this. i was there at the time ubuntu was kicked off by shuttleworth. jonobacon, the crew. fun times back then. hyper integration into 'just works' and push to adoption markets, both real and imagined. achieved real results, actual delivery of promises, driven by oldfags and the blood of new comers.
but that was not all fine and dandy. redhat was in fierce free-mode competition, suse was getting bought. sunmicro was going all bananas. sco was getting funded to kill as much as possible with their court case idiocy. and behind it all, a grand infestation was founded straight out of the same debian base: systemd and pottering. pottering was a godless heathen white knight, redhat loved that failed apprentice newblood and used him like none other. and of course, he and his ilk rapidly sank debian behind the scene, which only surfaced years later. systemd single handedly turned off all the oldfags and their knowledge, and skull-kike-fucked every dev alive. fucking insanity. and sure enough, time ticked away, and now all the lies and stupid have/are killing everything.
but the legacy/momentum of those times is still here. and ubuntu got the visibility. shuttleworth is still pushing dollars into ubuntu, and with redhat infested, debian hyperinfested and fractured, and systemd ever expanding, shuttleworth has no real opposition (other than the endless internal idiots on staff, sending commits, and clogging up devcons with drama puke). in the land of the blind, the one eye'ed man, etc.
ubuntu does still push the integration and just works angles the hardest, and drift of users into server space aids in ubuntu getting server time. some times the wrong tool for the job, but the newbiangods don't know any better. or don't care. it does 'just work', and few outside the giants need true server-client, grid, parallel these days.
ubuntu is a containment distro now. shuttleworth knows it. his crew know it too. all the trees and co-sanguine incests of debian/systemd are the cannon fodder buffer zones. there are (some) new hope(s).
where some hope, for ubuntu, used to lie, was with the steambox and jetison from wintel. it still has some momentum, and again, integration and kike-ads are key.