The only conclusion Ive come to yet is that what people _say_ impresses them about Ubuntu is not what actually impresses them about Ubuntu.
Read the ranting at HappyAssassin
What impresses me about Ubuntu every time I install it in a VM is the fundamental – to use a controversial term – GNOMEness of everything. Its very definitely the GNOME of distros, where SUSE and Mandriva are the KDE. You dont get a lot of choices. Everything is very streamlined, very efficient, and very well designed. There are little bits of this experience hiding in this review trying to get out, like the smooth way the Ubuntu update process works (using a very well designed updater and judicious use of the notification system).