Congratulations - 12.1 is a superb success - Thank You I've had two excellent experiences with Ubuntu, the first back in the v6-v8 period, and again with the recent refinement of 12.1 LTS. Linux/Ubuntu only lacks one major application or capability that would make it a total Win replacement, and I'll mention that in closing. The earlier experience was enhanced with bundled "multi-media" restricted pkgs. What really sold me was the ease of finding compatible software through the pkg repositories without the nightmare of matching dependencies using the terminal. My "media center" is an AMD FM1 A4 3300 APU on a gigabyte GA75M. It is the slowest and least expensive processor in the series and almost silent. It handles all my editing, streaming and I-net duties perfectly with integrated HDMI.
Obviously I don't do gaming. I've found myself preferring using my living room couch RF keyboard on Linux rather than my XP office desktop for writing and I-net research. I'm not sure if Netflix will evolve to HTML5 and drop Silverlight (they may have already), but an inexpensive refurb ROKU expedites that resource, making Windows-Silverlight redundant.
Oddly, v11.04 had a video driver (fglrx) that ran the APU VGA well enough to update in stages through v12.10. Versions 11.1 and 12.04 would not install with Unity on the FM1 Chipset. Unity 12.10 seems to have correct drivers, has dropped the “unsupported hardware” warning, and GUI/AV performance is now perfect. Does the term UNITY refer to the Dashboard or the entire GUI experience?
The transparent Dash Home is interesting and a bit odd but perhaps I need to work with it to get a full understanding of its purpose as a kind of “Control Panel”. My only protest is the sudden appearance of adverts in the Dash Transparency. I never allow any advertisements on my PC desktops or browser windows. I don't know how or why they got there.
The Workspace Switcher as replacement for the XP Task Bar is brilliant and I find it quite useful on a low res 720P 32” LCD. It will remain very useful when upgrading to larger 1080P in future.
Four clusters of open processes is about as much multitasking as I care to do. I would advise against getting too smug about the invulnerability of Linux Distros to malware, since social media, the cloud and the browsers themselves are the main vector for infection. I advise promoting some sort of “Steady State” VM or a SandboxIE style browser isolation scheme. I have used SBIE on XP for years and successfully avoided any malware events. For my purposes the one remaining failing in Linux Debian-Ubuntu is the lack of a media audio-video stream capture along the lines of Applian Replay AV 8.
This makes Windows XP or Win7 irreplaceable at present. WINE is on the verge of supporting some Windows AV apps but as of now not reliable enough to allow me to walk away and have my utility PCs run on a scheduled automated wake-up, record, segment, file convert, shut down basis.
Yes Audacity can record a single sound card output by cannot capture multiple packet streams and sort them out. A 12 year old P4 Windows XP system using Replay can capture four of five simultaneous broadcasts in a minimal 3MBps to 5MBps broadband connection, while still allowing other desktop functions like editing and browsing as well. Multi-core PCs handle all the above with ease. Actually most flv radio streams are less than 200kbps so it doesn't take much. That lack of media capture functionality (is that a word?) is my last remaining “Big Whinge” against Ubuntu, and it's a tall order.
Commercial media marketing WEBmasters are in a constant drive to modify interactive sites, upgrade streams or insert tracking or authentication subscription schemes. Capturing radio and TV station AV output is a moving target with a constant need for evaluating URL streams and the building of a database of thousands of radio/TV station capture codes. Applian even supplies a DIY utility for URL stream packet analysis, and it works.
I can understand why it is difficult to organize a cooperative volunteer cadre to do the necessary tedious analysis and drudgery. I'm happy to pay Applian $40 or $50 every few years to upgrade my capture capabilities and would do the same for a reliable Linux application. From what I can discern, Applian is about to release new Win7/Win8 capture suites, but has no plans to develop a Linux version. I just reread my previous two paragraphs and they look like an advert for Applian. I am not now, nor have I ever been an Applian associate or employee. In fact they are a pain to deal with in terms of tech support so I rarely contact them. It does seem odd that there is only one source of a comprehensive application of this kind that does everything.
Replay is quirky with a crude GUI and odd menus, is often inscrutable and fails in weird ways without any clear error reportage. Storms, server failures and random fits of incompetence interrupt media output which adds to the uncertainties, but with two or three redundant PCs compiling output from several regions you tend to get all the media files as needed.