I've used Debian for several years now, but I figured going to a more mainstream, desktop-oriented distribution like Ubuntu would be worth a shot. On the plus side, it uses Debian's package management system, which I love for the ease of installing new programs, and there are lots of repositories with things like a decent version of mplayer and associated libraries that Debian didn't have. The kernel also has the correct driver for my IDE controller as opposed to Debian which uses the (broken?) jmicron driver instead of pata_jmicron.
Downside - video is still broken in the same manner (ATI driver problems, I guess), network still craps out, and now the machine locks hard whenever I quit X (either to logout or reboot). So bottom line is that Linux is still unusable on my machine. :(