I first got started with Linux upon hearing about Ubuntu, starting with Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn". Before that, I had been mainly Windows for a few years following a long period with AmigaOS.
I got hooked on Linux because of Ubuntu. It "just worked" enough for me to begin using it for serious work (although, in reality, Ubuntu did not become my actual primary OS until Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron), but had enough little annoying issues with it (Broadcom support, for starters) to let the inner Geek in me run wild. If it wasn't for Ubuntu, I would probably never have gotten into Linux.
Say what you will about Ubuntu, but you really can't deny that it has a valuable role as a "gateway" distro, exposing Windows users to all the glory of Linux while still maintaining that familiar-to-them Window-esque look-and-feel. Once someone becomes comfortable with working "under the hood", then that person can make an educated decision on whether to stay with Ubuntu or move to another distro.
For what it's worth, I really appreciate how far Ubuntu has gone since Feisty in terms of usability and having things work right out of the box. I like how I can have an install completely set up and running, including installing all updates, inside of a couple of hours, rather than a couple of days as with Windows. I have parted ways with Ubuntu with the release of 11.04, as I have determined Unity just isn't for me; but I have stayed with the branch by switching over to Mint 11. I have a server box running Ubuntu 10.04 (following the LTS release cycle), but I will probably re-assess my choice of distro for it when 12.04 is due for release. Since I run it mainly headless (I only have X installed for XBMC), I may switch over to Debian.
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