First, those slackbook links just redirect me to Wikipedia's page on SOPA (interesting read, though).
[i]"If you wish to use Slackware we are here to help you learn everything you needs to know, the first thing to know is that it does not have a GUI installer, but the installer itself is simple when you get past partitioning."[/i]
I had to quote this. The one thing I liked most about Ubuntu was the shell. It reminded me of back when DOS was a real OS that worked with Windows and not the children's toy it has become. As much as the GUI makes navigating between multiple tasks/projects faster, if I'm just working on one thing, I'd rather kick it old school with the shell.
I'm glad you had good things to say about Slackware. I was pretty tossed between that and CentOS (the latter for the career potential), but I've since been reading that it's much easier, and works better, to VM CentOS in Slackware rather than the other way around. This way I can have the most "educational" distro while also developing skills with the most job-friendly one. Side note, I'm not sure how much I should care about having a package manager (i.e. Debian's APT). If the point is to learn the OS, am I not better off learning how to download and compile the source and work out dependencies on my own?
Now for the nitty-gritty of conversion. First, I'm not sure if I should go with partitioning or getting a cheap netbook. The main benefit I see for the netbook is that I can have all my Linux pdfs, chms, and other docs running on that while I'm tinkering on my main box. I'm just not sure if that benefit is worth dropping $300. And, if I do partition, my setup and the amount of data I have is a little awkward. My laptop only has a 150GB hard drive, though I have a 1TB external. All together, I probably have 500+GB of music, movies, and other data. Obviously the external plays a huge role in data management. Right now, I keep most of it is archived and only copy it over to my system when I need it. It used to be formatted to ext3 when I was using Ubuntu, but when I switched back, my cousin and I rigged this bizarre setup with another laptop and personal server to copy the data, reformat the external to NTFS, and put it back on the external. It was a bit of an ordeal and took the better part of an afternoon. We don't have access to this personal server anymore, so I'm wondering how to handle this with a Linux conversion. Ultimately, I want to be able to play my movies and music via Linux, but I don't think there's any way it can read an NTFS external (at least it couldn't when I was using Ubuntu).