So I figured, if today the main thing we need is a web browser, so why do we need more than a free OS? Indeed, Ubuntu comes with Firefox by default, and for me, a Chrome favorite, installing Chromium from the Ubuntu Software Center (aka the App Store) was a piece of cake.
Installation of the OS was real easy, and so was the upgrade (started with Ubuntu 13.04, upgraded to 13.10).
Linux seems to make fairly good use of the hardware and gave me accelerated OpenGL graphics, audio and network out of the box.
Ubuntu also comes with several extras from basic tools like a notepad (gedit, that is by far better than windows notepad, and more resembles notepad++), through picture, video and audio players, to advanced tools like an entire office suite (libreOffice, which is nice but quite heavy, so I prefer online tools), all out of the box. Most other things can easily be downloaded from the Software Center.
While most things can be installed from the Software Center, not everything is available, and not once I found myself searching the web for a better solution for a program I couldn't find. I'm talking about development tools, which was pretty odd to me, as I thought Linux is the cozy home of all software development. Well, maybe just home, surely not cozy. The better development tools I know are for Windows. Linux is all about hard, notepad development and command line compilation. Sure, you can find MonoDevelop, and Eclipse is Java base which makes it cross platform, but that's about it, and they are limited (PHP anyone?)
I could find AptanaStudio, an Eclipse based IDE for web development, and this is the main tool I use, and acutally this is the same tool I used on Windows for the same kind of development, so I guess I can't complain, except for it not being in the Software Center.
Coming down to the people from the development ivory tower, I couldn't find an official app for SkyDrive.
There are many things that are just annoying. I thought that by the end of 2013 they'll be handled by now, but it seems Ubuntu rather put their efforts on the HUD (Heads Up Display) that gives me results I don't need for my searches rather than implement missing drivers and such. And I already wrote a post about security.
HUDThis is were you search your computer. You type something in, and get a list of results. The results are from installed apps, files you may have, apps of the Software centers, and all over the world - Wikipedia, Foursquare, YouTube, MySpace, whatnot. I find it very annoying.
Another thing that is annoying in the HUD is that when you change search criteria, say from "All" to "Software", it loses the search term.
Local Network Connectivity
Connecting to the Internet is simple and done quickly. That's true also to connecting to Windows networks through Samba (SMB:// addresses). However, it just doesn't recognizes other Ubuntu machines on the local network.
I tried sharing the folders and giving access to just about everyone in the universe and still it doesn't recognizes the other machine. Which is annoying, because the other machine is in the living room, which doesn't have the same conditions to work with as the main computer. I want to copy files, that's it. Just log in using the file manager to the other computer on the network and move files around. And I can't even get there. Annoying. I though this would come out of the box, and I can't even get it to work at all.
I run an Intel Core I5-4430 system. A small one. I didn't put a discrete graphic adapter in it since the one integrated in the CPU is far beyond all my (current) needs. However, when trying to run software like BOINC distributed computation (World Community Grid), or a BitCoin miner, it tells me it couldn't find any usable GPGPU (that's General Purpose GPU. It actually says things like "No usable GPUs found" or "No OpenCL devices found").
Intel don't have drivers yet. Don't know if they will. After a lot of searching and attempts to get this to work with all kinds of workarounds, I just gave up.
These are my main impressions from Ubuntu, but all in all I still rather use it than Windows, and if only because of Windows' lengthy reactivation issues.