I had been thinking about playing with Ubuntu Linux for some time now and at the end of October I went to the web site https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ and ordered a set of Ubuntu 5.10 CDs. You fill out the form, and they ship you CDs for free. Minimum order is 5.
Friday the CDs (5 sets, cool) arrived and in each CD folder is an install CD and a Live CD. I ran the live CD on my desktop and also on my laptop. The Live CD is very functional and I could not break it. Even when I made my laptop sleep, the session “woke up” without a hitch. My graphic and sound cards were supported. Applications like e-mail clients, web browser, I even ran Synaptic and updated the running live session. Worked flawlessly.
I am typically a RedHat Linux user from version 4.2 and on. This server runs the free RedHat derivative Fedora. But the desktop experience for both RedHat and Fedora has always been very lacking. Applications break (I could kill the e-mail client Evolution in 5 minutes, I don’t know why) and the desktop felt less than user friendly. It was just all part of the Geek Appeal. You expected Linux to be clumsy and require editing of files using vi.
Ubuntu Linux installed on my desktop with no problem. I have a nvidia 6800GT graphics card. In the past I would install a Linux distribution, get it working, install nvidia’s drivers, edit configuration files by hand, experience some pain till I got all the options right. Eventually I would be able to run my 3D accelerated video game (which BTW runs perfectly on the same dual booting Windows XP system) and enjoy.
On Ubuntu it is just a matter of running Synaptic (GUI for package management) installing some packages, and run a simple command. The whole process is well documented here.
Everything works really well. For a desktop solution this is the most easy going distribution I have seen so far.