This guide shows the status of the different parts of the machine after installing Etch – and how to get them running.
Read it here
I've been using Debian since Potato (that's Linux Kernel 2.2); Debian has always been notoriously hard to get set up, but amazingly flexible once you get there. However, I've found this current release (4.0) to be uncharacteristically smooth – especially in it's support for laptops. For the most part, the installation worked immediately after it was complete, including graphics display (which is a first for me with a Debian installation).