The main problem is that I've never managed to get any video driver other than the standard vesa one to work on my laptop. I've run through every FAQ and Howto I can find, using packages, Envy, manual install, lots of different versions of the nvidia drivers - but in all cases, I can get the driver installed, and when X comes up, the display is "all messed up" - i.e. part of the screen overlapping the rest, lines across the screen, flickering, etc. Not usable in any way.
Seems to be something incompatible with my particular combination of hardware (and being a laptop, I don't really get to start swapping things around to fix it).
That wasn't so much of a problem before, because I could still use the vesa driver and get a decent resolution display, as the cost of no 3D acceleration. But then I wanted to hook up an external monitor, and guess what else the default driver doesn't support ?
Sadly, It Just Works in Windows. I set the external monitor as the primary display, and everything I've tried so far displays correctly on it.
So ... I'm starting to think about buying a separate Linux machine, or maybe a Mac mini. Something quiet which doesn't require too much power. Oh look, Christmas is just around the corner :-)