I hate to break it to you, but Ubuntu just isn't there yet. It certainly didn't make my jaw drop when I tried it last. Note that I've been running Debian 'etch' for several years now, previously upgraded from 'sarge'. I'm in the unfortunate position of having run this system for so long that I cannot remember all of the setup I performed for web server, LDAP, Samba, mail, etc etc.
- Boots near instantaneously into a usable desktop (and that doesn't include a desktop that is displayed but unusable whilst you wait for the services to load)
No, unless you have a significantly powerful system with an init.d starting asynchronously I doubt that you get a near instantaneous startup. Asynchronous startup still requires certain service dependencies to be met, file systems to be mounted, so its still not going to be that fast. Suspend may be a suitable option, as you say, although you've still got a memory image to load from disk.
"Ubuntu doesn't always need a reboot after an upgrade let alone updates. Also, ALL software on the system is included in the updates - spreadsheets, browsers, library files, OS files, - everything.
MS updaets the OS, Macs update the OS and most Apple software - Ubuntu updates ALL software."
No, updates still need to be downloaded, dependencies met, packages installed and services restarted. What about new kernel images? Don't get me wrong I still currently believe that the .deb blows most other offerings out of the water in terms of dependency checking and sophisticated pre-install post-install scripts, but a bug still potentially leaves cruft. The other problem is config files getting blated on updates, often because its a major new release version or simply because of a badly structured install. Anyway, there is still pain in this process.
- Frees you from the worry about spyware and virus issues to the point that system resources are not having to be consumed even by an embedded antivirus system in the background.
Maybe, maybe not. I have to reiterate the tired old argument that Linux-based systems have not particularly gained the interest of hackers/virus writers/etc yet. As usual, we'll see what happens when the desktop share has gained a few %.
- Abstracts the user interface in some nice way such that you literally have links to: Email/IM, Web, Games, Office, Media and that's about it. Obviously a server edition of this future computer would have additional links.
"Ubuntu's default Gnome window manager is a great clean interface."
Well..... It's alright, it's very similar to the Windows desktop concept is it not? Ok, that concept has been copied from previous desktop concepts and so on and so on. But, even on Ubuntu, you still get the deluge of menus and menu options, it's still easy to accidentally wipe out a panel and it's still frustrating if, when presented with all the configuration possibilities that Gnome presents you, you still can't configure the layout quite how you want, or find the right Panel applet to install. The future computer needs to simplify all this possibly, dare I say it, remove some of the flexibility that we have to admit that we just don't need.
- Installation of a game package should be as easy as drag and drop. Uninstall likewise, and the uninstall should remove *everything*, no cruft. Remember, you the user just want to use the computer not have to manage it as well.
"Easier than drag and drop - just select tick box next to it on list in Add/Remove programs."
Assuming of course your package repositories are set up correctly and that dependencies are met. See above. Again there is detail creeping through the abstraction that I'm sure the likes of you and me can deal with, but why should we have to?
- Manages your documents such that you can hierarchical store them how you see fit (all in one sensible location on the future computer, not in the root drive, not in my documents, etc, etc) but that they are replicated so you can get to them from anywhere in the world, and they are secured.
"Shared Documents can be accessed from the Place menu option. Depends on how you want it set up but we have a central server for docs and a folder on my desktop is connected straight to it."
And is that folder automatically cached when off-line and resynchronised? Can you log in to a computer on the other side of the world and just click on a link to access your documents as if they were local, safe in the knowledge that they're encrypted and inaccessible to anyone but you and permitted third parties? The whole reason we have great security cock-ups, CDs lost in the post, etc is because you can't at the moment accomplish the above in a couple of clicks.
- Handles as many different media formats as possible all abstracted from you the user. If media conversion is necessary it should be as simple as renaming the file whilst maintaining aspect ratio, sound quality, etc etc.
"Ubuntu uses much cleverer stuff than (ha ha) file extensions. All media formats I've tried have been handled automatically."
No. What about ones it doesn't recognise, does it seamlessly pull down a codec for the job? Can other users then use this codec? What about the cruft factor? The last time I checked even on Linux, conversion is still a slow and painful process. And conversion will still be necessary for a long time while legacy systems interact with this future computer. You didn't answer my requirement on this one.
- Doesn't crash or lock up or suddenly slow down for no explicable reason. Yes yes this is a tough one, but this is the ideal. If you can solve this you can retire immediately, somewhere hot, with a nice beach.
"Easy one. Unix based so crashing doesn't really happen."
You're starting to lose my respect now. Linux crashes. I've seen X desktop take out a system (graphics drivers most likely), I've seen many a kernel panic, 2 days ago I saw a log entry where the ext3 driver puked out a stack trace whilst writing to the journal file. I've had a Linux root filesystem destroyed because of some long term steady file system corruption (ext3 based), lesson learned by upping frequency of automatic file system checks. Yes, unfortunately, Linux crashes. Maybe this will be unavoidable in a future computer, but maybe we'll have some clever stack recovery techniques by then.
"Don't need to - Ubuntu 8.04 is here for free.
Try it - what have you got to lose - I think you'll be shocked at how good it is compared to MS products.
Of course - you might have to admit that you're behind the curve a bit - but you'll still be a relatively early adopter.
Also, I'm not as experienced with Mac's but I think most of the points I've made apply to Mac's as well."
And here's where you lost my respect completely with the smug overtones and evangelistic approach. I have a Linux and Windows box side by side (both configured a long time ago), and have done so for years. I've had a Linux box since before 2000 for what its worth. I have tried Ubuntu and found it to be a slight, marginal improvement on Debian. But not much. My post was not about current desktop systems and all their idiosyncrasies, my post is a wishlist, prompted by the fact that there is room for improvement in all the software technologies we currently have. Unfortunately, Ubuntu doesn't answer it and my jaw remains where it is.