Loading Ubuntu vs Loading Windows
When XP finally arrived . . .
I loaded OEM on several different machines, it was painless, the drivers were pretty much there, fairly easy. At the time the various linux distro's were painful, required much hand tweaking to get things working, and missing basic office functionality.
Fast forward to the present. In the last two months I have had occasion to load three windows and 1/2 dozen ubuntu boxen.
I can honestly say the Ubuntu loads were way,way,way,way less hassle than the windows ones. Not even close. Of the windows boxen, the windows 2000 machine was fewer overall mouse clicks and reboots. MCE was outrageous. Reloading an HP MCE box from the original disks, was a two day affair, to get it 100% current. Two days because it constantly needs rebooting and re-running "Windows Update" over and over, and over, Finally the virus install, and setup. Whew!
Ubuntu (8.04) took a while, but was WAY more hands off. Once past the disk setup (Because I *am* a geek and wanted e2/boot xfs/root) it was 100% hands off until it was ready to reboot on it's own. After that reboot, pulling the CD, it came up and informed me of needed updates. I clicked 100% hands off until one small license prompt or something, then it finished, and a small icon told me to reboot whenever . . . Rebooted and I was DONE. Several hours, but only two reboots and a small handful of mouse clicks, no pulling up Windows update, waiting 10 minutes for it to do it's thing, only to tell me that some package needs to be installed independently followed by a reboot.
Even if you get an OEM machine, pre-installed you generally have to spend 1/2 day getting the darn thing up to date. Best Buy offers this as a $ervice at purchase, along with installing the pretty much mandatory 3rd party virus application.
The latest gnome is pretty spiffy, and offers some tweaks to nautalis via gconf, that finally make it tolerable. The only hand tweaks I've made to any of the ubuntu boxes, was for my EeePC for some hotkey patches, I replaced the installed wifi with an intel, and had to adjust a few things from a downloaded .deb and Some screen size adjustments (Don't get me started on right-sizing a windows desktop for my dad with a very large hi-res screen). 7.10 required a unichrome driver upgrade, way back on another box. I also prefer the gnome "Wireless Connection Manager" which is a python hand-install. Trivial to actually install: download, extract, python setup.py, right click on the task bar, and add the thing, but it was CLI. It needs to become part of the default, Network manager is lacking in the Wifi department.
Look, I really LIKED XP, and it's installation & setup, but MS really dropped the ball with Windows Update. When I install fresh Ubuntu, it simply downloads the latest packages at that time, at puts them in place. I fail to see why current MS cannot do the same damn thing. You install one thing, and that triggers a whole new series of security fixes for it, and more things that need installing.
Ubuntu is user friendly and runs fairly well on the Eee's 720x480 screen, fits on about 75% of the 4G SSD, with a pretty good bit of snivel (some bluetooth addons for the plantronics && Ekiga, revelation, xine, mplayer, mhwave edit, mp3 stuff, sound converters, bitpim, 5250 tools, ODBC, PgAdmin III, ...) All click and pick installed. After rolling my own slack, and dealing with RH, and Suse, I found it rather suprising to say the least.
Ubuntu is pretty much right on it for the desktop, it's down to applications and driver support for new hardware. The latter has become increasingly less of a problem. The former, pretty much is likely to continue to be an issue for quite a while longer.