I've been using a Sony TZ130 laptop as my work machine. I single-boot Ubuntu, use OpenOffice for just about everything and use a VMWare XP VM on rare occasions. Performance has been very good under Ubuntu, although the VM kind of drags (even with 2Gb). I use a docking station at work so I have a large monitor and keyboard.
The TZ has decided that it will not power on, and I have retreated to my old Sony TR1 while I figure out what to do. Even on the TR1, Ubuntu is fast. If the problem with the TZ is in the motherboard, Sony says repair could run almost $700. I've sent the laptop back once to repair the lcd ($700, and still not sure how it was damaged), and once for a Sony recall. It just seems built more poorly than the TR1 and T340 Sony's I own, and I hate to sink more money into it.
Would it be practical to use a Mini 12 instead in terms of performance under Ubuntu? Any idea how VM performance would be?