Walter Mossbergs review of Ubuntu came across as honest and objective, but more importantly it I took it as a working outline of how the average user views Ubuntu.
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Additionally, at the point where a truly novice users give Ubuntu a try they are immediately compelled to become an autodidact in the spirit of open source. However, the initial stages where a Linux-based operating system like Ubuntu is foreign to them is where novice users are most valuable to the community as a resource for injecting ideas about what's missing from a distro that's looking to target more of the mainstream. Unfortunately, this is also the stage where most go unheard and unrecognized. Projects like Ubuntu (OpenOffice and OpenProj come to mind) would benefit greatly from maintaining a direct connection with the mainstream user whose adoption preferences will eventually determine the nature of any variety of long-term success.