A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine told me that his laptop's hard disk seems to have died. Various efforts to revive it enough to get back the data (precious images) were unsuccessful. The hard disk was not even detected by the BIOS and was making an awfully loud noise when power ON. So it was time for a new hard disk (the warranty expired a week before the carsh!!).
The hard disk was delivered pretty quickly by newegg.com. My friend wanted a trustworthy installation and so I suggested dual-booting it with Ubuntu and using Windows only when needed. He agreed :)
Out of the 80GiB hard disk, he used 55GB for Windows and left the rest for Ubuntu. I walked him through the installation, over phone - about 2hrs, and the results were awesome. His Intel 2915 wireless chipset was automatically detected and he just had to put in his hex key to start using the uni's internet! After that I asked him to install ssh server and I was able to logon remotely to his machine. I installed other small packages e.g. flashplayer, acroread, etc. and it was all ready to be used. The whole process of installation of Ubuntu required only 1 reboot, and another one only to use a newer kernel. Everything was working: sound, video, wireless, Fn+ buttons for volume, brightness, etc.
After that I told him that everything is done and he can freely use Ubuntu. Then he asked me to double check if everything was installed on the Windows partition too. The Windwos XP installation had already required atleast 3reboots, and then it required a reboot after he installed the antivirus, wireless drivers, graphics drivers, etc. And then a few more reboots for windows updates!!
I'm amazed at the state Linux has reached especially Ubuntu and Debian that it can be installed by someone with almost zero knowledge about Linux, some help via telephone, and that most of the drivers are automatically installed. Kudos to Ubuntu and Debian too.