Ubuntu version 7.10 was released a week ago, and I've installed it on my Linuxbook. And am beyond pleased-as-punch and well into amazed. With Gutsy Gibbon (for that is the codename of this version), the Linux desktop has truly arrived for the mainstream. The installation was quick and easy. The functionality is smooth and pleasant. Sure, there are things that are different in Linux than on another OS.....but no more drastically than Mac OS X differs from Windows. Linux lacks nothing now, it only differs. And in that regard, Linux developers and fans no longer need to look over their shoulders to see if they've caught up to their competitor Operating Systems. They've arrived. They've made it. Their OS is ready for the world. Will it install on X or Y machine? Well, probably. Will it require the cliche command-line adjustments for this-or-that to work? Well, probably not, but in some extreme cases, maybe so. But these are issues that anyone taking a software meant for hardware X and trying to put it onto hardware Y. If I took Leopard and tried to install it on the lowest spec allowable, there would be issues. If I took Leopard and tried to install it on a spec LOWER than the given sys requirements, it would require a lot of tweaking. So Linux WILL install. No problem. But unlike Apple, which dictates what hardware goes into their machines for compatibility with their system, there is no single Linux hardware manufacturer, so the consumer has to do this work for themselves before making their purchase. There is one company that has shown a real dedication to making sure their hardware works with Linux. That company is Intel, and they even have a classification for computers made with all the important components being Intel. These classifications are "Centrino" and "Santa Rosa". If you buy a PC that is certified Centrino or Santa Rosa, you can absolutely expect the Linux distro of your choice to install easily and to work OOB (Out Of the Box) just as smoothly as Mac OS X would work on the Apple system is was sold with. So no more debate about Linux. It's there. It even has two broad system types that is made "just for it". Now, why is Gutsy Gibbon so freaking cool? Let me count the ways. Installation This isn't news to longtime Ubuntu users, but the installer is great. It's friendly and easy. Far easier than a Windows install, and just as easy as a Mac install. Fluidity of Operation Finding my way around on the desktop (not the Finder, not Windows whatever, but "Gnome") is intuitive and fast. There is a "Places" menu which automatically shows you everywhere you might want to go to in your computer, whether it's a folder in your Home directory or whether it's a hard drive you've just plugged in. All the applications you've got installed are in the Applications menu. And your system preferences are in the System menu. And that's all the menus you need. Three menus for everything you want to do! Want to configure stuff? Right click on it. Typically the options available for that element appears and takes you to its configuration window. Very simple. Very intuitive. Virtual Workspaces Mac OS X just came out with something they are calling SPACES, which essentially is a more-animated version of their progressive EXPOSE feature. Linux has virtual workspaces as well, but in Linux you can actually use them. You can define how many virtual desktops you want to have, you can define which window goes to what desktop, you can give each desktop a unique look and feel, you can easily move apps between desktops, and much more! Modern Convenience Through Useful Eye Candy Vista is lambasted for it, Mac OS X is admired for it, and Linux uses it — to its fullest useful extent! Onscreen animation and effects are enabled in Gutsy Gibbon, and brings a certain modernity to the desktop that is pleasing to the eye. But with the installation of an extra in-depth configuration menu, you can use onscreen animation to a level far beyond what any other OS provides. You can switch between applications quickly with the press of a key, or you can animate the switch with different transitions and make the transition happen at whatever speed your workflow demands. You can enable transparency in windows as needed. You can cause windows to make room for each other as you move them around, you can make them flip their corners so you can see what's behind them, you can whisk them off your desktop temporarily while you manage files.......the list is endless and it's all actually useful! But if you're not quite that work-oriented, there's plenty of animation and effects to apply in completely fun and useless ways, too (my favourite? making a window burst into flames while being closed). Integration The Linux Desktop consists of many many different small programs that act together to create one user experience. In the past, this may have felt just like that - like you were running a host of different programs all patched together to appear as one. But with Gutsy Gibbon, everything is integrated and feels like a complete system designed together, with one goal in mind. Does this seem like a small achievement? Well, not when you consider how patch-worked some of the interfaces going into Tiger and Panther were; some apps had the infamous brushed-metal look, others the original OS X pinstripes, and still others the newer grey-blue solid colors. And Windows? Well, all bets are off. Gutsy Gibbon Yes, it's ready. It's here. Linux is now ready to go BEYOND.