First of all, this document is a comment and at the same time an addition to many articles that have recently been posted on the internet concerning the fact if Linux is ready (or not) to face the desktop and if it is ready, why it is still lacking behind. This articles formulates certain ideas. You either agree with them or you don't. However, this is of no importance. The true reason for this article is to point out some sensitive points and to start a discussion. Hopefully, this discussion will produce some useful outcome and if some people in the Linux community are willing to listen to them, I would already be very enthusiastic. Let's start, shall we?
Linux has potential, there is no denying that. The success of a distribution like Ubuntu is not something that has gone unnoticed. Out of nowhere, this distribution managed to make it to one of the most popular distros in a couple of months. The innovations are there too. Enlightenment, Luminocity and many more are wonderful technologies that improve the Linux experience like never before. Finally, the bling is finding it's way towards Linux. Furthermore, there are a lot of companies who are beginning to offer some very decent support for Linux. Even graphics drivers seem to have matured. NVidia has been out there for a long time offering support for the Linux community and the speed of their drivers under Linux are better than those of the drivers under Windows.
Yet, with all these wonderful assets, Linux does not manage to become commonplace in the average household. Mind you, I'm not talking about servers or geeks here. Nor am I talking about the family of some geek. Very often, you will find that his parents, his grandparents and a lot more of his relatives use Linux because he single-handedly installs, updates and manages them. No, I'm talking about the average human being, with little to no computer experience. Why is it that he cannot get the hang of Linux on the desktop?
Well, for some reason, the largest amount of the Linux community still believes that people actually intend to struggle their way through a hefty manual to get the thing installed and configured as they wish. Strange, especially when you see how successful an operating system like OS X is becoming, simply because this operating system is so simplistic and easy to use, even for a complete newbie, that it gives the user a very powerful feeling.
And for some reason, the entire Linux community seems to hide themselves behind the idea that one needs to "grow into" a distro. One should apply for leave for a month before being able to actually getting used to his or her distro of choice. Some may find this absurd, and it is, but this is actually advice people have given me in the past. A lot of you will also agree that if you do want to get acquainted with Linux, you should do it like this, one does need to grow into it and that's where the shoe pinches. People do not like to be told to grow into something, unless it is worth it. And Linux simply is not worth the trouble.
But then, why is it that operating systems like OS X and Windows are so much more suited for end users? One needs to look beyond his own nose to see why this actually is. If you only focus on the end-users, this is essentially a computer-illiterate, it is hard to see why Windows would be any better than Linux. They both have a start menu, they both have a taskbar, they both have a traybar and I could go on summing things up that are exactly the same for most users. If a user is unable to operate a mouse and point and click on an icon, then he won't be capable to do a single thing with a computer nowadays. If he can, then he can do all he wants, as long as the computer has already been configured and all his favourite apps are to be found on the desktop.