Is Ubuntu GNU/Linux ready for the masses?
Considering user interface friendliness, graphical beauty and technical maturity, I have no doubt, Ubuntu is ready. I have seen many people using Ubuntu and love it. Speaking about non-technical users, the most notable thing they usually have in common is a person that told them about Ubuntu and helped to get it running. They were initiated by someone that is in some way close to them and this person took the first steps of informing, installing and offering some kind of support at the very beginning. I have also heard many stories of people who decided to dive in by themselves and had troubles. That usually happens when people expect it to be somewhat like Windows and get very upset when their Windows knowledge doesn't help.
Does that mean Windows is easier? Not really. The point I'm trying to make here is that nine over ten computers are Windows based and it's easier to find a person to acts as an initiator in a platform that is more popular. I have already worked on Windows, on Macs and GNU/Linux computers (in that order) and have been asked by people around me to help them with all three operating systems. The real difficulty that everybody faces when they encounter a problem is how to find the information that will get the problem fixed. All software (and hardware) have bugs and the common obstacle on GNU/Linux OSs is finding this information rather than the issue itself.
So maybe the question we should ask instead is: are the masses ready for Ubuntu? No, they're not. Despite all the advantages of GNU/Linux operating systems people still want to stick with what they find is more familiar and already established. On top of all this, switching from an operating system to another is not a trivial thing to do. It takes courage, time and needs to be motivated by a strong reason behind it. A greater adoption of Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distribution depends on informing the masses about why and how to switch.
-It does everything your need your computer to do (see: There's always a FOSS alternative).
-It is secure: no virus, and the damages a malicious software could cause are minimal. (see: Why Mac and Linux have no virus).
-It complies with standards: file format standards guarantees that you can use your files at all times (see: Everybody loves standards!).
-It is fast: modern operating systems tend to hog a lot of hardware resources, GNU/Linux tend to be less demanding.
-Last but not least, it respects your freedom! (see: What is Free Software).