I have supported several versions of Unix, let me emphasize in the PAST. I have not really supported desktops and after this little experiment I have affirmed my choice to stay in server land…..
Before getting into the operating system part, why is it all of these laptops come with these awful track/glide pads? I used to love IBM Thinkpad models because they had the pencil eraser method of cursor movement. These track pads just seem to be a waste of real estate and are utterly frustrating and with FireFox…. ugggh.
So, while getting a new (refurbished) laptop all setup I figured it was time to use my older model to look at Linux for desktop usage. I tried Mandriva, FreeNX and PC-BSD, eventually going back to SUSE. The first observation with all of the Windows bashing, funny how all of these offer a GUI (KDE or GNOME) that seem to mimic Windows.
First, and any Internet search will substantiate this, are you kidding me with the lack of wireless network support. Sure, I am using an older model of laptop but as I look at the newer model it has the same built in wireless chipset. Ironically to get the wireless to work on any of these versions of Linux you have to implement the Windows drivers. I find this real funny considering one of the bullet items Novell publishes as a reason to switch to Linux is mobility and wireless networking. I opted for the not so free version of Suse just to see if this issue was addressed… nope.
Yes, Linux is cheaper and it does perform well on lesser hardware so on a laptop that will not run Vista well it is a great alternative. Knowing a few non-geek users however touting the ease of Linux might be a stretch.
Anyone who wants to bash me on my opinion, considering the volatility of this topic, this is why I do servers not desktops.