Andrew_Levenson has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

When I go off to college in a few months (oh dear!) I am going to be supplied with a new laptop (which will be used for schoolwork and photoediting schtuffs), so I am considering lugging along my semi-outdated desktop I currently make use of, to mess around with a *nix(like) operating system.

What distros/OS's do you suggest? It does not have to cater to PURE beginners, because I am willing to take some time to learn, but I would prefer that it not be purely for the professionals.
(i.e. I'd like to try to stick to the shell, but wouldn't mind a back-up GUI just in case.)

Thanks in advanced!
C(qw/74 97 104 112/);sub C{while(@_){$c**=$C;print (map{chr($C!=$c?shift:pop)}$_),$C+=@_%2!=1?1:0}}