I don't like to get new equipment if I have old equipment that still works fine. My Asus A2500S laptop is now more than 10 years old, and although it has received a few small repairs and a memory upgrade over the years, it still works fine. Its Pentium 4 Mobile processor may be a power hog, but it's not slow. Its main bottleneck is memory. The full Ubuntu is getting a bit too heavy for the old guy, but Xubuntu still runs like a charm. On the other hand, at over 5 kg (including power-supply) the thing is HEAVY.
One of the drawbacks of a monolithic kernel is that you're often stuck with outdated drivers that don't work for your hardware. Even if a fix is available upstream, there's no easy way to update just a single driver. Luckily, LinuxTV now at least offers a script to automatically recompile the entire Video4Linux subsystem against your current kernel version, and replace the default modules with the latest versions: http://git.linuxtv.org/media_build.git
I've been running Ubuntu as my main operating system since around 2004, and I must say I love it. However, every OS has its problems, and Ubuntu is no exception. Here's a few I ran into, and how I solved them (or not).
After upgrading to Ubuntu 10.4 LTS, I was happy to notice that audio in all applications (including Skype) was finally working perfectly! However, I was less happy to notice that Pulseaudio was using quite a lot of CPU-time, and that the sound quality was absolutely awful... So I decided to give OSS4 a try. After some googling, installing a few packages and some minor configuration, OSS4 was up and running, and I must admit the improvement in sound quality is rather significant!
Creating and printing a multi-page CD booklet can be a bit of a headache. Firstly, not all programs support the re-ordering of pages required to make a foldable double-sided booklet. Moreover, the page-size is non-standard, which may give difficulties with commandline-tools such as Ghostscript and psnup. It took me a while to figure out how to do this on Ubuntu (Jaunty). Here's how you can do it:
Create the pages as you normally would, using a program of your choice (e.g. OpenOffice.org Writer, Scribus). Make sure you set the page-size of the document to 12.1 x 11.99 cm.
Older versions of Ubuntu (before 8.04) used to have a built-in font-manager that could be reached by browsing font:/// in the file-manager. However, when Gnome upgraded to their new gvfs in 2008, their font manager and viewer both stopped working. In current Ubuntu-versions, at least the built-in font viewer (gnome-font-viewer) does work again. However the lack of a Gnome font-manager still leaves Ubuntu without proper font management out of the box, which is kind of annoying.
NEW PPA REPOSITORY:
The original repository was getting a bit outdated. It was trailing a few Ubuntu-releases behind and only had i386-builds. You can still use it for Hardy or manually download packages (see below) for installation on newer releases, but I'm no longer going to maintain the old repository. Instead, most packages have been moved to my personal package archive (PPA) on launchpad.net. Please check there for instructions and the newest 32-bit and 64-bit builds for Ubuntu (and Debian) Linux...