Imaging the windows partition went fine and took about 1.5 hours. I verified that I could mount the image and read data from it and then proceeded with the Ubuntu installation. The installation took a little over an hour, including downloading and installing 145 updates. On the reboot, however, it took about 5 minutes for the GUI login to appear all the while the disk light was blinking and I was facing a blank screen.
I rebooted again and this time it didn't take 5 minutes but, instead, took about 25 seconds. On the third reboot, I pressed Ctrl+Alt+F1 to look at the console. No errors there and everything that went by looked normal. Oh, well. I guess I'll get around to troubleshooting the blank screen on boot later although I really wanted to see the Ubuntu logo while it was starting up. Not off to a good start.
Next, I fired up Firefox while I had a little breakfast just to do some surfing. I opened up Firefox's preferences and started to make a few changes like removing underlining and setting a master password. When I got to the master password function, the computer completely froze up. Neither the power button nor the three finger salute yielded any response. All I could do was to unplug it and then remove the battery to stop the computer. Ugh.
This isn't the first time this laptop has locked up while running Linux. I have had Fedora Core 8 on this machine and have had it freeze up occassionally. This is really unnerving. So far, as much as I hate to say it, Windows has been more stable and predictable.
My next priority is to get a Java VM installed so that I can test out my company's VPN. I don't have high hopes since it didn't work under FC8. In that case, it may have been because it was using the Gnu Java VM and not the one from Sun.
After that, I'll install Eclipse and the RadRails and PyDev plugins. Those must work for me to use Ubuntu since I need them for my work.