where can i download linux and what are the do's and donts

there are about 300 different linuxes. some are easy to use, some are hard, and some are very specialised

A good, general purpouse linux "distribution" for beginners is Ubuntu. You will need 256 (preferably 512) ram and a Pentium 3 or above to use it properley (if it runs xp well it should run linux)

Ubuntu is a "livecd" which means that you can try it out without installing first, in order to see of you like it and if it detects your hardware.

Beware that installing linux may delete windows!

If you decide to continue, you need to download the .iso image (usually free). Its about 700mb. Do not download over dialup.

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

Ubuntu offers a service where you can order the cd by mail, i think.

You will then burn the .iso image to a blank CDR (not CDRW!). You do not burn it like you would a usual file, you need to burn it as an image. Some programs like Nero offer this facility but if not, there are many free programs which can do it.

To look at a list of linux distributions and read review look here:

http://distrowatch.com/

um whats wrong with a cdrw? I burn distros to cdrw all the time?

they tend to have a higher failure rate

oh mines never failed...what speed do you burn them at?

its due to the fact that CDRS can only be rewritten a set number of times, cheap ones fail after 3 or so rewrites, good ones are more like 10