In addition, it's easier to add new software. The Ubuntu Software Center has reduced the process of installing new software to pointing and clicking through a category-organized catalog. If you need a less common program, you'll need to use the Synaptic Package Manager. This shouldn't be a problem, however -- in just the last few months, Linux has made giant strides in making software installation easier via its package management programs.
In action, I found Ubuntu 10.04 to be fast and snappy. Windows 7 marches along at a decent clip on my test systems, but Ubuntu was quite zippy on the same hardware. Indeed, even as a virtualized operating system, it felt more spritely than Windows. OpenOffice 3.2, for example, took three seconds to load in Ubuntu on VirtualBox while it took five seconds to get going on Windows 7 on the same machine.
In short, I can highly recommend Ubuntu 10.04 to any user, and not just to Linux users. Indeed, some hard-core Linux users might find it too easy and polished for their tastes. But for everyone else -- and anyone who just wants an easy-to-use, full-featured, secure desktop operating system -- Ubuntu 10.04 is the one for you.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was cutting edge and 300bit/sec. was a fast Internet connection -- and we liked it! He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.