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An OS must also be lean
One very important fact was left out and that is an operating system must not slow down after 3 months usage like Windows 7 does especially if you install more than a handful of programs. You can have a wonderful desktop but if it is not responsive and slow that is not much use either. That is one of the reasons I no longer use Windows 7. I might still install it in a VM on Virtualbox though. The Unity desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 has improved a lot and most things now work out of the box and less buggy and more responsive unlike version 11.10. You can also tweak it with the MyUnity utility. I was surprised that Ubuntu 12.04 runs well on an Acer Aspire One ZG5 AOA150 netbook as well. A traditional Windows 95 style start menu is not that desirable on netbooks. I totally agree everyone has their preferences, hence there are plenty of good choices or possibilites to improve some of the existing ones.