With a new version of Ubuntu out (7.10) I decided to repeat the painful experience I put myself through every couple of years to see if I want to use it as a windows replacement on the desktop.
I've been pleasantly surprised this time. The install process was a bit of a monumental fuck up, but it turned out that my PC has been overheating for a while due to a dirty fan. Windows didn't seem to care. Linux kept shutting down, and I eventually found the system log that told me why it was shutting down, and the exact temperature that caused it. Nice.
At least when linux fails it is usually able to tell you exactly whats going on.
Installing the Nvidia drivers turned out to be a pain in the ass too. The simple procedure they give you to do it from the desktop just didn't work. I then tried Nvidia's simple shell script, which didn't work. And a day or so later I found something called Envy, which did work.
Overall I had to be familiar with linux commands, logging in as root, and editing configuration scripts to get it to do what I needed. It's still a computer experts OS as far as I can tell. Although you can pay for phone support, I don't think they're anywhere near capturing the typical Best Buy PC owner.
So far I can do nearly everything I need to in XP, but the user interface is both flashier, faster, and has the benefit of being linux.
It's still likely I won't be able to fully ditch XP though. I can't chat with my webcam yet. The webcam works but the chat software doesn't support it.
I don't like the fonts, but I'm hoping I can configure that, I haven't spent time twiddling with it yet.
Ubuntu is definitely getting there.