I've been going around the OS ferris-wheel for about a year now. Last year I got rid of my PowerBook G4 and bought a lighter thinkpad X41. Apple is a great company (heck, I worked there) but the lack of a light notebook left me scrambling. There are millions of people who walk to work or take public transportation and we need laptops too.
After unwrapping my matte-black-beast I needed to figure out what to use with it. Naturally, since it came with Windows XP that was the default choice. Being a long time mac user it took a while to get used to XP but eventually I did. Unfortunately there are a lot of UI issues that plague XP and, unlike Linux, there is no recourse for fixing them without delving into the registry. That, and the fact that I'm a huge nerd, led me to load linux on the lappie.
I've been using Linux since 2001 so it's not like it's new to me. At the same time I've never done a laptop install and so many things are different. All over the web there are reports of various drivers not working or features that are incomplete. Still, I gave it a whirl.
I went though several distros to see which one I liked best for the laptop. I use Debian on my servers but like any objective user will tell you, it's all about the right tool for the job. I started with Arch, headed over to Ubuntu, went to Debian, tried OpenSuse, went back to Debian, again to Ubuntu, and finally I am back to Arch.
There are great things about each of the distros above. Debian gave me lots of flexibility and a great selection of packages while Ubuntu was very solid. (It was, and remains, the only distro that just worked 'out of the box'.. suspend to ram, wireless, sound, and all.)
But Arch has me hooked. The clean style let me accomplish a lot more in a way that was easier than the other distros. Most importantly, when I have a problem the forum residents are relentless in helping me sort them out. It is fantastic.
I still have occassional issues with sleep not working though it seems to be getting better with each kernel release. I am happily typing away on an e17 desktop comforted that my fully configued fluxbox environment remains just a short uncommented line away.
I'm living as close to the edge of the latest community software while still feeling secure and that, amigos, is a great feeling.