I've played with Linux since the 90's and did most of my graduate projects on it. But, for the normal user, it's still primarily now what it was then: a hobbyist toy. From an OS design perspective, it has distinct advantages over MS, especially in the areas of security. But for a desktop user, although Linux has a much prettier face now, it is still not user friendly, often requires manual adjustment, and still hoses itself from time to time. Upgrading Windows is now virtually seamless. Upgrading Linux can lead to the complete loss of functionality (as happened to me with a Fedora upgrade about four years ago). Recovering from this required hours and hours of work and research in order to preserve files, config files, and specialized settings. How long has it been since you had to reinstall Windows? So my advice is to avoid Linux as a desktop OS unless you enjoy tinkering with it (as I do). Then, depending on how much tinkering you want to do, pick one of the major distributions.
Terminal? Are you kidding me? Yeah, I used teletypes before terminal, but it is now the 21st century. Please be serious and recommend four modern UI's.