For over 2 years now, since I bought it, I have been running openSUSE Linux on my laptop. Although I spent a lot of time making it work, more or less, I have also lost a lot of time in trying to get simple things to work well. For example, with a laptop, it's useful if you can hibernate it, and do so quickly and safely. Also, when travelling, you want things like Skype to work well. I never managed to get these kinds of "mobile" aspects working well enough. So, when I recently had a couple of hard disk crashes on my laptop in the space of a couple of months, I decided to bite the bullet and switch my laptop back to Windows XP. That's what I've done, my laptop is running Windows XP now.
The reason I could switch so quickly, in less than half a week of spare time, is because most things that I do are done in VMware Server virtual machines. So, as long as I can run VMware Server on a PC of any sort, I can quickly be up and running with my working environments.
Is Windows better than Linux? No, not really. I'm trading one set of issues for another. However, my new principle is that you should stick the the operating system that comes with your laptop. Not because that operating system is better than any other, but because it should work with the hardware in your laptop; manufacturer testing of the operating system with the hardware is worth a lot in practice. So, while hibernating is now much better (I can hibernate even with VMware virtual machines running, something that was out of the question with Linux), I've already had problems with software not running properly when installed, or new installations seeming to stop previously installed software from running. Linux has a sophisticated system for managing dependencies between versions of software, and Windows doesn't seem to have anything to match, so Windows is a generation or more behind in terms of making different software applications co-exist. I'm losing that, compromising instead to get better hardware support.
By the way, where does all of the disk space go in Windows? I don't like the idea of having just a single huge disk partition as is the default for Windows, so I split my partition (using "Parted Magic" - free and recommended by me) so that I have a C drive for Windows and application files, and a D drive for data. I thought 25G should be plenty, even for something as profligate as Windows XP (which itself is still leaner than Vista). However, with XP and selection of applications (including VMware Server and the Novell edition of OpenOffice 3, which are big installs), I now find I only have 4G free out of 25G! Where did my disk space go? I've examined the C drive once, but the numbers don't add up, something is missing. I may have some large "system restore point" file backups, perhaps. I'll be checking into that as I go along.
Windows XP needs more protection than openSUSE Linux, which comes with built-in support for disk encryption and also comes with Novell's AppArmor, which is a better way for Linux to protect against viruses/etc., than the virus-signature-based approach that is most common for Windows. That meant software to buy. I like to use Norman software (not Norton) for virus checking and firewall, because the firewall allows very fine-grained control over incoming and outgoing network connections. To encrypt my hard disk, I decided to follow Bruce Schneier and use PGP Whole Disk Encryption, which is straightforward to use and also provides support for signing and encrypting your files using PGP.
By the way, my laptop may be running Windows XP, but remember, I do most of my work in VMware virtual machines, so I'll still be doing most of my work in Linux. I'm just trying to get the best of both worlds.