Quote Originally Posted by xArcticGx View Post
My school pre-installed a lot of useful programs like emacs, GIMP, a few accessibility tools, Maple 16, WINE, etc.
Regarding WINE, it is important to understand that it is an imperfect solution (although better than trying to run Linux programs under Windows!). A few programs work perfectly; some work OK; and most don't work. Refer to the WINE application database to see what has been tested.

I strongly recommend that you use PlayOnLinux. PlayOnLinux is a front-end to WINE, making it very much easier to install, configure, run, and uninstall Windows programs. To install, I recommend that you go to the download page and follow the instructions; but you can, if you prefer, install from the standard Ubuntu repositories (if you decide to use Ubuntu).