If you are completely new to linux, red hat may be a best bet, however there are 2 problems with red hat:
in reply to What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
1. Red HAt 7.NO- red hat releases notoriously terrible distributions with its x.0 releases.
2. They also throw almost everything + the kitchen sink in the distribution.
This can make for a lot of security holes if you are going to have it on the net.
Debian is known to be a hackers distribution- I personally haven't tried it, but most of the guy's i know that are into linux are running it.
If you are going to have something that will be on the internet 24/7 I personally reccommend OpenBSD.
Supposedly it is a bear to install.
(If you have flaky hardware)
It took me about 20 minutes to download it and install.
The first time I tried to install it.
The thing I like the most about it is the fact that you get a bare bones secure system.
This way, you get to install what you need, and learn about the system.
(Plus you can help try out deprecated's package manager.)