First of all, congrats on breaking free from the monopolistic inferno that is Microsoft. Although a lot of neat software is Windows-only (for now!), The overhead is too high for me to continue running it. The idea that backdoors are installed for the NSA and other big agencies to snoop on you, is reason enough. Additionally, one might consider the economical cost, modularity and resistance to malware. I mean, XP is quite lightweight if you kill unnecessary processes, but you still have to have an antivirus and other security programs clogging up your hardware resources. With Linux, you don’t feel the need to upgrade machines. With Windows, after some time passes, most computers start dragging their feet (don’t ask me why; I never looked into it) and people would usually take out their checkbook convinced of the obsolescence mantra that the industry is all to happy to dish out. And let’s not forget where the old components end up.
Ubuntu is neat and certainly the most user-friendly distribution today. Also, the community is HUGE! So you probably made the right choice. I personally favor Gnome’s clean look to KDE’s customizability, but it’s a matter of taste really.
The machine is in motion and is unstoppable. *nix will, sooner or latter, dominate the market. We are already seeing all the big boys line up behind Linux at the expense of MS. Nothing earth-shattering yet, but it’s a snowball effect. I’ve been bugging Skype for years to incorporate video in their Linux client. Earlier last year, when the Asus EeePC came out with a Linux distro onboard, the bastards at Skype put up a video-capable Linux client the same week. But Linux versions for specialized commercial software is still lacking. Thanks to the excellent folks at Crossover, Wine (the Windows emulator - or rather non-emulator) is past the beta stage. Which means that it’ll handle a lot of windows apps, but I advise against it. Better find an open and hackable alternative. And as far the Ubuntu repositories as concerned, you won’t have trouble with any of that.
And don’t forget to give back to the community. Get involved, spread the word, file bug reports, learn to code, translate documentation, etc. Your karma will thank you.
I’ll leave you with an IBM ad from a few years ago, before the Ubuntu age (that took Linux to the masses).
Long live the penguins!