I'm just curious. Are you telling me that Ubuntu installed with no additional configuration
Yep, on the Dell laptop I did a couple weeks ago for my daughter, and the last two LTS releases have installed clean out-of-the-box on my Dad's desktop that I built for him from generic parts. Hmm, I should probably note that I often use the disk partitioning tools during installation rather than letting the install choose its own layout... but I didn't do that on the laptop.
I have friends that eat Linux for breakfast and they do not hesitate to tell me there is no straight forward installation. Sometimes it's easier but if you want a smooth running machine you need to do a little bit of tweaking.
I would agree with that last statement, but I always have to tweak every OS to get it to where I would consider it "smooth running". For my daughter and father, who only want to do web browsing and a few simple applications, I didn't do any tweaking. They are limited by their connection speed anyway. On my windows boxes, I tweak and tune for a week or more (mostly with Mark Russinovich's tools) before I get them where I want them.
I am far more versed into the setup of Windows machines so the installation of a driver on Windows for me is a piece of cake whereas a Linux driver installed always feels like a lot of work to me. Is it lack of experience? My friends Linux buddies don't seem to think so.
Well, honestly I've spent six to eight hours a day at the command line for the last 30 years or so, using every kind of OS, so I'm not a representative sample of anything. I am vastly more productive with a cli, and I find the process of installing a windows driver to be insanely slow, tedious and repetitive. I can install a hundred drivers using a cli and only reboot once, but most of the times I've tried to install more than one driver at a time in Windows I've end up with a trashed system, so now I always reboot for each and every driver, which is super slow and boring.
It sounds like the big factor here is our relative experience. You are so accustomed to the stuff I find horrifying in a windows install that you didn't even think about it, and it never occurred to me that anyone would be bothered by having to use a command line because that's where I prefer to be (I use powershell in windows these days, and we are moving to no-GUI installs for our windows servers). We're both highly experienced in different realms, and consequently we find it aggravating to work where we are less efficient.
I mostly use linux to opt out of costly vendor upgrade cycles, not because I have any special devotion to the *nix paradigm. At work I use windows, OSX, HP-UX, Solaris... whatever they'll pay me for!