My trusty r52 switches between a state of 100-200 free megs of memory and no memory on the 40 gig hard drive. Rather than investing in an expensive IBM harddrive (I've heard the BIOS on my machine won't take normal OEM drives), I got a new computer.
Since I'm a freetard, I got the 15.4 inch t61p linux edition. I immediately installed Gentoo on it, and was disappointed that Linux/thinkpad support has gotten worse. Getting the wireless to work was a pain (I thought Intel was supposed to be open source friendly these days). Probably my biggest gripe is that the volume buttons are now controlled via software rather than in the hardware (may seem like a minor gripe, but it seems like I use those buttons a lot, especially if I'm listening to pandora or archive.org). Perhaps my problem was that I was also running KDE4 (I spend most my time in Konsole/emacs/firefox so I thought I could get away with it (actually Konsole in KDE4 is awesome, the rest felt very beta-y)). The whole experience was quite frustrating.
Oh, and the widescreen model doesn't fit my timbuk2 laptop bag. More frustration...leaving me realizing that I probably prefer everything about my old laptop (except for the aging battery, full harddrive, single core, and missing right alt key).
So after some 7 years with gentoo, I installed Kubuntu (3.5) on it. Right now I'm pretty happy with it. Most of my gripes are now gone. Though I'm fearing what will happen in 4 months when Intrepid comes out. I'll probably be wishing I was back in gentoo land.
One cool feature is that some common applications, when you try to run them the system, doesn't only tell you the app isn't installed, it tells you which app to install. Very nice.
Haven't got vmware running yet. It keeps crashing. Seemed to just work on Gentoo...
So if I post some Ubuntu findings, you'll know the reasoning.