Well hello CodeMonkey, I am not sure what you mean by the first part but if you want people that have generally seen the field from a broad perspective then you have come to the right place as almost everyone has used Windows at least at some point and therefore is able to compare them with hard experience.
As for distributions, I have found that fedora is a nice distribution for the computer literate as it is as stable and easy to use as you want it to be but is ready to push the bleeding edge when you want it (or wish it). The online help and community makes this distribution a personal favorite of mine (although I don't have that much experience). You can find it here
with a fast download mirror (at least here in Texas) here.
and you can get them through bittorrent if you wish (a p2p downloading solution) here
Two great forums for linux are the Fedora Forums
and the Linux Questions forums
HTH (hope that helps)