Also, if the system isn't shut down cleanly, it will never just boot up again in spite of supposedly using a journaling file system. She always has to run e2fsck in manual mode (i.e confirming every single repair), specifying the address of a backup superblock.
Printing and scanning is broken as well. Not for some niche hardware but for one of the most widely deployed HP printer/scanners.
So on her particular laptop, Linux is anything but plug and play. If you're saying that Linux works well on your laptop I will believe you. It has never worked well an any laptop I owned and drivers have always been the main reason for that.
I believe you cannot simply run Linux any laptop. You have to buy a laptop specifically for Linux.
For reference, it's recommended you use the open source drivers for Intel and AMD, and the proprietary drivers for NVIDIA. No PPAs required.
That said, avoiding that mess is fine for a non-gaming laptop. And I've had no trouble installing Linux on Dell, Asus, or Lenovo. Many configurations specifically listed Ununtu as an OS option (but why bother getting it preinstalled), so sure any of those would be fine. They're not especially rare anymore.
No you don't. Ive had debian on a lenovo laptop for five years with none of the issues you speak of. Printing and scanning work great (dell and brother printers). It boots fine after a hard power off. No update has ever fubard anything. I have no more trouble hooking up to a projector than anybody else (my boss has a mac and complains about hooking up to projectors).
I've also run linux without issue on prior laptops from toshiba, acer and sony and some off brand thing from 10 years ago. I have a brother who runs linux on a dell laptop just fine (and has for years). A co-worker runs linux on a newish sony laptop. I guess I'm just living in the perfect intersection of hardware that just magically always works with linux. Or maybe, linux just works.