For a long time Linux was criticised as being too complicated and difficult for non-technical people to use. Personally I don't think that was ever really the case. I mean if Linux came pre-installed like Windows then the OEM would tweak it and install it to suit their hardware.
However Canonical has gone out of it's way now to prove to bury this myth once and for all. Take a look at the installation slide show for Ubuntu 9.10. Linux is ready for the desktop. It's ready for the mass market. It's ready for anybody that wants to use it. It doesn't matter if it's pre-installed or installed after market.
With respect to the basic installation, Ubuntu is now on par with Windows XP, Vista and even Windows 7. After the compiz effects have been enabled Ubuntu goes well beyond what Windows 7 is offering in terms of entertaining and useful desktop effects. And lets not forget the host of free software applications available directly from Canonicals Ubuntu repositories. Which contain everything from games to office productivity suits to web browsers to e-mail clients to extremely powerful tools for ICT professionals.
Ubuntu is also an OS well suited to "power users" with it's extremely high degree of customisability. There's nothing that can't be changed or tweaked. You can even change the entire desktop environment!
Now since Windows 7 has been available for testing many different sources have been quoting "boot times" of 20 to 30 seconds for Windows 7. It's become something of a selling point due to the fact Vista was so slow and a 6 month old installation of XP crawled along at a snails pace.
Well a default installation of Ubuntu 9.04 boots in around 15 to 20 seconds. From a cold start. Potentially 5 to 10 seconds faster than Microsofts latest and greatest Windows 7. The "boot times" for which by the way are actually restore from hibernation times!
At the time of writing, 10th October 2009, we're about 19 days from the final release of Ubuntu 9.10. Windows 7 will be out on October 22nd 2009. Ubuntu 9.10 has already been quoted as being able to boot from a cold start in 5 seconds when installed to an SSD.
So desktop Linux can now claim feature parity with desktop Windows. And as an added bonus it can also claim faster boot times as well as many other advantages. Linux is ready! Ubuntu is ready!
Microsoft and Apple are not the only game in town any longer!