You can try codeacademy.com to get a feel for different languages. It's free and you can learn the basics of several different things there.
Some version of "C", probably C#. Although I can get more done with 50 lines of FORTRAN code that most programmers can with 1000 lines of C#. But alas, it's an "outdated" language, much like Linux is an "outdated" operating system.
Linux is No such thing
I found C# fun to learn. You can download Visual C# Express from Microsoft for free. If you have no experience, you can start a bit easier with Microsoft Visual Basic which is quite powerful nowadays and easier to read than C# at first. (Download Visual Basic Express in that case).
Java paid well in corp. environment.
Ruby (and Rails platform) is paid well in startup scene.
Where are you hearing that ****? Programming is more about the theory rather than the language.
icon, ada, sisal, prolog, JR, fortran, pascal, and cobol.
haha just kidding. Java
Start with C.
It's a good grounding for ALL the other languages.
once you know one language, the others just kind of click, and it becomes like learning a dialect of a language you already know. each new language comes easier.
(well, assuming you don't get to close the the hardware - assembler is a *****)