normally when you look at the rim of the filter it will say CIR-POL or C-POL or CirPol something to that effect. that will indicate a circular polariser.
I've read that linear ones are cheap but will mess up with the AF systems that uses prism/split-beam (in the case of most DSLRs); something like the polarised light cannot get split properly and aligned abck.. i hvae never used linear filters so i cannot vouch if it's true. But I can vouch that Cir Pols AF properly becos I have used it with 1D, 20D, D70.
More like since everyone says so, then I wun waste the money to buy a linear one to prove that it's correct (or wrong).