Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
I have a laptop that runs Ubuntu Karmic (and OpenSolaris in multi-boot), and I recommend Ubuntu for all my friends who want to give Linux a shot. The most important reason is Ubuntu's ease of use. For the past several months, many people are shifting from Windows to open source OS because unlike past, Linux is as easy to use as Windows. I still remember those days of 9 CD Debian installation and now anyone can install Ubuntu with some basic knowledge of computers. Also there is a huge online help for Ubuntu.
One of my friends, who installed Ubuntu going by my advice, called me yesterday to tell that it gives an error about low graphics, wherein she has a NVIDIA GeForce in her laptop. Ah, that's easy, you just need to shutdown your GNOME, update /etc/X11/xorg.conf, download the driver and install, invoke runlevel 6. Simple! This is the typical problem of being a computer engineer - making assumption that the person at the other end understands the lingo of computers. Not surprisingly, my friend could not make a head or tail out of it.