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Laptop Recommendations?

I need a new laptop, and if possible I want to get one without paying for Windows.

After looking around the web and asking locally, I've found two sources of laptops that come new with Linux loaded. One is Linux Certified, the other Emperor Linux. Linux Certified has name-brand laptops (Lenovo) at very attractive prices. Emperor Linux has rebranded laptops at premium prices, but they come very highly recommended.

Does anyone have any mileage with either of these vendors?

Does anyone have any recommendations on a distro to use? I've got Etch on this machine, and I'm mostly happy with it. At this point I'd like to stick with something that has similar administration issues, but if there's a distro that's clearly better for laptops I'll go with that.

Does anyone have any recent experience, either good or bad, with any specific laptops? Should push come to shove I may just put the Fry's website up against the listings in linux-laptop.org and find a good match, but I'm enough of a newbie that I'd like to buy from someone who's put some effort into the selection, first.

Thanks in advance.

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services

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