I should start off saying that I'm a university student with a few years of working on unix systems before finally setting up a linux system of my own. After doing some research on dual boot laptop experiences (http://www.linux-laptop.net/ ), I deceided to got with an XP/ubuntu setup on a Dell Inspiron 9300.
The dual boot setup was surprisingly simple. I reparitioned the XP NTFS to give me about 7 gigs of uncommited space, and then just booted up the ubuntu 5.1 installer. One small issue is that uppon startup ubuntu seems to want to sync its clock up with one over a network connection. I'd like to turn that feature off, but I have yet to find out how.
I'm still new to linux, and currently I'm exploring the different applications offered. I hope to eventually create a more personalized version of the workspace I have with my university's Sun boxes.