Linux Live CD's are a great way to introduce yourself to the Linux operating system. You do not have to end your reliance on the Windows operating system and you have the ability to see what the other side has to offer. Many Live CD's are available for download. Puppy Linux, Backtrack, and Knoppix are some popular Live CD distributions.
In todays world Linux has grown up. Driver support is one area that has finally gotten much easier than it ever was before. Many drivers are auto recognized simply and easily. This is especially helpful when using a laptop and a wireless connection. You automatically have a connection to the World Wide Web.
For desktops there are two major choices, KDE and Gnome. Both of these desktops have become very comparable to Windows. Each of these have the built in Linux option to have two desktops at one time. Knoppix even offers a 3d desktop option and the graphics are out of this world. One of the more popular things the world of Linux has always offered is comparable software that is free. Several word processing suites, many graphics packages, media players and games are all offered for no price.
Many activities that are harder in Windows become easier with Linux. These Live Linux versions also automatically recognize your Windows files. On the other hand with all of the achievements that Linux has made, it is still not ready to compete hand in hand with Microsoft.
Some of the issues you can run across still affect major operating areas. Sometimes you have to manually enter information that most users would not know. I would generally always recommend trying Linux to a technical savvy person. However it is not for the faint hearted and if you do not have a lot of technical knowledge I would hold off loading any Linux version.
Linspire has gone a long way to release a user friendly Linux version. This should not be considered an option for a technical person. However for the layman who just wants a computer that works the way it should Linspire may be an option for you.
No matter what you decide Linux is here to stay. Several hundred thousand developers world wide are doing there best to improve the Linux system In the next few years we may very well see these operating systems being able to take on Windows in a very real way. For a small time Windows Vista was being considered to run on a Unix back-end. For a long time Apple has ran on a Unix back-end based on FreeBSD.
With so many developers and technicians contributing to the Linux operating system, it will not take long for it to become a viable alternative to Windows. Using these Live CD's will give you a wonderful ability to test the waters.