I wasn't sure where to post this because I am not really asking for support. I don't need support because I installed xubuntu on my laptop from a usb stick and everything just worked right out of the box!
I tried pure debian. I downloaded an .iso that's over 4 gb, burnt it to a dvd, and installed it on my laptop. Wireless didn't work - naturally. Then I tried again, this time I had a thumb drive with the wireless firmware on it, and when debian said something like "cannot id network hardware, supply firmware if you have it." Still did not work. On top of wireless not working it didn't seem to know what to do with my video card, and I couldn't get the right resolution on my screen. So what exactly did they stuff into that 4+ gigabyte .iso, without being bothered to put in something that would recognize hardware in a year old Asus laptop?
Then I tried fedora. Much smaller .iso. Under 1 gb. Everything kind of worked! I mean, I had wireless working, and my screen resolution worked, but then I rebooted and everything went gray, and xfce kept freezing crashing.
OpenSUSE: similar story, minus the wifi working.
Then I installed xubuntu. I just simply worked! Wireless, video card, no problem. Iso size - I think it was under 800mb. Then I installed it on my 3 year old netbook. Everything worked. Then my girlfriend's 2 year old hp laptop. Everything worked. No problems. Desktop, same story. Some might say "Oh well it is because ubuntu contains non-free code that linux flavors like debian cannot ship with." Okay... but xubuntu is telling me that no proprietary drivers are in use in my system, so I don't think that is the explanation.
I guess I am just curious. Why is it so EASY with x/k/ubuntu? Why does it seem like a battle just to get basic functionality out of other distros?