For free open source software, hardware recommendations,
instructions, plans and user manuals see HiveTool.org
I just bought a new HP laptop to replace my old one that was shorting out, the first thing I did was write zeros accross the hard drive to erase Windows (which I had to pay for) completely. Then I installed the stable version of Ubuntu, 12.10 LTS and turned off automatic updates. I run apt-get update & dist-upgrade once a day and I also run possible dubious files through two anti-virus programs. Just having a system that is common, such as Windows or Mac, or a system that is a big target used by the military or banking, such as RHEL, puts you in a higher risk category. Just having a Linux box does not protect you if you leave back doors open, make shared folder mishaps,neglect updates or if have terrible passwords.