as SuSE, but still quite easy to install, with all the latest software packages.
SuSE – Very easy and pretty graphical installer.
Ubuntu – Very simple, lightweight install, with all the coolness of Debian.
Not quite ready to take the plunge into the world of linux? There are several alternatives, actually. You can try out a linux live CD. The Ubuntu install CD is an excellent one.
If you really insist on running windows, or just want stuff that works without a lot of hassle (or money), give some of these a whirl:
Audacity – a stellar audio editing program with all the bells and whistles.
The Gimp – a top notch graphic editor for all your photo-editing needs.
Pidgin – for all you msn junkies, here’s a program that does it all: msn, yahoo, icq, aim, and more!
Open Office – Think MS Office is too expensive? You’re absolutely right, because this one is free, and just as functional.
Firefox – It’s only the best browser ever. Download yourself a copy of Firefox and be happy. It has built in popup blocking, tabbed browsing, and it’s quick. If you don’t know what tabbed browsing is, you have to check it out, I can hardly live without it anymore.
Thunderbird – An email client for the light of heart. Developed by the same folks as Firefox.
Thats all for now, I’ll add more as I think of them.