1) Like any new platform, start simple. Use a plain text editor and compile from the console until you understand what the IDEs are "meant" to be doing for you.
2) Are you new to C/C++ development too? If so, perhaps learn this on the platform you currently use so you are not in a completely foreign environment.
3) With Linux, in exactly the same way as OSX and Windows. If you have hardware that the OS does not support, swap out the hardware with something that does. In your case, a graphics card is quite an easy thing to replace. However, I would be suprised if your card was not supported. Perhaps try running glxgears or a 3D linux game (i.e OpenArena) to see if it is working.
What issues were you experiencing with Irrlicht? Did you install it from the package manager (# apt-get libirrlicht-dev) or manually from a source archive? If you specify the error you are having, I might be able to help solve it with you. In most cases you can compile code like:
$ g++ MyCode.cpp -lIrrlichtLinux is trivial to develop for so once you get over these initial hurdles, you will find it extremely straightforward from then on.