This is my favouite thing in IT. It's a free operating system in one of two ways. It's free in price (no catch). Also the programmers have to include the code they uses to write it, both of these principles use the term "open source". Started as a university project in Finland by a man named Linus. This has evolved into a complete operating system. The basis of android, probably on your router and powering this web server, it's efficent, never crashes and is compatible with every standard out there. It's so small you can run it from a USB key to try it without it affecting your main operating system. A suite of Windows programs do work using emulation via a tool called PlayOnLinux, but if you need one not referenced at WindHQ maybe stick with Windows or Mac.
There's a distinction between configuring something and using it. I've found people find it easy to use but not configure. It can get a bit complicated at times, my Dissertation looks at making the process of Linux device installations easier.
What you get in return makes things worthwhile. If it all seems too much for you, get a geek friend to assist :).