I have been using the latest release of Kubuntu on my Sony VAIO VGN-NR110E and I am impressed with the advancements the Linux community has made. When I first got into Linux and the open source movement, KDE and Gnome were fun to tinker with, but they were not usable for daily tasks and were hard to set up. Of course, this was in the days before broadband was widespread and winmodems were the standard. Linux was definitely not ready for the desktop.
Today, I think that Linux is ready. KDE still has a few bugs to iron out and I am not covering Gnome right now, but it is definitely able to compete with Windows and Mac for geeks and grandmas. All of the necessary office and productivity tools are available, Amarok is the best music player I have ever used, Firefox and Flash are easily installed with a few clicks, Wireless was set up instantly, I am extremely impressed with this release.
Now for the obligatory complaints.
KDE4 is still a bit buggy. I have full faith that they will iron out the majority of these quirks soon enough. The biggest complaint is lack of third party software support. There have been huge strides since the early days, but video game developers are not developing for OpenGL and Linux platforms. This is what will keep most people from switching. Also, many companies are using software that they have invested a lot of money into. The developers for many major software programs are not coding for Linux because there aren’t many users of Linux. This is a hard loop to break. I feel that developers are going to have to code to open standards or users are going to have to be introduced to Linux and its advantages to create the market share necessary to be a valid competitor for software companies to release Linux software and develop games and ports of popular programs.