The Gnome interface was very functional, even if to be quite blunt the color scheme was awful and resembled a washed out sepia photograph. However, nearly everything I needed was there - Open Office and Evolution for desktop office productivity and email and Firefox for the web. With a little manual tweaking, I could even get Ubuntu to work with my wireless network.
What finished it for me back then, however, was that I couldn't find a driver for my Canon laser printer. In fact, I did find a driver hack but there was no obvious simple way to download it. I'm sure that if I had persisted, I would have easily solved the problem.
However, at the time I felt that something as fundamental as being able to easily download a driver from the net or detecting and logging in to a new wireless network without having to enter IP addresses manually were mandatory requirements for me.
So, even though I had an Ubuntu screen sitting on my desk next to my Windows screen running continually for about two months without requiring a single reboot, for reasons best known to my subconscious, I eventually opted to stick with my clunky, unstable Windows machine. That machine gradually deteriorated and eventually fell apart and its replacement, a new Windows XP SP2 box powered by a Core 2 Duo processor with 2GB of RAM, requires a restart practically every other day.
Apparently Ubuntu has come a long way in the past year and I'm ready to give it another try. According to the Ubuntu site, version 6.10 sports many improvements and is faster and has less bugs than its predecessors. I may also give Kubuntu a try to compare the KDE and Gnome GUIs. As far as the printer driver is concerned, well I need a new printer and scanner anyway.
I have some free time over Easter so maybe the holidays will be the beginning of a new and enduring relationship, as well as the finalization of a long overdue divorce.