in reply to
What *nix do you recommend for a laptop?
I have installed Elive on two different laptops and it works great on each. One is an odd-ball brand I never heard of and the other is a Toshiba. Only real problem was wireless networking, but I have an NetGear PCMCIA card, so that became a non-issue. In fact, my wife's laptop is running Elive from the LiveCD and it works fine. Elive give you a very nice UI (Enlightenment) without a lot of bloat.
I've tried a number of distros and this one is my absolute favorite.