This one below, is my Linux Install. Click the Thumbnail to get the bigger picture. This particular Linux flavor (flavour for us brits) is called Ubuntu. Its free to run, it gets free updates e.t.c, comes with Firefox Web Browser, an FTP Client, Instant Messenger, Media Player(s), Games, Word Processor, Slideshow app, Spreadsheet App and more!
Only thing is, with the Browser being Firefox you don't get the smilies in JWD when your editing/making a post. Mainsteam Applications won't work with it but since you've been running Windows 95 i dont think you'll have issues running Linux and your in a better position for doing so.
The theme i am using, isn't the default one - i would provide you with all the little bits VIA the internet, on my webserver if you really wanted to go for it. It can play MP3's and stuff, although i took a few mins to set that up.
Remember - Windows XP doesn't have to be all Blue and stuff, you can use tools/programs to make it better! You can also make it look a lot like earlier versions of Windows, by switching to the Classic Startmenu and Theme.
Windows XP Pro (don't try Home its lame) is a good Operating System once you've set it up exactly how you like it. I found i hated XP at first, till i got it myself and now i refuse to install anything less.
I have an extensive collection of Wallpapers for XP that i've got from Windows Vista Betas and things, so your desktop doesn't need to look dull. Also i know certain features are nothing short of annoying, so as you go along i can show you what you can turn off if and when you need that.
Automatic Updates are a must for Windows XP - without those installed your OS isnt secure and safe. Also you need an Anti-Virus and Firewall setup. Internet Explorer 7.0 is in development, that also will be a needed update to keep your OS secure. Install the Firefox Browser since that sports tabbed browsing (browser windows open within the web browser, not on your taskbar).