Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
With each and every release, Ubuntu Linux seems to get that little bit easier and friendlier to use. To put it through its paces, we downloaded the CD image of the latest iteration, Ubuntu 10.04, burned it to a disc and booted directly from it.
In the past, many Linux distros booted up as a live CD from that point, and once you'd arrived at the desktop screen, there sat the icon to install the operating system to your hard disk. Ubuntu 10.04 instead offers you a welcome half-way house, in that mid-boot you can choose whether to try a live CD without writing files to your system, or go for the full install. We opted for the latter.
Ubuntu has made this a breeze. You choose your location, keyboard layout preference, how you want the OS to sit on your hard drive (especially useful if you're looking for partitioning work on an already-in-use drive), set up your username and password and away you go.