I haven’t spent much time with Windows 7 or Mac OS X, but the next time someone asks me what the major improvements are in the new Ubuntu, I’ll point them to this link.
You won’t see it from the press releases or the feature lists. Or from the screenshots (which typically show the the same old Gnome panels). But the slick and polished UI in Ubuntu 9.04 is on par with any other OS out there.
Apps launch faster, everything feels snappier and (with a few minor exceptions) things are where they should be in the user interface.
Hardy was never very stable for me (I skipped Intrepid completely), and it would bring my machine to a crawl after extended use. But none of that with Jaunty. I browse the web, download torrents, watch videos, listen to music, rip/encode music/videos…and Jaunty sill feels very fast.
The slick new notifications system helps enormously too. I’d love to see more applications use the new system for notifications. And fonts just look nice from a default install. Those who complain about ‘wiry’ fonts in linux will be pleased. They look just as good if not better as other operating systems now.
You’ll notice many nice touches as you use Jaunty (which is getting typical of this release). Wallpapers fade into one another when you change them. Switching virtual desktops keeps the panels the place, and only slides your open windows out of the way.
And of course, you have all the other features that have already been mentioned elsewhere. I definitely noticed a marked improvement in boot time, which is great. But it’s the slick new UI which will make your computer so much fun to use again.
(And I can finally haz the new Gnome Do. Docky is a great productivity booster.)