I will give you a little background on my linux use. I started with Ubuntu about 2 years ago. I knew nothing about what it was or how to use it. When I installed it and got it running, I began using it like a little kid would. I knew what I wanted to do so I poked around until I found out what I needed to do for it. I also found that Google is your friend, as well as forums like this one.
Listen, yes there are some downfalls to linux, but they all can be worked around. I will address the OP' questions first then the second posters problems.
1. What would be the best way to install it? I have an extra HDD but it isnt a SATA hdd. Would I be able to set my extra hdd as a slave and use it with my current motherboard which uses sata hdd? if so, would i be able to boot from either hdd?
Here is what I recommend. I would just leave the one hdd in your computer. Then I would install whatever distro of linux you want on it. Just write over the current OS. This will allow you to have full access to the OS and you won't have to mess around with the bootloader.
2. what kind of issues would i run into as it pertains to drivers for the motherboard and ethernet, audio, etc?
The major distros of linux ie. Ubuntu, Fedora, PClinuxOS, OpenSUSE Mandrake. They all are pretty much up-to-date with all the latest drivers. Linux in general is made with work with
the hardware not
Now as for the things that serpentracer has mentioned. Yes there are some printers that cause some problems with drivers, but you can find drivers all over the place for them, and the instructions for how to install them. You don't need to be a computer programer or have any experience with that side of things if you don't want to
As for the fact that you need a million different programs for a million different tasks isn't entirely true. I know that you can do all of your watching of movies and playing of music in a program called VLC
. If you need all your music organized you can use a couple of different programs, the one I use is called Rhythm Box.
I guess what I am trying to get at here is that Linux will work straight out of the box if you want it to. But at the same time you need to be willing to do a little learning, just like you did with windows if you can remember do that. So if you are up for a fun time and a little work Linux is for you.