Perhaps you should try the linux distros first to get a bit of a feel of
*nix variants? FreeBSD can be daunting to the first time user, but is
one hell of a production system once you know how to handle it properly.

Several people in this thread have made this recommendation... I disagree with it.

#1. I don't think FreeBSD has a steeper learning curve than Linux... I'd argue the opposite, since with Linux you have the confusion of different distros doing things in different ways. That was one of the main beefs I had with Linux. Every Linux book is filled with statements like "if you are using debian, do this; if redhat, do this; if etc., etc." And I've never met a Linux guy who stuck with his first distro... the grass is always greener.

#2. If your goal is to use FreeBSD, why learn on Linux? Depending on the distro you choose, you may have to unlearn a whole bunch of stuff to use FreeBSD.

Sorry... I've been burned by Windows and confused by Linux. As a true convert, I must say: start with the best.

-- John

Off topic and none of my business:

As a business person, I would also question the idea of trying to become an expert systems administrator, and an expert website builder, and an expert marketer/salesperson/product manager, all at the same time.

These are all full-time jobs and no one has the time to do them all. You might want to think about focusing on the product/marketing/sales side (surely enough for one person!), and delegating all the technical bits to other people or companies. That way, you won't spend the next year or two spinning your wheels learning something that you could get for free or buy relatively inexpensively from a real expert.

Building and operating a website is the easy part of building an online business. Don't underestimate the difficulty or time and money required for the business side, particularly marketing. You should reserve at least 50% of your cash for marketing, in my humble (but experienced) opinion. %80, if your cost of inventory will be low (writing your own how-to guides, for instance.)

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