I've been a hardcore Linux user for the past couple years, and I commonly refer to Linux as The Poor Man's Apple. I use Linux because I truly believe that I'm more productive using Linux than Windows, and I'm too cheap to buy an Apple. Seriously, I would love to have a spiffy new Apple laptop, but I just can't justify paying the extra markup cost.
SuSE Linux has been my distribution of choice for quite some time, but this week I decided to try out the highly recommended Ubuntu distribution. I can honestly say that this was the easiest installation I've ever done. It literally took me 5 minutes to boot up and try out their live CD, and after a couple clicks and about 15 minutes of file copying, I was up and running. The Ubuntu install went far beyond my expectations, and there were a few specific features that really blew me away.
Apple is known for packing a lot of "nifty" features into there operating system for a great out of the box experience, while Linux support for non-free applications is pretty poor. I've grown to deal with installing "bare bones" Linux, and then tweaking it to get basic MP3 and DVD support. Not any more! After installing Ubuntu, I installed Easy Ubuntu, and was able to get all these extensions installed in a snap! It even installed the Java 5 JRE for me!
The other feature that I found especially impressive was how Ubuntu automatically created mapped drives for my commonly used connections. I frequently need to connect to my server to transfer files, or my public ftp server to update webpages. Ubuntu will walk you through this connection process and then create a handy desktop icon to reconnect to your network location. Very nice!
Having a flashy new Apple would be nice, but I don't feel the need nearly as much now. As Ubuntu keeps getting better, I'm quite happy to keep recieving all of these updates for free!