Going with the original topic of this thread: I'm also a considerable Linux newbie, with my only real experience being running Ubuntu (10.10 I think) from the LiveCD.
I'm thinking when I get my Pi I'll go for Debian, since it seems to have the largest support and community behind it. Where would people recommend getting started? I want to be poking around on the insides but I know in the past I've tried to install packages on Linux and (as I think someone has shown above) have been baffled. In my experience, most tutorials and guides tell you what to do, but don't actually tell you what you are doing. It's all well and good giving me some copy pasta to stick in the terminal, but its useless if I don't understand what I'm actually doing.
tl;dr: Any good Debian guides/tutorials for a computer literate Linux noob.