Hi, I've been advised to start with a small projects such as blinking LED, 7 segment LED, etc. Would this board do the trick: Digilent Digilab XLA FPGA Development Board XLA3 I use a Mac or Linux for development ... don't have a windows machine for background. Thanks.
The mentioned board is a VERY ancient one. So you cannot use the current toolchain, and you have to change to one out of the last millenium. Also this board doesn't have an onboard configuration memory and so you must always load your design after power up from the PC. My advice: go for a Spartan 3 board. Then you can use the Linux version of the ISE tools.
Try OK6410-H from arm9board.net, http://www.arm9board.net/sel/prddetail.aspx?id=348&pid=200. Very nice ARM11 board for starters, coming with complete source code, toolchains, documentations, example programs, tutorials and great tech support.