To run my mono stuff I decided to install Redhat's Fedora Core 2
on my laptop. For those who are interested in trying out Linux, here's how it went and some general thoughts about the whole thing.
First, I've heard it is generally much more difficult to get Linux working right on a laptop than a desktop (hardware issues). This is the case with the last version of Mandrake that I tried to run on my Dell laptop, but the install for FC2 went very well. With Mandrake I had video card and touchpad mouse issues galore.
Second, the only issue I had had to do with video display. I started out at 1024x768 resolution, which is the highest supported by the laptop, but then chose in my settings a higher resolution. Problem: I couldn't get anything to appear on my screen! Nothing! Since this was the first thing I did once installing, I just reinstalled FC2 instead of trying to figure out how to fix the problem. I figured that would be much easier, since I know next to nothing about Linux systems at this point in my life.
Third, there were four iso images that I needed to download to install FC2, but the install (the first time, when I didn't install as much developer stuff) only required the first two disks, which is nice. It even told me up front, "You're only going to need disks 1 and 2". Nice.
But now it gets difficult...I actually have to figure out how this Linux thing works. But if you are thinking of trying out Linux, I would recommend FC2. It is easy to install and get started. Now, unless you have a reason to go Linux for something, I don't really recommend it. They are quite a bit behind Windows as far as usability is concerned, especially for beginners. This is bound to improve though (and has improved). For now, stick with Windows.