I am getting annoyed and tired of Microsoft's marginal business ethics and would dearly like to cut them loose. However, the switch to a completely new operating system and programs seems awfully daunting. I am not a computer geek but am willing to learn. I am an architect, my mostly used programs are AutoCAD and Sketchup, for which I would have to find alernatives and embark on a steep learning curve.
I have now replaced an older laptop (Dell Latitude, about 2009) running Windows XP with a new one, and could use it as an experimenting platform to get into Linux and acquire experience before committing to it completely. Is that a feasible plan? What open source programs would replace AutoCAD and Sketchup best, with the least re-learning pain? I should say that I do not need a 3-D CAD program. What would be the replacements for all the other things I need (internet browser, word processing, e-mail, etc., etc.)? What other help is there to be found in the Linux community?