since then I managed to make it work by using a bootable USB drive. but I have two major issues at hand:
grub wasn't installed, and it doesn't want to install either. it has a problem with the intel hardware raid in the laptop, as it is not able to recognize the /dev/mapper/isw_cdfcbdcfed_RAID-0 device, even if I put it into /boot/grub/device.map. I can only boot the laptop by using the super grub boot USB stick, and then manually booting the Linux partition. (wonder why this is not done by the 'official' ubuntu grub)
the second issue is with the wifi card, which is always noted as 'device not ready' by NetworkManager (no, it's not turned off, then it says its turned off). lspci says the following about the device:
this is on 9.10, with everything updated to the latest.
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Device 4239 (rev 35)
Subsystem: Intel Corporation Device 1311
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 35
Memory at d3000000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=8K]
Capabilities: <access denied>
Kernel driver in use: iwlagn
Kernel modules: iwlagn
smaller annoyances like the trackpad are for later....