I have had Ubuntu 10
installed on my IBM T42 laptop since 2009. It has been stable,
performant and highly usable.
To run my favorite Windows apps (which were on this laptop when it
formerly ran XP), I use Crossover.
It works very well, and Windows apps are easy to install.
For printing, I have an HP C6280 Colorsmart which is reached wirelessly
over my home network. Printing is seamless from both native
Linux, and Windows apps via Crossover.
The laptop firewall is UFW
(Uncomplicated FIreWall), configured with, essentially, a simple set of
"block all incoming, allow all outgoing" rules.
I connect to my Linux server using SSH for
interactive connections, and via NFS
for file-sharing. The laptop automatically reconnects to the
LInux NFS server in case that server reboots, using this script, which
runs from CRON under the root account.
Automated backups are performed using rsync to
a Linux server, which in turn does a daily copy of the laptop's and its
own backups to a removable drive.
I don't have full-disk encryption set up yet, but I plan to, possibly
method, but more likely using TrueCrypt.
On the desktop, I use the Gnome windowing system that comes
with Ubuntu, with the top
and bottom panel bars in auto-hide mode. I keep no icons on the
desktop, preferring to keep launchers in the top panel bar. But
that's just me.
My Unix shell windows (the "terminal" app by default, but I prefer
xterm) are configured using the portable dot files from this page.
(I use most of the other utilities on that page in my home Linux
environment, as well as in various Unix environments at work.)
The shell I use is bash.
The shell prompt displays an SSH-formatted path to the directory I'm
currently in, making it simple to copy/paste that path as needed
without having to run 'pwd', or to assemble SCP and SSH commands more
For websites that require Internet Explorer, I have installed Firefox for
Windows under Crossover, then installed the IE Tab add-on into Windows
Firefox. This lets me browse IE-only sites within Firefox.
Within native Linux (or any) Firefox, it's also possible to use User Agent
I use a German keymap on all my computers. Because some of them
(such as the T42) can't support a 105-key keymap, I have some custom
X11 mappings for those. These are run automatically per-host when
I open terminal windows under X11, using this command called from
guests with Windows or Mac laptops who may visit and want to access my
file shares, I still run Samba on the Linux server.
The Linux server is configured to shut itself down each weekday at 9AM,
via CRON. The PC BIOS on the server is configured to power up and
reboot the machine again at 6PM each day, if not already running.