And before you exclaim "but it is!" please take some time to read my thoughts.
Firstly, I have been trying Ubuntu on a MacBook Pro running Parallels. This is a virtualisation app, and it lets e run Windows, Linux or any OS which can run on an Intel platform. I was looking at Ubuntu out f interest, but also as I have a couple of friends who are less than keen on Windows but who don;t want to buy into Apple's world.
When I started, I was using Ubuntu 7.6 - it installed well in Parallels, and I was able to get to the GUI pretty quick. However, at this point things started to go wrong:
• It didn’t recognise the keyboard layout I had. I'm using a UK keyboard, but Ubuntu was seeing it as a US board. Parallels was set to use a UK layout, which made typing interesting. The preferences available to me didn;t let me make the change that I needed, so I was forced to enter the Terminal, locate some instructions on the net and manually enter key mapping and other bits and pieces.
• It was also limiting its display to 800x600, and no matter what I did in Ubuntu or the host Parallels app, I could not get any resolution other than that. Again, a trip to the terminal to manually enter desired resolutions was needed.
Other set up tasks required Terminal work as opposed to using options in the system set up. It was dawning on me that Ubuntu was on the surface very promising, but it required in depth technical knowledge to get it running correctly. Any instructions I found were clearly written by those in the know for those in the know.
If you want the man in the street to use Ubuntu, and get the most out of it, then the user needs to be thought of. The user you need to attract is not some kind of über geek, or even a passing expert, but the kind of user who would blunder into his local PCWorld (CompUSA or whatever box shifter store is nearby) and buy the first machine that the salesman shows him because "it's good" and he knows no better. This kind of person won't be interested in fiddly terminal stuff, nor will he want to know either.