I use Linux and Windows. Windows 8 at the moment and Ubuntu. If I had to work every day, and didn't need Visual Studio because of work, I'd choose Linux. It is far more flexible in the way you can use it. However, this leads to, as mentioned above:
"1. My head spins every time I try to sort out the myriad of distributions and what not's. Imagine 96 different flavors of Apple or Windows OS, with five new ones forking every other week.."
My advice if you want to try Linux is:
1 Download either Ubuntu or Mint. Both make it relatively easy to get started. Both also install alongside Windows (they do that for you) so you can run either system. There are, as the contributor above noted "myriad of distributions", so keep it simple and choose one of the ones I mentioned - later on move to one of the others. Remember, choice is the biggest factor in Linux - you can, quite literally, have the computer you want and work how you want, not what some big shot in Richmond dictates you will do. Linux = Freedom in a way.
2 Get it into your head that, unlike Windows, passwords to do things are very much a rather good idea. If Linux prompts for a password it is to protect you, not, as in Windows "Security" to get in your way of doing stuff.
3 Sign up, assuming you install Ubuntu, to the Ubuntu forum at http://ubuntuforums.org/ or any of numerous other Linux forums. Linux biggest strength is that people want to help you and, crucially, actually know what they are talking about. Keep posts simple, explain as best you can what the issue is - don't say "It's broke!" - and somebody will help you.
4 If you can't get something to work do not plug away it hoping it will work. Get on the forums and ask.
5 Viruses. There is no such thing as a virus in Linux. Should you run a virus checker in Linux? Yes , if you are really worried or if you pass a lot of stuff across to people who use Windows - a virus could be attached to an email for example. Do I run a virus checker? Windows, absolutely, it's the first thing I install when ever I install any version of Windows. Linux - never needed to.
6 Internet Banking - see 5 Viruses. It is one hell of a lot safer on Linux to pass your money around the internet than it ever will be on Windows.
7 Get a copy of Linux Format, write to Graham the Editor, join the forums.
By the way, I really like Windows 8, hate XP, Windows 7 is okay, love Linux. I run Windows 8 and Ubuntu (running from the fancy Windows 8 boot screen) but my favourite flavour of Linux is Arch - don't get there until you know something about it, but the forum is the best in the world in my opinion.