I am finding gentoo to be rather nice for Linux-oriented programming: I have five different versions of GCC (and two boosts and three pythons, etc), and I can switch between them any time, such as when I need to verify a solution or reproduce an issue someone is having on a particular version.
Plus there are other C++ compilers available in gentoo: clang, intel, and even pathscale for kicks.
I don't think the distro is going to make any difference at all with respect to learning to program on Linux. Look for recommendations for newbie friendly linux distros and pick one you like. The compilers and other programming tools will work equally well on any of them.
Now if you want to actually do linux system programming - like GUI apps, low level system applications, etc. - there will be more differences between the distros. Gnome vs. KDE for the desktop environment for example. But much of this is pretty compatible now also.
Which is a trivial task, albeit. But yea, definitely not built in.
Trivial for someone that is use to using bash. If you are coming from Windows then it is a little more difficult in the respect that you aren't accustom to using a command line due to Windows being mostly GUI apps. One reason I went to Ubuntu, gave me the opportunity to learn command line more intimately than Windows does.
Eh the commands for doing this task can be learned in about 15 seconds.
Probably the only thing you can lean in 15 seconds is how to duck.
To install a package from the command line requires an understanding of what the shell is, the shell being used, the package manager being used, properly configured sources for the package manager, confidence to use the system.
If you learned all that in 15 seconds, why aren't you planning the maned mission to Europa?