Here is a recent experience installing Kubuntu on a laptop.
Though I love to tinker with the latest cutting-edge distros on my desktop machines, I have been more conservative with my laptop, the machine I use for work. This is a sweet little R Cubed (i.e. a Linux-based Acer) laptop running SUSE 10.1, and I had everything set up and tuned like I want it.
I was getting a little tired of seeing my desktop spring forward by leaps and bounds and feeling like my laptop was stuck in the dark ages. To be honest, what was holding me back was an irrational fear that installing a new distro mean losing functionality, such as my Fn keys, and/or causing much configuration pain. Also, with my desktops, I have the luxury of leaving them alone if there is a problem to solve. My work machine needs to work flawlessly right now - simple as that. In the face of my fears, finally this week I decided to take the plunge and upgrade.
I decided that the choice would be between openSUSE 10.3 and Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). Before diving in, I downloaded the CD images of the Live versions of both distributions and gave them a quick test. The Live versions are what sold me. Both versions both worked flawlessly and kept all of the functionality of the machine. Each desktop has an icon that invites you to do a full install. Tempting...tempting...should I do it! Click! The process was started.
At first I was tempted to choose openSUSE 10.3 since the desktop is much more attractive, its version of OpenOffice.org has extra functionality, and I've had generally positive experiences with SUSE over the years. However, I have also fallen in love with (K)ubuntu's package management capabilities, so I opted for Kubuntu 7.10.
The installation went as smoothly as I could expect. I went with the manual partitioning option so I could make sure I wasn't overwriting anything I wanted to keep, such as my Windows XP NTFS partition. I simply had to mount the existing Linux partition as root and authorize its formatting as a ReiserFS file system. I set it to work before jogging, and when I came back I was ready to roll with my new Gutsy-based laptop.
Today I pulled in all of my files backed up on a USB hard drive, and besides customizing my desktop, thus far things have gone well. Kubuntu Gutsy works flawlessly on my laptop. I have installed buckets of applications using the Adept Package Manager. I love it! My fears of Linux on laptops has been purged! Way to go, Kunbuntu Gutsy!