Ubuntu 9.10 +2 days
The OS is now looking lovelier than ever. A quick trawl through the graphics options reveal even more flourishes, which work happily with the nVidia Quadro FX 1500M nestling in my M90. Windows have an elastic effect when minimizing or maximizing, literally bouncing into shape. Dragging a window around the workspace sees the bottom of the window belatedly following the top, snapping back into place when the window move is complete.
Apps-wise, I'm pretty much sorted. The Ubuntu Software Centre ( as it is called in UK English ) is well-organised and pretty much foolproof. Based off the dependency-aware apt-get, it'll go get whatever you need to make whatever app you're installing work first time. True, you don't generally get installation problems on XP, but I have encountered the odd piece of software that needs a redistributable of some kind. All dependencies are downloaded first here.
Rhythmbox deals nicely with my love of podcasts. Instead of going through the iTunes store, you simply give it the XML feed URL of the 'cast you want to subscribe to. It sorts out the rest from there. Some may miss the convenience of the browsing function available in iTunes, but it's a non-issue for me. I've never rated the iTunes podcast directory that highly myself, plus there are plenty of other sites out there that'll allow you to browse based on interest.
Transmission is the BitTorrent client that comes pre-installed with Ubuntu. The mere fact that it's part of the default install speaks to Canonical's recognition of modern user activities. Finger definitely on the pulse there. It's not as full-featured as Windows fave uTorrent. If you're looking for graphs of who's providing which piece of which file, you're out of luck. If you're simply after a quick download or two (million), Transmission is a good, functional client.
Video is being handled by the ever reliable VLC, as permissive on Linux as it is on any of the platforms it runs on.
I've had a quick look at Monodevelop, an IDE intended for developing .NET applications. It looks good enough for what it is, but I'll probably still do all of my .NET dev inside a Windows environment. Visual Studio may not be perfect, but I'm comfortable within it.
The one thing I haven't got quite sorted yet is DVD playback. To be honest, it's something of a non-issue for me. I have numerous devices capable of playing DVDs. Pretty sure I could solve the problem if I put the time into it if I was so inclined, but for those who deem DVD playback a must - a little work will be required. It won't work out of the box.
Another annoyance (although not Linux-related per se) is Zynga Poker on Facebook. For some reason, some of the text won't display properly, making it difficult to pick specific sit 'n go games. However, I think this is more of a Zynga issue than Linux issue. I hope they sort it out.
Despite the couple of niggles, the overriding factor in all of this is how bloody fast it all is. Switching between open applications is joyful, in stark contrast to XP, which acts like a man with a serious hangover trying to repaint the Sistine Chapel. My machine is probably three years old at this point, and it runs beautifully. First time in around 2.5 years I've been able to make such a claim.
The only thing I'm actually missing about Windows is the ease of installing Windows games. I've got an XBox 360. I have a PS3. I can live with that for now. When the time comes (i.e. when Blizzard get around to releasing the bulk of their stuff) I'll get something worthy of doing the deed. But if you want a computer just to be a computer, Ubuntu 9.10 is tops.