I have now used Ubuntu as my primary desktop for seven days so I thought I would write down my initial impressions of it. First, I would have to say that I can do everything that I could do in Windows on Ubuntu as long as it is not hardcore gaming. Using the Add/Remove software applet has been pretty much all that I have needed to use. Although, I have to say that installing LaTeX proved to be a bit daunting as I had to use synaptic package manager to install it rather than the Add/Remove (auctex was similar). Otherwise, it was painless to install new software. It would also be nice to have a package installation for the Miktex Package Manager, which is fantastic even on linux to install LaTeX styles and other LaTeX stuff.
Now, I will have to say that I bought a Dell with a X1300 Pro from ATI, which was probably a mistake on my part but now that ATI is releasing linux drivers, I think it might turn around. In any case, once I had installed the OS on the hard drive, Ubuntu said that there restricted drivers that I could use for my hardware. So, I decided that I would try them out. After clicking on a few things, which seemed to install them, I rebooted the machine. Then I got what is called the "black screen of death" on reboot. Come to find out there is a file on my machine that black lists restricted drivers and I had to modify this file to allow my machine to boot into X. While I was able to do that from the command line (my FreeBSD experience was definitely a help here), I am not sure what a new person would think of this. Anyway, I decided to spend most of the day installing the new ATI drivers from AMD. My efforts bore great fruit (I now have 3d effects on my desktop and other goodies) but it left me feeling that if I were a "normal" user and I got the "black screen of death", I would be less inclined to use Ubuntu in the future.
Otherwise, I have to admit that now I do not have to go through hoops as on Windows to get my favorite software to work. As I said, I can do anything that a windows user can do and I get the benefit of having a system that will nearly always works. The only thing that I miss right now is the gaming aspect of my computer. I installed the AMD64 version and I am not sure if any of my old video games will work under Wine emulation. Hopefully, in the near-ish future, games will begin to appear for my machine and I can start to take advantage of my computer for entertainment again.
I would definitely recommend Ubuntu for the savvy computer user who is not afraid to dig a bit to get the gold. I have a couple of people that I am going to install Ubuntu on their computers in the near future and I hope that this distro will keep on doing the good work.