The Hoary Hedgehog
Only one small glitch and i was able to get into a fully functional Ubuntu desktop. Basically after booting (a 5 minute painless process) i had no network connectivity. This is, of course, about the worst thing to be lacking when you boot into a new OS. Without network access you can't go for help and you're basically on your own in trying to figure everything out. of course that's not necessarily a bad thing since you don't end up just going to a forum and saying "help me!"
This being my first time in Ubuntu i was a little bit lost and had to try and navigate around the system for a while. Within a couple of minutes i found the "network settings" dialog. It listed my wireless and ethernet connections, but for some reason had them both listed as "not configured." I'm not surprised about the wireless since it wouldn't know my network key, but i was kinda surprised that the ethernet connection wasn't configured. But maybe it's a security feature. I mean, you are definitely not going to be hacked if you have no network access.
Anyways, it was a simple matter of going into the properties, clicking a checkbox saying "this device is configured" and then saying "use dhcp". I found this kinda counterintuitive. Why should i be telling the computer that the device is configured. Why doesn't the computer tell me that? :)
Anyways, right after doing that i found myself in a completely comfortable environment. The system has Firefox on it (which i'm using to write this post), and it also has GAim on it so i was able to contact my friends to tell them "i'm on the hoary hedgehog! (and no, i'm not high right now)". :-D
The interface for Ubuntu is very nice and clean. I'm unlearning the fact that the "start menu" isn't in the lower left corner but is instead the upper left. But until i get comfortable with that i'm going to be perpetually "showing the desktop" since that's where i'm used to the start menu being. I'm also finding the standard desktop fonts to leave something to be desired. They look a little bit... too wide and clunky, especially when compared to OSX, but it's probably configurable once i find the right settings.
I'm off to try to configure mail support now. If that goes well then i'm definitely going to stick with this for a while. It's a nice change to OSX (which doesn't really let you go outside the Apple way of doing everything), and XP (which is feeling dated to me.