Short version:
I'm so geeked out right now. Over the weekend I just got my first linux OS up and running, SUSE 9.1 via ftp.

Long version:
I've been wanting to give linux a try for quite some time now, but never had a system that I was willing to screw around with, especially since all I have is a laptop and I've read all the horror stories.

Well, my father is in insurance and had an Inspiron 1100 turned in as a lightning claim. I checked it out a little and it does appear to be fried, so I took it home to part out and discovered that the hard drive is fine (so is the DVD CD/RW but we'll worry about that later). So, I ripped that out and shoved it into my Inspiron 5100, leaving the original HD unaltered.

The wife was out of town this weekend, so I took the time to play around and managed to get SUSE 9.1 up and running via ftp install. I must say, I am thoroughly impressed. My goal is to never have to put the old hard drive back in.

I still have a couple hardware issue to work out (3D graphics and wireless in particular), but I don't forsee any problems. And if I do, this is where I'll be lookin'.

I would offer any help from my experience, but I must say, it was like butta'. My best advice for the ftp install, be patient. There are a couple times where you just gotta sit back and wait (hours, not minutes):
1. Loading into ramdisk ~2-3.
- just make sure the dots keep going up . .. ... .... .....
- I didn't notice this until I started to get worried

2. Software package download ~Overnight.

"This is awesome!"