Do you want to check out Linux on your current machine safely, leaving your current set up untouched? Virtualization allows you to do this using VirtualBox. We are investigating this method to integrate BYOD with our 1 to 1 program. Wikihow has a nice write up on how to install Ubuntu on VirtualBox. Keep in mind that you want to have at least 2GB of memory (4 would be better) and 10-20GB of disk space free.
Once you have it set up, play around with Ubuntu and see what all the fuss is about!