I've been puttering around with my old desktop computer, as I am a computer geek at heart. Windows XP completely crashed on it a few years ago, and it has been sitting in my closet ever since. I decided to try different operating systems from the Linux world and experimented with several Linux based systems, including YLMS 3.0, Fedora 14, Ubuntu 10, and the new Fedora 15/Ubuntu 11 Experimental Alphas.
I had installed a much earlier Ubuntu OS on the desktop a few years back. I think it was either Ubuntu 6.0 or OpenSuSE. I never particularly cared for the early Linux Operating Systems. While they were functional, you had to know a bunch of computer code and command function, almost like the early MS-DOS command prompts. I could do it for the most part; however, adding any sort of Windows based programs or drivers (particularly internet and printer drivers) was a major pain. I finally gave up on the project.
Linux operating systems are open source, which means the computer code is not copyrighted. Therefore, you can download and install an open source program for free. I was pleasantly surprised at how far the Linux Open Source operating systems had progressed in the last two years.
Fedora 14 needs some work. It seemed largely unfinished and was a pain to add drivers to. Fedora 14 seemed to be very similar to Ubuntu 8.0, but Ubuntu 8.0 had Open Office and other essential programs pre-installed. Fedora 14 did not even have a word processing program. Ubuntu 10 (at least the 64 bit version) was very nice, with a similar feel to a Mac or Windows 7 OS. The YLMS 3.0 is basically Ubuntu 10 with a Windows XP feel to it. If you like Windows XP, you will like it. It seemed solid.
The Alphas of Ubuntu and Fedora still have some bugs. I wouldn't recommend them as a primary operating system until the Beta versions come out. Ubuntu 11 was was much more functional than I anticipated, seeing as it had two major programing upgrades from Ubuntu 10. Fedora 15 seemed to be what Fedora 14 should have been, with more functional utilities. I liked what I was seeing in Fedora 15, but it is not user friendly if you don't know what you are doing. Ubuntu is much more user "hold your hand" friendly. But like I said, I'd wait until the official release of the sured up Ubuntu 11 or Fedora 15 before installing.
From what I have read, Ubuntu and Fedora, which have heretofore been relatively similar kernels, are going to individuate themselves with the new versions. Ubuntu is going to try going to some sort of Unity shell that is getting panned by quite a few folks. From the way its described, it sounds more like a Mac OS system, which is basically a "my way or the highway" type of operating system, which may make adding independent applications a major pain.
Fedora is going to go full on into the GNOME desktop environment, which Ubuntu has heretofore used. GNOME is of course a different desktop environment than a unity shell because it is a network of applications that run in tandem with the operating system.
Only time will tell who will win this battle, but it should be interesting to watch. At least up to this point, Linux has evolved nicely into a "via media" of operating systems between Windows on the one hand and Mac OS on the other.
I suppose, in the end, you get what you pay for.