If you want to start learning Linux the best advice I can give you is:
Start out as a user first
The simplest way is to download some live CD from the Internet,
for a sample this one:
Centos live CD
Either of which will boot into a full working Linux distro,
without installing anything on your windows box.
when your done playing with the Linux server, just remove the CD from your computer, and reboot – your windows will come right back.
both the distros I’ve linked to here are very similar – they use the same redhat code, but the fedora is more cutting edge development version of everything and the centos is a stable server environment.
The fedora LiveCD will also allow you to install it to the machine your using from the LiveCD itself – after the boot you will see an install Icon on the Linux desktop.
Start playing with the servers, while reading some linux tutorials,
start as a Linux user and then work your way up to power user and to admin in the end.
Hands On Training Tasks for Linux Sysadmin
After your feel you know your way around as a user:
- reading and writing files
- working your way around the file system
- installing some rpm packages
You can start working your way through some serious hands on training – try to do either of these:
- Setup A stand alone DNS server
- Setup Apache server with php and SSL
- Install MySQL server from sources
- Setup sendmail
- Install WordPress or Joomla on your Apache/MySQL and happily see it all working together
Each of these tasks will take a long time to figure out for the first time, and on the way learning to do the task, you will learn a lot more things that you wouldn’t have just by playing with the server.