I was impressed with how easily both installations went. Sure, if you were going to set up a dual-boot Windows/Linux system you'd need to know a bit about what's going on under the PC's hood, but a bright kid could do the basic installation. (I know that to be true because I loaned a freshly burned Ubuntu DVD to a neighborhood sixth grader and he had it running in a few minutes.)
Incidentally, the Ubuntu release candidate was just a trifle too large for a CD. The installation media works just fine on DVDs and USB sticks, both of which I used, but Canonical needs to lose those last few fatty bytes before the final release.
While Canonical wants to make the server and cloud easy to use, its desktop really shows its dedication to making Linux as painless as possible. For example, the new version doesn't include GIMP, an all-the-bells-and-whistles image editor like Adobe Photoshop. It's not a bad idea. Most people don't need that kind of heavy-duty image editing power or the complicated commands that come with it -- they just want to get rid of red eye. So instead, Canonical supplied F-Spot, which is as easy to use as Google's Picasa.
The push to make Ubuntu easy to use is continued throughout this release. For example, Gwibber, an open-source social network client that connects with Twitter, Identi.ca, Facebook, Flickr and Digg, among others, is built into the desktop. The same is true of Ubuntu's default instant-message client, Empathy.
The Ubuntu interface itself has changed a bit. Ubuntu's old orange and brown, desertscape desktop has been replaced by a purplish design called Ambiance. It was a little dark for me, but the alternative, lighter desktop theme, Radiance, was far more pleasing. You can, of course, adjust the GNOME 2.30 interface to whatever pleases your eyes the most.
To continue the theme of simplicity, the new interface features a few clear application choices rather than burying users with multiple choices for such jobs as scanning documents or editing video.