Well, this weekend I finally managed to get back into the Linux world the right way, with a fully working computer. I've been pretty much forced to run Windows XP on my laptop for quite some time because no other operating system would work properly with it, last time I tried an alternative OS was SUSE 9.x but power management, my wireless NIC and the graphics drivers were all acting up.
This time I went with Ubuntu Dapper and things went a lot more smoothly, or about as smooth as things tend to go when installing Linux on a laptop. After the initial install I had the proper resolution on my monitor but with the "nv" driver instead of the "nvidia" one. This took a bit of tweaking to get things up and running as it required specifying some DVI timing parameters in xorg.conf, took a couple of hours to figure that one out. My Wacom tablet worked fine right out of the box with the proper drivers installed, I'll need to tweak it a bit more but it's fine for now.
Next on the list was my Linksys wireless NIC, broadcom-based which of course caused me a lot of headaches but after a lot of time tweaking the ndiswrapper and wpa_supplicant config files I finally managed to get it working in 801.22g mode with WPA-PSK enabled. One of my major problems was actually that according to the Linksys website my NIC could only be bought in the US so I downloaded the wrong driver.
At this point I decided it was time for some extra security so I read up on dm-crypt and dropped to single-user mode. less than an hour later my home partition was encrypted, I'm doing the swap and var-partitions tonight.
With all this hard work done I decided it was time to have some fun so I installed the OpenGL-accelerated X server and Beryl window manager. I also hooked up my digital camera and it worked immediatly. To top things off, power management works quite well for a laptop, the monitor actually powers off when instructed to do so. So all that's supposed to be working is working, definitely a good start, I even managed to install Tor and Privoxy on it this morning before work.