Heh, yeah, it's been released for a while, so I'm not sure where the information for this headline came...
To be fair though, I would say this headline is correct. I am on Ubuntu 8.04 (I can never wait, even though I was telling myself to wait for a month before updating), and it does feel very beta-ish in many places. PulseAudio isn't ready (I'm actually lucky... only capture seems to be a bit temperamental. For many people, PulseAudio is hell.) b43 wireless drivers do work, but much slower than ndiswrapper and the signal level is wrong. Can't fault Ubuntu or the b43 team for that, but the fact is that wireless doesn't work as well as it should (most end users don't care why things do not work; only that they do not work.) In fact, I do realize that I am lucky. I've heard that some people can't even boot up from the Live CD because of b43. My clock is missing the year (For example, right now, I see Tue May 6, 2:40:57 AM). A few more bugs here and there, but hey, I paid nothing so I'm not complaining. The install process has gotten better. For Gutsy, I'd boot up from the CD and delete a file that checks for formatted partitions, then install. This way, I could reinstall Gutsy without backing up (reckless, I know.) Now, Hardy will just wipe out directories like /var and so on, while preserving /home. (I realize that it is half-sad that I give credit to Ubuntu for this... this should have been done a decade ago.)
Under that theory, Windows XP and Vista were also "beta" versions when released!
The current Ubuntu release is the main release, not the beta which came before; of course, it will continue to be updater just as previous versions were. Personally, I'll wait a month or two until things settle down before upgrading from Gutsy.
@Mondoman: I think so, too. I use almost exclusively Linux, but I'm not blind either. I think the magnitude of usability issues in Ubuntu are greater than in Windows XP or Vista, or Mac OS X. However, it's mainly small quirks here and there. For example, here's another one I just noticed: When you run a package manager, it tells you a package manager is working. Nice. However, the default action when you click that icon is to open Update Manager. Huh? What if the package manager I'm running is Synaptic? Synaptic should pop up to the front. What about Add/Remove? Then that should pop up rather than update manager.
I don't doubt the fact that XP and Vista were beta-quality on launch day; however, I don't think as many people faced showstopping bugs. Of course, I have no numbers to back this up, but that's the feeling I get from browsing the Ubuntu forums on launch day, with b43 and PulseAudio issues.
Btw, I hope you can tell I'm not a Windows troll in disguise. I don't think a Windows troll would be able to post specific quirks like that ;p
P.S. the Deluge icon in the Notification Area is still 1 pixel lower than the other icons...