A couple of people have suggested that Ubuntu is a better linux for people like me who aren't linux experts. That has the advantage of being free, and I was hoping to learn more about linux, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I have more immediate priorities than struggling to learn linux since it won'd advance my career or anything.
A more realistic (in terms of my abilities) solution might be to install Windows XP; HP's web site now has the drivers the MiniNote needs. Amongst other pluses, there are a lot of accessories that will only work with Windows, such as dedicated microscope cameras, TV tuner cards, etc. But of course for this I'd need a legit copy of Windows and COA, and that costs money. You can get the OEM version of XP service pack 1 for £20, but I'd really hate to try this with anything less than SP3, and that's more like £60.
So, a little poll...
What operating system should Marcus go for?
Does Marcus need to learn Linux
Later: Having reviewed the comments and had a think about it, it really isn't going to cost me anything except time to try Ubuntu first; I'll still need the external drive (I've already ordered a little kit for that) but the Ubuntu download is free. I might as well give it a try before I commit to Windows.