I've not been using Ubuntu for quite a year yet but I managed to convince my older brother to give it a whirl. Doesn't it only figure that he ended up trying out Kubuntu and KDE 4.0? I don't know that I'll ever hear the end of this, even though it wasn't my idea to use Kubuntu.
As to what the next version of *buntu should bring, I'd be more than happy with some updated hardware drivers and a few fixes for the things that 8.04 "unfixed". I was having a lot of fun with Fiesty until the sound went hinky. After some extremely frustrating attempts at fixing the Fiesty sound issues, I used it as an excuse to "upgrade" to Hardy. It was a jump from the frying pan into the fire.
I have downloaded ISOs for 8.10 U-, K- and X- buntu, but only played with the X on an older, rather anemic machine. Even then, I hadn't mustered the courage to do an install and worked only from the disc.
I look forward to your evaluation of 8.10 because I know you are not under the gun and won't do a half-fast job just to fill space.