Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
The most popular of the free Linux distros, the 10th and latest release of Ubuntu Linux (9.04, also known as Jaunty Jackalope) is available for both servers and desktops. Ready-made install media can be purchased online, along with chargeable support from commercial sponsor Canonical and others, however, we opted for the free download, choosing the 32-bit desktop edition supplied as a 699MB ISO CD image.
Once downloaded, we simply burned the image to a CD to create a LiveCD disk from which it is possible to evaluate Ubuntu without having to make any changes to the host computer. This worked well on the three PCs we tried, including a Dell Vostro notebook where the Ubuntu installer not only configured the display correctly but also the built-in WiFi adapter. Power management and hibernation options also worked as expected.
Once booted the LiveCD experience is much like running Ubuntu normally although, because files have to be fetched from the CD, a lot slower.