it's not painful at all..
you can use native os x samba support or run afp on a windows server, if you need to manage a mac via Active Directory you can use a program called AdmitMAC.
Drak beat me to the punch again his answers are spot on. The ibook is more durable due to a slightly larger case that is made from bulletproof glass. it gets scratched but takes a fall better then a powerbook. Our editor in chief just dropped her pwoerbook and it's a write off.. although i think it more likely she had it in a bag and forgot.. chucking the bag
Mine has taken two falls.. one very minor dent occured.. and a small split.. both were abject stupidity on my part..
abf : were the logic board replacements based on video problems.. that was drak's point.. of course apple like any manufacturer throws a lemon out here and there.. but they work it out usually.
You can also buy existing ibooks with superdrive upgrades iirc. I have an external burner but still wish i had purchased the built in.
Jack : I am in a similar boat... at work i use a t40 with a windows/linusx server at home and a mac laptop as a primary machine. I will say that for IT pros there are occasions when it's a PITA not to have a laptop running linux or windows.. so much so that i am thinking of buying a cl56 since my exgf absconded with my upgraded t20. That said.. every time i try to use windows at home i end up picking my mac back up when i get frustrated.. and as for linux.. wireless support blows and that is a deal breaker for me on a daily machine.
I realize i am a relative newb with linux and it is possible to get it going.. but what a pain.
Similarly i know that the only way i am going to get as familiar with linux as i am with windows and os x is to use it daily... so it's quite the dichotomy. I guess i could also stop being lazy and start hooking things up manual stule.. like apache, php, samba server, etc on my mac to get more familiar with it... or get back the x11 and get some schtuff going with that.. i just rarely find a need to.
And finally, having worked in a mixed network for the last 2.5 years (coming from a windows AD world) I have to say, i'm not convinced linux is going to blow out windows.... I'd wait to see what sun has to offer and pay attn to the growing marketshare of os x server. So far i still find linux to be.. well... unpleasant. It's great for a hobby but not for productivity (outisde of servers that don't needt o be rebooted and so forth) oh yah and hte pesky M$ CAL issues that can be avoided by running everything from linux servers
I stand by my ascertation that linux is not ready for the desktop.. by a long shot... although novell, suse, and ximian (same thing i suppose) are helping speed the way.