Beginners are often scared away from vi and vim from the start because the first thing they usually do is open it, try to start typing, and then see all kinds of random things happen, none of which type text to the screen. They even have trouble trying to quit! Well, fear no more, I've got the basics outlined here for you. For the record, vimtutor should come with your vim and it is the best place to start.
Arch Linux is known for being a lightweight do-it-yourself distribution. Unlike some other distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint that come with a preconfigured desktop and all the programs installed, Arch Linux let's you build things up from the ground up yourself. For the uninitiated this can be an intimidating task, but it's not that once you wrap your mind around it. I'm going to go over customizing a Gnome 3 desktop environment including icons, cursors, themes, wallpapers, etc.
This article will walk through all the steps needed to create a unique and personalized desktop. I'll cover fonts, icons, mouse cursors, GTK themes, Openbox themes, Openbox menu generation, wallpaper and system monitors. In my example I will will make references to packages contained in Arch Linux. The same packages should be available for any popular Linux distribution, although the names may change slightly.
Arch Linux is a great distro that boasts bleeding edge up-to-date rolling releases as well as a very light and efficient base install. There is no graphical install and it expects you to have some basic Linux chops already just to perform the installation. Beginners shouldn't be scared away though because Arch Linux has a great wiki and awesome documentation.
FreeNAS is a great option for home or enterprise level network attached storage(NAS.) It is based on FreeBSD so it benefits from many of the unique BSD tools like jails. Jails are a secure way of segmenting a process. The plugins available run in jails to help with security. Installing FreeNAS itself is as simple as following the prompts. I'm not going to cover the base installation because it is simple, but will focus more on the post-install configuration. Note that the drive you install FreeNAS to can't be shared over the network.
Richard Stallman founded the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation. They have done a lot for the free software movment. Richard Stallman has a pretty hardcore philosophy and he is quite a character, but he is the leading role model for living life with only free software. For example, he uses a specific laptop brand because he wants to use a free bios. He doesn't use a cell phone because there are no totally free phones available. He is willing to make sacrifices to avoid something he has deemed unethical.
There is a way to get your exchange mail and calendar in Thunderbird, however I'll be honest I still had issues with the calendar after doing all of this. The calendar would load once, but then not load again. I'm going to provide this for reference. Perhaps in the near future some bugs will be sorted out in these addons, and maybe someone will have a comment on the configuration. I have included specfic versions numbers. If you want GOOD Exchange 2010 support, I recommend using Evolution.