According to this post, on the Ubuntu Wiki—a good use for a wiki—I may still be able to install Ubuntu (or some other Linux distro) on my laptop.
So there might be hope for Ubuntu on my laptop yet. Unfortunately, the laptop being referred to is a slightly different model from mine, but I think it’s still applicable. As long as the QuickPlay being referred to is the Windows Embedded version, and not the Linux version that HP used to ship on their laptops.
The quickplay feature will still work as long as you don’t delete the 1GB partition on installation. It will be a choice in GRUB. Also, when you hit the quickplay button to turn the computer on, it will simply start normal and you just choose it in grub. …. I would also recommend making the recovery CD’s before doing anything to windows since you may have to reinstall it for service from HP.