TeX Live is an easy way to get up and running with the TeX document production system. It provides a comprehensive TeX system with binaries for most flavors of Unix, including GNU/Linux, and also Windows. It includes all the major TeX-related programs, macro packages, and fonts that are free software, including support for many languages around the world.
Some starting points for actually using TeX are in this introduction to the TeX world.
Plan for TeX Live 2013:
27mar: sources committed, builds begin.
8apr: tlnet (and TL'12) frozen, tlpretest starts, CTAN updates continue there.
27may: complete freeze for final build, no more updates, final doc tweaks, always more testing.
8jun: deliver final images for the TeX Collection DVD to manufacturing.
1jul: public release (also of MacTeX).
August?: delivery of DVDs to members.
TeX Live has been developed since 1996 by collaboration between the TeX user groups. TeX Live was originally perpetrated by Sebastian Rahtz. Present miscreants are Karl Berry, Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard, Norbert Preining, Peter Breitenlohner, Reinhard Kotucha, Siep Kroonenberg, Staszek Wawrykiewicz, Tomasz Trzeciak, Vladimir Volovich, and a cast of thousands.