Here's what I like about Ubuntu:
- It's easy and fast to install. In particular it's great that you can manage partitions from the installer itself.
- It has a great package manager, reused from Debian. Installing new software is one command line away! (If that isn't obviously better than 20 clicks away then you must be built differently than me. Oh, just so you don't get the wrong idea: You can do it with 20 clicks if you're feeling like wasting some time.)
What I don't like about Ubuntu:
- Invariably there is some hardware problem when I install it on a laptop. On my machine I can't have both VGA and LCD output. On my wife's machine I can't make the mouse move faster. (Why is the default setting for mouse speed so low on all computers? Isn't the mouse enough of a time waster without having to move your finger all over the touchpad(!) to get from right to left?) And again, just so you don't get the wrong idea: I'm not saying these can't be done; I'm just saying that the most obvious solution doesn't work out-of-the box and it should.
- It's going the wrong way. By default, the latest version (7.10) installs a ViM without syntax highlight support and it doesn't even install TeXLive and Emacs. Instead, it bloats my hard drive with OpenOffice and crap like compiz. The latter invariably crashes my computer, and I don't even like to see flying windows on my screen. Windows are enough to bear, thank you very much.
Still, Ubuntu is better than what I tried before. If I remember correctly RedHat (is it Fedora now?) didn't have comprehensive repositories so I had to browse–download–run just to install something. Sorry, I don't want to waste that time. Gentoo is better, but it still insists on compiling everything, which may take ages. (It's better because compiling doesn't require my attention, while browsing does.)
Now the question: Do you know some other distribution that would be good for me?