1) for some given value of 'best', it is quite good. You won't get the same answer from everyone.
2) Ubuntu is designed to be useful out of the box, so the packages are typically pre-configured with the most common settings. High level Linux users consider this 'dumbing down' Linux, but then Ubuntu isn't for them
3) As of the current version, very. (I recommend making 'Automatix' the first thing you install and run. Search for it)
4) Yes, the Ubuntu install process is much improved and gets better with each release.
Ubuntu is not very polished, and truly is dumbed down. So much that even newbies seem to have trouble with it. Like other non-Linux OS's it tells you want you need. Of course, you can alter things later, but in not a very user friendly kind of way.
IMO, it is overhyped garbage. then again I despise Debian based distros so I am a bit biased.
Ubuntu did last an entire week on my computer last summer, a new record for debian distros.
Give openSuSE a spin. Polished and rock solid and benefits greatly from the work Novell does for SLED. The only negative is that its updater isn't very good, not that Ubuntu is much better. But download SMART and you are good to go. It even takes care of allowing you to play DVD's and MP3's for you. Just don't use the SMART package from SUSE, get it directly from the SMART site.
"Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration."- Stan Kelly-Bootle
I'm kind of warming to Ubuntu - simply because it just seems to work - with little effort, so you can start programming. Yes, you will not learn as much - but then you can always go for another disto at a latter date.
I am a firm believer in Red Hat for the business environment, and have generally not been very keen on Debian - except for the "live" stuff like Knoppix, and that only for specialized use, like demoing to the downtrodden masses or my own personalized version that boots up an Intel box as an IBM mainframe (using Linux as the microcode control program).
However, I work with Ubuntu as my desktop system and would take it over Windows, no problem.
Also, unlike Debian, Ubuntu looks to be making a sincere effort to understand and work within requirements of production servers. It's not nearly there yet, but maybe in a year or 2....
Sometimes the only way things ever got fixed is because people became uncomfortable.
0) I'm using ubuntu/xubuntu since summer 2005, linux since 9 years, and ubuntu is solid, imho, and installing/deinstalling with synaptic is very easy - I would say that's a good way to go.
1) There is no best flavor. Depending on your needs and expections it might be. I would suggest it for beginners, and geeks, who left the adventure of Linux from scratch to concentrate on using Linux. But I will suggest the xubuntu-flavor.
3) In former times Java itself wasn't open Source, why people developed a open-source version of java, which is installed by default: gcj. While reaching considerable results, most Java professionals need a more recent java-version. It's easy to install the sun-java-packages instead of gcj-and-family -- that's the only small task to solve.
But that's in general not depending on the distro - is it?
4) ? no idea.
2) There is no selling point, since it isn't sold. The best things in live are free, and so is xUbuntu.
I've just moved from Fedora Core to Ubuntu and after only a few days I've come across a few good and bad points about Ubuntu.
Good - It works. Soundcard, network card, volume controls on my laptop, suspend/hibernate, everything seems to work right just out of the box. Installation was a breeze and installing software is nice and easy (not that yum on Fedora isn't).
Bad - On a personal preference level, it's set up differently which confuses me after many years of RH based distros. Bash preferences are different and I haven't figured out how to get everything how I like it yet. My ATI video card didn't work at the proper resolution straight out the box though I did find a howto in about ten minutes. Getting encrypted DVD playback was a bit more convoluted than FC, though it was really just a question of which packages to tell it to install. Small nitpick - the /etc/fstab is set up in such a way that it's peppered with entries making "df -h" or other such tools less easy to use.
Okay, the bad paragraph is bigger, but they're all irritations rather than show stoppers. Also, I've got ~7 years of RH based bias!
Small nitpick - the /etc/fstab is set up in such a way that it's peppered with entries making "df -h" or other such tools less easy to use.
Afaik, you can use your old style /etc/fstab.
The new style might have advantages for removable devices like usb-drives and -sticks, which are getting more and more common. You plug out, plug in - sda1 gets sdb1 - harddrive is now confused by camera-device ...
For those, you may - with a little handwork - create a readable fstab and modify /etc/udev/rules.d/ I only know a german wiki-description, but if someone is interested, I can try to explain. [ May 18, 2007: Message edited by: Stefan Wagner ]