I'm a former Windows user, tnrued Linux user (short time, about 2 months). As most Windows users would atest, in installing Windows, you had to go through the obstacle course of install, patch, find driver, patch, more install, patch, etc, etc until everything was setup correctly. In my experience, Windows never just worked . But, I think some folks trying Ubuntu have the impression that it will just work , partly because the hype surrounding Ubuntu (some of it well - earned) makes it seem like this computing nirvana.Installing Ubuntu (on a pretty old P3 800mhz machine) was easy and just worked , if you take it at face value as open- source software. It installed fine, auto- detected all hardware, updated all software to current versions, etc. It was the most painless OS install I had ever done.But, and this threw me for a loop which it is a lot of other folks, it didn't play mp3 s, flash, wmv/avi/divx, etc. It was later I found out it doesn't install proprietary-format things. This seems to be a down-played or hushed fact that fans don't say much about when touting Ubuntu as the next best OS since the Abacus.So, you end up doing the Windows Two-Step again, trying to find all the necessary lib's and such to implement that stuff. Easyubuntu tries to make it easy, basically running a script that contacts the repositories to auto-load all the necessary stuff. It worked for me, but I have heard other complaints from folks it was less successful for. But, I've heard even more complaints from Automatix users, so I steered clear of that.Another thing I found annoying about Ubuntu was it was so slow. When using WinXP (SP2) on my P3, I had the services and such tweaked to run smooth and seemlessly for a stand-alone desktop/internet machine. I played Tremulous (freeware 3d game based on Quake 3 source) , and it ran smooth. I installed Ubuntu, and not only was the desktop laggy, but I installed Tremulous and it was laggy, too. Plus, the game was perpetually dark no matter how much fiddling I did with gamma in the game or on the desktop.This leads to the other hushed or down- played Ubuntu fact if you're coming from Mac or Windows, expect to use the command- line terminal more in Linux/Ubuntu then you've ever used before on those OS'. Even with their major focus on user- friendly, desktop-oriented service, you'll still find yourself cracking open the terminal to type in funky console commands. And not just a couple words we're talking 20 word sentences and such.Although, it is on par with Windows, in that in Windows, you have to go dig up out-of-the-way system files to tweak on to get better performance. In Ubuntu, I had to go tweak the /etc/ fstab (filesystem table which mounts drives and such) to get it to recognize various drives (IE: my Windows NTFS partition). I liked how Unbuntu came pre -loaded with useful software Office apps, Multimedia, Web-Browsers but some of it's annoying. The way Ubnutu is built, you can't easily get rid of pre-loads you don't want to use. If you hop into Synaptic ( the GUI for the console apt-get which handles install/uninstall from servers called repositories ) the system threatens to uninstall the whole Ubuntu desktop if you try to uninstall just one little app And the courts complained about Microsoft bundling software Pre-loaded software is fine, but let folks get rid of crap they don't want.In installing things, I found that a lot of Linux apps offered as Ubuntu Certified and otherwise were still console-based. After getting Ubuntu, naturally, I went to the repositories like a kid in a candy store and installed a bunch of games. Out of 20 games I installed, only took the time to install an icon on my GUI app start menu. I had to double- check to make sure I installed the others, then spent 30 minutes screwing around with the file-manager and console to get the others to run. Some didn't want to run. You'd click the icon in your start menu, and it wouldn't do anything. Come to find out, if you run it from console, you see a whole litany of error messages telling you why it can't run. Why can't clicking the icon let you know there's errors? Stupid.A lot of what you install with Ubuntu requires some other library or such get installed in addition to make it work. When using apt- get or Synaptic, at least this was somewhat painless, since it would figure it out for you. But woe be to you if you get somebody's package off the net to install and run. Some developers offer really neat stuff, but they're lax in their documentation on installation or library dependancies. So, without it coming from apt- get, you're stuck trying to figure out what's preventing it from running (gee, kinda like Windows sometimes!)Anyways, Ubuntu has done a lot to bridge the gap on Linux human usability, so much so that I decided to give up on Windows expensive mother may I BS. While I'm a bit frustrated at times with Ubuntu/ Linux, at least I'm not spending hundreds of dollars for buggy software to do so, or being treated like a criminal that has to re-verify his software key every time I log onto the net.Ubuntu/Linux is also a polarized affair with software, because some really cool developers like using it, but since Linux is open-source, major software/hardware manufacturers won't build drivers and such for it. So, you can find things like a really awesome 3D desktop environment for Linux (which was available for Linux before Vista came out), but you can't find a way to get your latest hardware to work until some dev's get frustrated and reverse-engineer one to add to the repositories. Going back to the lack of mp3, flash, etc support in Ubuntu, sure it's frustrating, but it's also frustrating that there's so much proprietary software out there. It's like someone telling you you can't speak English unless you pay for it. The Linux crowd feels the foundations of software software languages, drivers, formats, etc should be freely developed by the people, much like a speaking language, but that hardware and software companies can then use those foundations to build things they charge for it they choose. This is so un-Windows and un-Apple-like that it throws folks for a loop I guess.So, I personally feel Ubuntu is totally ready to replace your grandma's computer, if all she does is surf the net, read email, write letters, etc you know, all the routine stuff folks do on a computer. However, she should have a linux-savvy person nearby to help get her mp3 s and divx stuff setup, and other weird things going just in case. And if she's a gamer, she should just buy a PS3/ Xbox/ Wii and stop complaining about Linux not being a gaming OS.In the long run, I think Ubuntu has broken major ground with Linux, even if it's just drawing more attention to Linux as an arguably viable desktop solution. Everyone's grown up on a Windows or Mac computer, so there's growing pains learning how Linux works. But, in using those OS', folks have been conditioned that they have to spend an arm and a leg for their software. Ubuntu is trying to change that approach.I do feel that Ubuntu will be a as good, if not better than Windows or Mac OS, since it will become whatever the community wishes it to be. But, I'm concerned with Ubuntu, because it's developed by a corporate-funded entity (Mark Shuttleworth Canonical). That adds much needed coordination and control to the the development, but I'm afraid Ubuntu may eventually turn into a pay-for-use or subscription support/ update service once lots of folks are locked into using it. IE : I'm concerned about Shuttleworth's true motivations. I'm worried he may just be using Ubuntu as a long-term business opportunity, getting folks sucked into the whole it's actively developed, but still free! mentality then spring some weird cash-strapping suprise on folks in the end. And now that you all use Ubuntu, you have to pay me $100/mo or the special code we built into it will reformat your hard-drive! Surprise! Wow Big Business scams have made me so jaded LOL!