Wow... I installed Linux last night and was pretty impressed. The last time I spent any time working with Linux was in 1999. That was RedHat 6.1 which will tell you a lot. Mandrake 9.0's install is 1000% cleaner and easier to use. I know it's supposed to be a "newbie" distro, but I was very impressed. It took all of 20 minutes to install a Linux desktop from scratch. You can be a super-Linux dweeb if you want to and install Gentoo from source, but I've got better things to do with my time.
Some of things I was happy to see was that it detected my sound and video without problems, which is amazing on my laptop, but as I predicted, it had no idea what the heck my USB ADSL modem was. Neither does Windows without the install CD, so that makes sense. I'll have to do some searching for those drivers. I guess it shouldn't be too amazing that it recognized my hardware since it's a couple years old now, but still I figured it was going to be a bit more trouble than it was. For any Linux wizards reading this, my ADSL modem is this thing, a Allied Data Copperjet 800 USB modem. Any hints on how to get that bad boy running would be cool.
I tried out both KDE 3.2 and Gnome 2 and I can see without a doubt that Gnome rocks. Much better than KDE. Better organized, the apps are nicer. It just feels better. Though I will say it's nice that KDE gives you feedback when something is loading, but other than that, Gnome rules. The anti-aliasing isn't as nice as WindowsXP, but it's still pretty nice. Too bad that Mozilla doesn't seem to use it, since it would be nice to see the web that way too, like on XP. I wonder why.
So the next step is to get the network running, then install VMWare and see if the apps I still want to use from Windows will run (Macromedia stuff mostly) and then I'll see if I can make the full switch. One step at a time. ;-)