Many people in my opinion, are intimidated by the Linux world. When I mention to friends and family if they have every used Linux in their life time I get, "I don't know anything about programming." or "I wouldn't know what to do, I have never used it before.". Those statements are perfectly understandable. However, Linux is becoming easier to use for new and unfamiliar users by the day. Some Linux distributions that have been released such at Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora and many others, really strive to make the unknown Operating System tolerable and much more user-friendly. On top of that, the types of hardware that are now supported with Linux is greater than ever.
Take laptops for example. With my personal experience, getting a Linux distro to work on a laptop was an absolute headache. It was usually the hardware that was the source of the problem. Hardware such as the integrated graphics chips, the Wireless card, and the sound card. Not to mention the "Hot bar" that is on most laptops that provide shortcut buttons for specific functions.
Lately I have been using a dirto named Mint, and the version I am currently using is 9. Codenamed Isadora, which is wonderful. My first test with the distro was to install it on my laptop. That is usually my first test. Not only was it able to understand everything but installing the graphics card driver was a snap. All I had to do was enter the built in hardware tool, and Mint scans for any hardware that requires a driver. It pointed out that my GFX card needed one. All it took was a single button click and a reboot. I was ready to go.
A week or so after the laptop trial, I added it to my main PC and again, everything went perfectly. I am still currently using it at this point in time. Mint has since released their next version. Currently in RC stage. Other then that lets move on to sources that can help you out when it comes down to trying linux or just getting your daily information.
Distrowatch[dot]com : What a helpful site for keeping up with the latest distro news and popularity trends. This site is a must use. You can browse almost all of the public and common used flavors out there. When you do select a distro, it will provide you the current and past versions of the selected flavor you have picked. Including a list of commonly request applications that come pre-installed, along with that apps version. Link
Kernel[dot]org : This site is straight forward. The name about wraps it up. You can check the current (Stable or Dev) releases for any kernel version out there. Also included are download links to any version you need. Link
Linux[dot]org : Just like the kernel site, this one too speaks for itself. On this page you can find the basic information and breakdown about the Linux OS, what it offers, and news about updates and software. Link
Linuxforums[dot]com : If you ever run into a problem or just an issue in general, this is a good source to go to. Here you can chat with other Linux users, about Programming, Problems, Configuration, Suggestions and more. If needed people located here will gladly help you with an issues you might be having. Although if you are using the Ubuntu distro lets say, I would recommend going to their official forum first. Otherwise its a good site to check out. Link