The easy stuff is installing a distro. The tough part comes when you want to make it yours, whether through supporting your special hardware or …gasp… customizing the look’n’feel of your desktop.
As it is, I’m currently posting this from my Ubuntu VMware image, which now has MPlayer 1.0pre7, XMMS and DVD decryption installed (thank you Jon). I’ve fetched the Human skin for XMMS, added universe and multiverse repositories and did more apt-get than I care to remember.
All this to say that yes, it is today much easier to customize your linux box, provided you’re good at using Google and the various discussion forums online, AND you have time to spare (it’s past 1h00 am right now – not smart, but not unusual either for me). Given a choice, I still prefer my OS X for all around computing. Sure, it’s more expensive at the start, sure the UI is less customizable (but who cares)… but I feel that for the average user and his family, it’s stronger choice. I’m not saying the uber-geek that I am wouldn’t run solely on Linux, was I alone in an ultra-cool loft or a shitpad like Neo in the Matrix, but this is the real world, and I have little time to tweak text files to get stuff working.
Regardless of the above pseudo-rant, I highly recommend Ubuntu, and would run it way before Windows at work, if I was given the choice. Actually, many folks within IBM now work exclusively on Linux (and have for years), but in technical sales, we still have a few applications that require Windows. For the moment… as we’re moving toward being able to transition over… and I’ll be the first one to try out our new shiny linux desktops when that happens.