I swiped the Alienware M11x from work not even a month ago. I've been using Windows 7 Ultimate on it as my primary OS and haven't even attempted any form of Linux distribution. My biggest fear is not having the drivers line up and work out of the box. There is a discrete graphics card on this machine which I know will have to enabled after an Ubuntu install, but I had to run manufacturer drivers for shit like my SD card slot, the USB drives. and the wireless card.
So after this post I'm going to run a live image of Ubuntu and see what the hell happens.
Working on my own Dynamic Content System engine that I'm going to use for a website project I have going on. It's basically a very minimal blog engine.