Yipee.. I recently purchased a Dell laptop - Inspiron 6400 (also known as E1505). The first thing I had to do was to install Ubuntu. Luckily for me this is a common model and comes with some standard components and most of the things work with little or no configuration.
By default I got a resolution of 1028x768 on the widescreen which supports 1280x800 natively. So things were looking pretty stretched. The i915 wiki page explains pretty well howto get the correct resolution.
Another fun thing I did was to get the GKrellM with i8kutils. GKrellM is used to monitor the system. Its something I need to look more into. i8kutils is a dell laptop specific lib for intrumentation of the processor fans. Installation was explained in the Ubuntu forums over here. However after installing everything as explained, GKrellM still does not show any fans. For that, within the GKrellM configuration, the i8k plugin needs to be enabled first. After that two fans will be visible. Clicking on the fan can be used to toggle to Manual mode for fan and set the speed as well which you can confirm by listening to the low buzzing noise!! However I dont expect the processor to burn as the author says :) as the Intel motherboard automatically sets the fan speed based on heat.