I've had nothing but Linux installed on my Laptop, both Mandrake 9.0 and Slackware 9, until you try it you won't know for sure. Some tips:
Search for the subjects you mentioned on this site. Its my first port of call when I have a problem.
Try the Linux Documentation Project: www.tldp.org
Search google for linux related questions at: www.google.com/linux
Check out Linux on Laptops at: http://www.linux-laptop.net/