post #11 of 11
Linux takes a while to get used to, but its not "that" hard to get used, especially if you've ever spent some time using the command line of any major OS . Its not that command line is required, but its much more common to manage *nix servers through SSH connections, than using any sort of GUI.

If you want to get used to linux, the most user friendly distro in my opinion is mint (variant of ubuntu). Mint is a good OS, but is more like a desktop OS with things like flash player and things already set up and included for you. For servers, I've always used debian (which is what ubuntu and mint are based on). And once you get samba set up, your windows boxes will be able to access the file storage easy peasy.

If you're a student in the right major, you can often get MSDNAA which can get you free copies of Windows server. So thats another option.

I'm personally using Windows Server 2012 in my server, but I got it for free from MSDNAA while I was a student (just graduated). I'm using it to keep sharp on my AD skills, and like others in this thread, I use windows servers at work, so it pays to have some outside experience with them.

If it were me, I'd give Debian a shot, and see how it goes. Heck, you can install it on a USB drive and run it on that until you know if you can make it work the way you want. Unless you have some sort of time sensitive reason to have the server up and running, you can play around with things a bit while you check stuff out.

Good luck with whatever you do smile.gif.