1) You say that you've come to a conclusion. What made you come to it? You
should explain us the reasons, not us :-P
Overall, IMHO the difference between BSD and Linux may be significant in 2 reasons:
- you only know 1 OS of those and don't want to familiarize with the second one;
- you're a hardcore power user that seeks for maximum performance.
Otherwise, I think you can go for any of those.
Concerning getting familiar with Linux - it depend on where you are now
If you are a complete newbie, go for a Mandrake - it is extremely easy, simple and user-friendly. You can get a general grip of Linux GUI, but not actually a Linux itself
It's far too hidden behind soapy interfaces.
Also, you may want to check out Knoppix and other LiveCDs - they don't need to be installed and let you look around without spending too much effort.
If you want to get a solid understanding of what is what - I'd go for a RedHat/Fedora. These are still fairly easy to tame
, yet quite powerful and configurable.
And if you're a geek, a dork and a monster - go for Slackware or even Gentoo
Those are the most complicated and least friendly, but once you unleash their power - you'll get blown off your seat.
P.S. All said is purely IMHO, of course