Of course there is something in what you say. But with every new release since 9.04 I have tried the live disk to see how things would go ... and no release since then gives me reliable (or any) wireless. Having spent many hours trying to get newer releases working, I have settled for 9.04 and the pleasure of actually having a usable machine!
I was blissfully unaware of Xubuntu, however. I'll certainly give it a look -- thanks.
And if anyone would like to make a donation so I can finally retire this antique Toshiba laptop ... PM me!