I recently installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on one of my desktop machines to just play around with. I really was dumbstruck at how good Ubuntu Linux is on the desktop. My favorite apps all have versions available. I’ve been using Ubuntu Server for a number of years and every so often trying it out in the desktop edition just to see what the state of it is. The laptop that I bought to run Ubuntu on was a giant fail at the time but works perfectly now (6 months later).
When I first tried out Ubuntu 11.04/11.10 I had a lot of problems with Unity and the machine would either boot into Gnome or just hang and need to be rebooted 50 times just to get to the desktop. However, this time around, 12.04 LTS installed and worked perfectly from the get go. Unity really is nice to use and the desktop is very very snappy. I was able to get up and going inside an hour (installing the OS and all the applications I needed) to be productive which I thought was pretty decent.
Apt is still one of my favourite features of Debian/Ubuntu, being able to install the majority of your software via apt-get makes life much easier when it comes to upgrades and security updates. The other good thing is that when it comes to compiling software, it just works, something that cannot be said of OSX.
I tried installing some apps that I love on my Mac just to see what they’re like on Linux. Spotify and Sublime Text 2 are two pieces of software that I use everyday and surprise surprise they were both available on Linux and both worked well. Spotify is still a preview edition but it still worked well enough that I had no noticeable problems with it. Sublime was perfect, UI is identical to the OSX version and just as snappy to use.
But I digress, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop is very nice. I haven’t spent months and months working on it but my initial reactions are all positive. Ubuntu really feels like a cohesive desktop that just works. If I was building a new business I’d definitely be considering Ubuntu for the desktop and using SaaS for the software that is mission critical.