It may have been true years ago that Debian GNU/Linux took some time and trouble to install. That’s not true today. A basic installation is pretty trivial. “Assume the default” works in most cases where user-input is required. There is an even better option for newbies. If the newbie doesn’t mind the whole hard drive being taken over by Debian GNU/Linux (you don’t want to preserver the current OS/data) then there is a trivial method, FAI (Fully Automated installation). FAI is meant to be used by system administrators who want a scripted means of installing on random PCs. By providing reasonable defaults, such a system can be put on a CD. The newbie boots from the CD and chooses the installation and they are off. One reboot later they are running GNU/Linux from the hard drive. What could be easier? It took me 8 minutes in a virtual machine for a minimal installation. It’s 5 minutes more for a full GUI with XFCE4. The root password is “fai” and there will be a user, “demo” also with password “fai”. Enjoy.
Here’s how to do it and here’s where to find the CD or USB drive image. These links point to the squeeze/stable branch of Debian GNU/Linux so there could be a few less bugs than you expect with Ubuntu.
You cannot get much easier and more flexible an installation of an OS than that except the OEM does it for you. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it works for you and not some corporation.