design for experience
Kubuntu Linux + XP in VirtualBox == absolute sweetness
After a few months of dual booting Windows XP and SuSE Linux 10.2, and feeling rather bifurcated by the workflow, I've finally hit upon my perfect setup.
I have a Dell Inspiron 9300 notebook with a 17" screen. It's a big computer - too big to pull out on an airplane - at least in coach, where I tend to ride. :) To the left and right of the touchpad there's enough flat space that I actually use it as desk space for writing notes upon. It has been a solid machine and has given me no problems in the almost three years I've had it. So when XP started getting old and slow (as can happen with time), I began to consider ridding myself of the dual boot curse and installing Linux as my primary OS and then running XP in a virtual machine via Parallels (I have a license) on top of it.
I'd been trying Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon in Live CD form for a while and was pleased to find that things just worked - Samba let me access files on our Windows network, and once I discovered that Parallels wasn't going to work for me, I found a free/open source project called VirtualBox
So I switched to Kubuntu Linux as my main OS about a week and a half ago and I haven't regretted it once (especially since I can run XP as a virtual machine using VirtualBox for free. That means I still have access to Photoshop and... well, really that's it - everything else I've found Linux equivalents that match or exceed their Windows counterparts. (Note: the open source version of VirtualBox didn't want to work for me, but the free-but-not-open version worked just fine in Kubuntu Gutsy.)
Installing Kubuntu was quick and easy. I had repartitioned my drive for SuSE, and wanted to reconsolidate things. I decided to leave the partitions Dell sets up in place, just so I wouldn't regret removing them later - not that I expected I would.
The partitioning program in the Kubuntu installer was a little pared down, but it got the job done. For non-experts like me, I would have found more help info valuable, but one of the nice things about installing from a Live CD is that I was able to open a browser and search out the info I needed on the web. And other than that, the install worked wonderfully.
I'd love to do a how-to based on my install to give back, you know, but it was really so simple and I didn't run into any problems that I could elucidate on, so... I guess my advice could be summed up by saying, "Just try it. Back up your data, and give it a go." If you're a web developer, programmer, or just someone who likes transparency and configurability, and if you want to empower yourself (and also assume more of the responsibility for your computer's workings), Kubuntu Linux may be your cup of tea.