Hey I had somewhat similar situation except possibly even bigger noob. I got a used phone and noticed it had Superuser app but didn't know what it was and didn't think it was rooted. Then when I tried to install android firmware update from 2.3.4 to next one it didnt happen and took me a few times to notice that triangle exclamation error was not normal. I eventually figured out it was Clockworkmod and read up on rooting and ROMS. So ROMS dont seem a bad idea and I'd like to try out CM7.
But most tutorials I have seen go from rooting to clockworkmod to ROM manager and installing what you want. Terms like SDK and such above and in other posts I havn't seen before. Maybe they are more advance way of doing it?, because the tutorials didnt indicate anything about command lines and stuff, ROM Manager could do it all.
Anyhow my two concerns are that the phone already has an older version of Clockworkmod, so should i get ROM Manager and just install the latest version and it will overwrite my version or I have to uninstall it or something?
I am also not certain on the relationship between android versions and ROMs. As in the latest Android update my phone keeps bugging me about 2.3.6. From what some sites suggest the ROMs replace this (operating system?) so they exist for each version and so if I say get latest CM7 for gingerbread, it will have all the updates official 2.3.6 has plus its own enhancements? Basically i dont want to miss out on the official stuff they added from 2.3.4 to 2.3.6 and had initially thought I would have to first update to that latest version somehow and then do any custom stuff after that. Also, could I just go to 2.3.6 (the latest official version it prompts me for) without a custom ROM? I can't do this now because clockwork screws it up each time.
Thanks for any help and patience with noob (I've tried going though the rooting guides here but I just don't feel I really understand everything).