You'd have to be a great liar to deny that Ubuntu is an extremely popular Linux distribution. So popular, in fact, that people new to Ubuntu tend to use it's name interchangeably with Linux. Is this a problem? No.
Though I've said it before, I want to re-iterate what I said: you cannot recommend a newbie "Linux".
First of all, when people recommend other people "to give Linux a try", they mean "give a Linux distribution a try".
This can have two results:
- A user is put off by the overwhelming amount of new terminology and does not know which distribution to try.
- This person is determinate and finds a Linux distribution.
The first potential outcome is, obviously, a waste of everyone's time. A small percentage of the people, however, belongs to the latter group. There is a substantial risk, though, that this user will pick a Linux distribution that is not right for him/her, and moves back to whatever inferior operating system he was using before.
So, we are left with the following situation:
A small part of the world's population is recommended to give "Linux" a try.
In turn, a small part of that group really does intend to give it a try.
Yet again, a negligible part of those persons have what it takes to install whatever distribution they end up with.
Out of those, there are a select few that end up with a distribution they like.
And you were wondering why Linux is unpopular?
So how can this be solved? Simple: recommend a person a particular distribution that fits with him. Often, this will turn out to be Ubuntu, as Ubuntu seems to be "the generic Linux distro". So what?
Of course, to really convince someone of the benefits of these alternative operating systems, you will probably want to point out the greatest advantage: it being open source, bringing freedom and control your way, often free of charge. In that case, however, the best strategy is probably to demonstrate your "target" how high the quality of open source software can be: have them use Firefox, OpenOffice, the usual suspects.
Some day, we will bring open source to the masses. When that day comes, we will just need to find something new that sets us apart from other people...