1,2. I would highly recommend doing it on Linux. You can easily do
this while still using Windows by using virtual machine software such
as VirtualBox(virtualbox.org) or Vmware(vmware.com). Go with
Virtualbox. It's pretty good and easy to use and FREE. You won't
have to worry about rebooting or dual-booting. It will let you run
Linux under Windows. So, just install Ubuntu into it. I recommend
Ubuntu 8.04 desktop. Afterwards, just google how to install RoR onto
Ubuntu 8.04 and you'll get a couple of good pages with great step by
step instructions. It won't as hard as you think.
3. I found the Agile Web Dev with Rails book to be very good for
getting started over a year ago. It takes you through a simple
project and get your familiar with the basic stuff. Afterward it runs
through more detailed information you'll probably want to also use.
4. If your deployment environment is Linux, then go development in
Linux. It'll make your life easier when you encounter and solve
problems on linux during development instead of running into them when