I had a few technical gripes with Ubuntu, but lets ignore the technical failings, and just assume that all critiques are purely social, because well, you want them to be. But remember, these people are nerds not writers or soft scientists, so the fair amount of projection about their motives can stay put. Some real reasons I frown on Ubuntu:
1. build quality of 14.xx was utter crap. It crashed more than windows.
2. Unity had some privacy issues with sending user search data to paying partners automaticly(amazon).
3. Canonical doesn't like to give back upstream. Before you say anything, there are many companies that do wonderful things for the kernel, GNU, and related bits and pieces to make the magic happen. The two biggest contributors being Intel and Red Hat, but linux has a lot of very large corporate heavy hitters world wide contributing great things. After not giving back, the CEO and founder Mark Shuttleworth talks a lot of shit about the people who are actually doing most of the real work. MIR/Wayland is the latest fiasco. instead of contributing to wayland, they decided to make their own graphics server, which ultimately will only be used by them. The supposed cause of wayland not being advanced enough turned out to be bogus, as RH will likely ship fedora with wayland default long before Canonical does a MIR default Ubuntu. Oh yeah. Speaking of Red Hat, not only do they make a rock solid distro, they contribute back, and oh, they still manage to turn a profit, something Canonical seems unable to do.
4. previous versions of Unity where dog slow, but they've seemed to have gotten better.
For the non-technical, I recommend Mint, which was forked from Ubuntu, and contains most of the good n00b friendly stuff from ubuntu. It goes down easy and it "Just works". The best part is I can "OEM Install" it, so I can put it as the default OS on computers I fix up and give away, and not have to worry about pirated copies of windows, or the non-techies getting all confuzzled.