Having used it for over 12 years I can say it performs certain tasks well.
Some cons on using linux exist. There is no Shockwave support. As far as I know there are no plans to have any so if you need it, don't bother.
On the other hand it is a free operating system and you can purchase/scavenge cheap parts and build a very nice computer these days.
Purchasing the latest technology and operating system from M$ comes with a nice price tag. If you are at all handy with a computer options abound. Knoppix detects most hardware and will give anyone who is interested in the OS a look at a live system on their hardware.
A destop oriented version is Ubuntu. It is based on Debian which is at version 5 at the moment.
Gentoo is my choice I have run it since version one was deemed fit by drobbins. He has now forked funtoo.
At present this box serves well for running some educational software for one user and some stuff for me like git. Everyone wants the computer time here. Youtube videos are great and I can play music fine there. Haven't tried to play a movie yet but do have vlan installed. If I need to I can reboot into XP and run user accounts from there. I prefer the little one stay entertained by such things as GCompris. This is available on windows. After checking into it. The M$ version is shareware sort of...the full version is free on linux OS Microsoft users are used to paying so it shouldn't be a bad thing for them to make a contribution by helping us opensource advocates.
As long as movie disks will play and youtube...I can start ssh and login from the other box and do things like git and friends. Or play with ruby and any other webapps I wish. Life is good. Except there are 3 users and only two pc's. (starts looking thru the spare parts).