Ubuntu is an enigma. Once the market leader amongs casual linux users, it has made some weird decisions that angered power users and confused The Normals.
The main problem is the Unity desktop. Resource-intensive (and apparently without a lighter “fallback” option in 14.04) it also excels at confusing the user. It’s the Windows 8 of the linux world.
Normally I have a screenshot here, but it ran so poorly in my testing setup that it was not practical to take screenshots.
Suitability for folks migrating from XP:
Install: 8. Quite good, thought the language in the partitioning panel was a bit confusing.
Grandma test: 2. Horrible. Unity might induce a stroke.
Default applications: 8. LibreOffice and FF installed, though some browsing details are tied into the web app thingy the way that Explorer is built into windows.
Speed: 2. Terrible. So slow the 5min screen lock would come on before the OS would respond to my last click. Arggghhhh!
Updates: 9. Very good, as this is a Long Term Support (LTS) release
Popularity: 9.8 #2 on the DistroWatch popularity list, and probably #1 over the past few years until Mint happened.
I cannot in good conscience recommend Ubuntu with the Unity front-end. You can get Ubuntu without the soul-eating interface in wonderful Lubuntu (LXDE + Ubuntu) spin, reviewed next.