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Whether you like Ubuntu or not, they have made a push towards user friendliness and have reached deals to the point that it is one of the very few (and the most common among those few) non-Windows OS's you might find preinstalled on a consumer PC from a known manufacturer. This means among the average Joe community (at least among those who have managed to break away from Windows and OSX) use or at least know Ubuntu. Yeah, it's sad that many know the thing as Ubuntu and not Linux (or more properly GNU/Linux) but at least they know about it. Thus everything Ubuntu does can have a big impact on how the general public (not the geek community) sees Linux.