I live in Southern California and have been using Ubuntu since 8.04. I'm more of a GUI type of guy but will get my hands dirty in terminal, but most of that is thru Google and monkey see - monkey do. I prefer Unity over the Gnome Shell and I believe Ubuntu has made huge positive jumps with each release. Right now I use Ubuntu mostly and then Win7, and that's just to run the updates. I have another laptop that explore other OS's with, now its Xubuntu 13.04 (just about time for 13.10) and I love it just as much!
PS, if you really want to learn Ubuntu it is thru sites like this.
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