I'd recommend putting Linux on a extra system or dual booting one system to allow you to get used to linux and see what you can get to work for you and what obstacles you may or may not have. That way it's a easy transition without going "all in".
Distributions i'd recommend Ubuntu or Fedora, why? Because it's what I like, and most people are using one or the other in one shape or another.
But look at them all, you can always change your mind with free software =)