This past 48 hours has been an eye opening time of which I plunged myself into an entirely open-source environment head first, with no prior experience.
Over the preceding weekend, I simply set up the machine and installed what I believe I needed. Ubuntu 9.10 was running in a VMWare Player virtual machine (790MB RAM) with VMWare Tools for Linux, running on top of my Windows 7 production machine (AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core, 4GB RAM).
The reason I chose a virtual machine were twofold: I needed my Windows machine to stay on as I run critical back-end services and processes in the background which are necessary for various reasons. Secondly I didn’t have the knowledge or understanding to install a native Ubuntu installation properly on my laptop; I thought a nice, secure environment where nothing could go wrong would be best.
As the hours went on and my temptation to play with Compiz, the graphics accelerating program which manipulates windows and provides a far richer visual experience, overflowed and I installed it on my laptop. However, my issues (along with many others) in getting the graphics drivers for the ATI Radeon HD 3200 card stumped me and was unable to enable Compiz.