My experience with 9.10
I did a clean install of 9.10 and everything worked. I encountered one small problem in that the speakers on my laptop would make an intermittent popping sound every 5-10 seconds. A quick search on the Ubuntu forums solved the issue straight away.
I needed to install some extra drivers to get my wireless working, but Ubuntu detected my wireless card and found the correct drivers for me automatically and the whole process from detecting, to download and install, to reboot took less than 2 minutes.
I have been using Ubuntu on and off since 5.04 and this is without doubt the best version yet.
I would say don't be put off by this article if you're thinking of trying Ubuntu. You may have a few teething problems, but there's always the option to try the Live CD first without installing anything, or you can install it without changing your Windows partition at all, so there's no risk. If you do a full install and have problems, the Ubuntu forums are an awesome place to get help and support and almost any problem you have, the chances are someone else has already had and solved it, and posted the solution there.
I can't recommend 9.10 highly enough.