If you are new to
*tex and GNU/Linux, then I'd suggest installing from the repositories first, and learn what and why you need
*tex for. By the time you can answer that question competently, you'll be ready to install TeX Live directly. (Or not: by that time you'll probably be able to install packages manually and come to realize that it is not very difficult at all --- assuming your comfort level with using the command line has also grown.)
The downside to this approach is that most of the people who write the (good) answers here will assume you are running as up to date a system as they are. So if you run into problems, lots of the advice here will assume you are not using something as out of date as packages from TL 2009.
One word of warning: if you do install TeX Live from the web, be careful about updating as deadlines approach. There is nothing worse than (foolishly) updating the night before something is due only to find out that it 'breaks' (temporarily) a document that compiled just fine before the update.
In short, if you expect you'll need to use engines like
xetex, packages like
pgf (et al.)
biber), things related to
latex3 (or packages dependent upon it like
siunitx), non-standard fonts, and so forth, then TeX Live might be a better starting point (because you'll probably want to update these pretty quickly). If you don't need to be so up to date, ease into using GNU/Linux and install with
apt-get. And when you do need to update, look first for packages ending with
tds.zip from CTAN: they are much easier to install.