With every other language I've had to deal with, it's always felt like the designers were saying, "Yes, we're trying to make your life easier with this language, but these other things are more important." With Python, it has always felt like the designers were saying, "We're trying to make your life easier, and that's it. Making your life easier is the thing that we're not compromising on." (Bruce Eckel)To get a first impression of Python have a look at the Wikipedia article.
On a Linux system you can use the package manager for the installation of these components. Some of them are probably already installed by default.
Not every Python package can be downloaded as a Windows executable installer. However, usually the packages come with a setup.py which you can run with
python setup.pyor you can create an installer with
python setup.py bdist_wininst
There are tons of free documentation available online. Some good places to start might be:
A denser presentation together with many essential Python idioms can be found here:
I highly recomend this, there is no better way to spend half an hour reading time!
You can use the Pylint package to automatically check your code quality (or at least some aspects of it).
Personally I use the very popular Eclipse IDE with the PyDev plugin. This works on all operating systems. The PyDev plugin can also make use of Pylint. There are many more useful Eclipse plugins available, e.g. Subclipse for Subversion support.