I got a programming degree, and used Red Hat 9 in classes, but noone bothered to provide information as to how to use it at home, for all those hardware goodies (DVD Players & Burners, including dual layer) AND, how to get on the Internet! I eventually bought a hardware based modem, but by that time was looking for a job. I ended up not doing technology, but doing Q#$#$Q!!!!!!!!! staffing for an immigrant for low $. If I use UBUNTU, will I get a system that EASILY allows you to use your computer goodies just like an MS or MAC user? THAT's WHAT I WANT TO KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!
People have to stop thinking that it will "be like Windows or OSX". It isn't! It can't be!
We are not talking about either of those Operating Systems. Even with all the 'eye-candy', nice software, good hardware support and magnificent repository's of software (thank Debian for that), this is, and will always be LINUX.
I can't tell you that everything will work out of the box. There is good chance that happens, but it's not 100% sure.
Installing Ubuntu on a desktop with default hardware (no PCMCIA, BlueTooth, SD Card reader, etc) will probably work good, all you have to do is install proprietary drivers (ATI, NVIDIA) because those can't come on the CD.
Now, if you are planning on installing it on a laptop, things may get a little trickier. You may very well need to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf before entering the LiveCD mode, because your graphics card isn't supported. [Just an example]
Would you do this on Windows? NEVER!
Is this something you are willing to search and learn to change to a free OS? If yes, go ahead. But if you want everything to work LIKE IN WINDOWS, it won't.
After some hacking of your own, you will be able, however, of doing everything you do on a Windows box (with some minor exceptions)
I hope you don't get this the wrong way. I was just trying to make a point. =)
I recently installed the downloaded version of Ubuntu 7.04, and did not have to do anything special for my video card, sound card, parallel laser printer and network laser printer. Unbuntu found and installed them all!
It even recognized that the second hard drive was bootable, and added a boot to XP to the startup menu.