You know, we REALLY need a newbie mining guide. I haven't seen any decent ones.
there's a difference between linux newbie and bitcoin newbie
Here's an ubuntu 11.04 guide (no need to be running the latest ubuntu, it will cause you more trouble than is worth ATM)https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7514.0
BAMT is the easiest though. Just stick it on a drive, ssh in, change the password and edit 2 config files and then just start mining.