It is fully Ubuntu-compatible, as it uses only Ubuntu repositories. At a very basic level, it's just Ubuntu but with a sound fix for the HP Mini 1120nr. Some people have reported good results for other HP Mini models, but the only one I have tested it on is the 1120nr.
No. I'm not a programmer. If I were, I could make a .deb metapackage that would draw in the appropriate new packages, take out the appropriate old packages, and make the config files tweaks.And is there a way to upgrade to it so I don't have to move my files and reinstall all of my programs?