So now that I have a new laptop (which kicks some serious butt I might add), I'd like to wipe out my old laptop and put Linux on it for experimentation and a backup machine. Ubuntu seems like the most obvious choice, but I'm not very familiar with Linux distributions so thought I'd ask. I know some others have come out recently . . . of course I'm looking for something free. Also, what's the best way to go about installing it? Is it necessary to have a boot disk?