Re: ubuntu ready for end-users?
I voted "Other". I think a lot of people could run with Warty right now, providing the installation & some tweaking were done by a nerd/geek/guru (pick 1). Teaching them to update their system with Synaptic should take maybe 5-10 minutes.
Re: printer drivers - I worked for a major printer manufacturer for 15 years and with "just" DOS, Windows and Mac we were losing the driver wars every day. An OS tweak (that really shouldn't affect printing) or a new version of a "favorite" app that handled printing just a little differently and we were back to the drawing board. Writing a good printer driver is science, art and a lot of black magic & luck and anybody that can do that has a lot of respect from me.
That's a fairly long-winded way of saying that I don't think we're going to see Linux drivers on a CD out of the new printer box any time soon. The Linux software environment is just too fluid, too subject to rapid change and revision. I mean, these guys would like a shot at not having their code go obsolete by the time the CDs are burned. And newer peripherals (digital cameras, multifunction output devices, etc.)? Please - I get a twitchy stomach just thinking about 'em.
Also, until some kind of resolution is reached regarding multimedia - video, audio, DVD playback, etc. - Ubuntu (and Linux in general) is going to continue to be a tough sell. My sister-in-law is a nice lady, intelligent, not afraid of computers or trying something different - but she wants to be able to watch her movies, see the streaming video from her favorite web sites - and doesn't want to hear about legal issues or Microsoft lock-out. In my experience, that's a pretty common attitude.
Finally, we have to remember that most "ordinary" people don't want to spend hours tinkering to get something to work. Not everybody has the required mindset (or the luxury of the time) to go to the lengths that even a casual Linux user (like me) pursue to get it "just right". They want stuff to work, and work now - and if you don't offer them that, they'll move on to something else that says it does.
"....I'm a user, not a programmer...."