Here's a better GNU/Linux start page
Ubuntu's got WiFi going pretty well. As for internet access, I take you you don't have a high speed connection, Carol, is that why? And Josh, Apple uses that same argument to sell its computers — use our
chips and it will all magically work. GNU/Linux is still in the tinkerer stage unless you sit down with a big distro like Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Fedora 7, or SLED (SuSe Linux Enterprise Desktop
), the latter of which mimics Windows very well, but makes some stunning UI improvements, if you ask me.
Carol, I couldn't agree more about printers. You can download proprietary drivers through an easy link for many, many printers (at least 225 HP printers alone), but I also ran into the same problem when I upgraded to Vista and lost both my [new!] printer and older scanner. On the flip side, that same HP Laserjet 1020 printer will work under most GNU/Linux distros. As far as I can guess, HP just intends to mostly leave all but the color models unsupported for Vista and force everyone to buy new printers. That really pisses me off, because I live on a very tight budget and have to scrape together the money to buy hardware; it's never an impulse item. Hardware companies just don't see the need to write drivers for such a small [GNU/Linux] market... yet. Maybe soon. But if HP won't write drivers for Vista (which had a long, long beta period), then I'm not counting on it.
This is the biggest reason for all the LIVE CDs you see with almost every Linux distro; you can boot the CD and see how well all your hardware works with it. If not, try another distro or stay with Windows. Working to switch to GNU/Linux has made me appreciate some things I took for granted under Windows, but after using Windows since the 2.0 version (1987?), I've earned my chops and it's time to give another OS a try for a while.