I highly recommend Ubuntu for a laptop - almost all the time StuffJust Works. Wifi, audio, you name it. It's running great on mythinkpad, and it has a good Ruby environment to boot (if you rememberto install an updated Ruby from a .deb or from source, the packagedone it broken).
Right now, I use Enlightenment 17 (from cvs), which both looks cooland it quite resource-friendly. I lay out my environemt with 4 virtualdesktops, one for play, one for administiation (where I put all thoseSSH sessions), one for development, and one extra ("just in case").Each has an Eterm running screen, which often amounts to more than 12bash processes running total. and I usually have two firefox windowup, each with between 10 and 20 tabs.
I like to use a graphical environment becase I need to see the webgraphically (e.g. for web design, elinks just won't cut it ;-) and Iget pretty screen antialiasing and fonts. I really like seeingmultiple window at a time, and screen by itself (in text-mode) can'tprovide that. That said, I very much prefer using text-based programsfor pretty much anything besides the web:- irssi for IRC is awesome. All GUI clients give me bad-design hives.It can be hacked to do various IM services as well... but who uses IManymore?! :)- Mutt. "All mail clients suck, this one just sucks less." --Somebody(sorry, forgot the name). I tend to think I sucks *quite abit* less ;-) Everything's customizable, you can use external programsfor various tasks (Vim, GPG, etc.) It's hooks feature simply providesunparalleled flexibility.- Vim. I've been using it for a while, and I really like it. Once youget the basics, it's pretty easy. Fast, efficient, and powerful. Ihaven't seriously learned Emacs, but if I get the time I'd really liketo, if only for comparison. I happen to prefer Vim's modes over Emacs'arcane key sequences, though my mind is open to the Emacs way oflife...- Eterm. I've been using it only just recently. The jury's still outon this one, it has issues with ncurses and mutt, but I think it'sactually a font/encoding issue. Also, there are some pretty themesavailable for it. Anyway, mrxvt is another terminal to check out, it'svery lightweight but has tabs too! (but with screen, that doesn'tmatter as much to me) Konsole, as bloated as it is, I have to say doesan awesome job (I don't use KDE, alas). SHIFT-<arrow> to switchbetween terminals is just *so* useful. I need to see if screen can dothat...
Well. Hope you gleaned some useful information from that.
Using Linux, and text-mode interfaces, and all the other things thatcome with *nix is intimidating. But it's worth it. Really!
Jacob