I am in the market for a new laptop, and want to know about your
experiences with recent Dell laptops.

I currently own an old and failing IBM ThinkPad which has served me well
for 3 years. However, there is a price differential on what one gets from
Dell. Cheaper price usually implies crummier components, but how reliable
are Dells ?

More importantly, does everything (special buttons, softmodem, etc.) work
with Linux ?

Views of those who have used both ThinkPads and Inspirons would be
especially helpful.