adoroar.... yes, though "linux is linux" different distros take their own spin on it all. so for a noob like that guy, a distro that has most things already configured will be a hell lot simpler than going gentoo or LFS. you know what i mean. so in that case, PCLOS and Ubuntu is probably the way to go as far as best distro for laptop.
as for drivers. not much in terms of "3rd party" for linux. everything is open source, except for fglrx (ati) and nvidia which you gotta install yourself (in most cases). everything else is jsut there. its a matter of installing it if its not already there adn make sure it loads up on boot. best way to really know what you need and what you dont is by getting a distro and getting dirty with it.
My thought would be that it would be done the same in KUbuntu as in most distros and you would have to recompile the kernel by hand, but it has been some time since i used an Ubuntu Distro on a regular basis so I am not sure I could be certain on that.
Wel, I installed Kubuntu on my laptop, and cried my eyes off for all the time wasted. It doesn't work.
Whent he booting process gets to 'Checking Battery Status' (or something like that), it gets an "OK" and stops. That's it, the only thing the it responds to is Control-Alt-Delete to properly restart the system.
Libranet 3.0 - could not get the proprietary ATI driver working, and there were other problems with booting up (noapic, nolapic and acpi=none worked around it).
SimplyMepis (latest) - not bad, but the proprietary ATI driver said there was no build environment, so I updated to Debian unstable, installed kernel 2.6.15 smp and proceeded to honk up the environment so that it wouldn't boot except to the original Mepis 2.6.15 single processor kernel. Then tried building 2.6.15 smp from scratch and none will boot.
Ubuntu - have a live CD sitting on the desk. Will probably try it this weekend, time permitting.