My Netbook is Ubuntu-only, and has been for the two years that I've had it. Boots up fast, never had a problem. Office applications are great, and free -- I use OpenOffice (Libre Office is available, and another great, free alternative). I use Firefox for the web and Thunderbird for email -- great, no problems. I use Calibre to manage ebooks. Skype is proprietary, but works great. I use Audacity to edit audio files, VLC as my overall media player (there are lots), etc.
My desktop computer runs Windows XP. I keep Windows because there are two programs I use that don't really have Linux alternatives. My friends and family know that I "like music" so I get occasional Itunes cards -- Itunes doesn't have a Linux version. Also, as good as Audacity is, I have a much more powerful program that's Windows-only. (I use Avast! anti-virus, MalwareBytes Pro anti-malware, Secunia to find outdated programs that pose a security risk, and ZoneAlarm free firewall -- and a great deal of caution!)
No problem exchanging Microsoft Word and Excel files with OpenOffice. No problem exchanging Calibre libraries. No problem exchanging audio, video or photo files. No problem exchanging data on flash drives or managing my MP3 players (but some MP3 players require special programs that might not have Linux counterparts), etc.
No special anti-virus or anti-malware programs needed for Ubuntu -- viruses and malware are possible
for Linux, but much more difficult to pull off, and not enough of a user base to really justify it.
If I didn't need these two programs I'd drop Windows like the time bomb it is.
I use Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. You might also look into Linux Mint and other distros -- they're free to try, and then free to stick with!
Edited by Capn Easy, 16 May 2012 - 08:37 PM.