GNU+Linux it's here it's now and it's usable
First a disclaimer: I'm a developer of a GNU+Linux Distribution(and no it's non of the common ones) but I have to deal with normal(those who are used to windows) users of GNU+Linux
Well as Linux is ONLY the kernel of the entire OS it really shouldn't have any pretty interfaces etc...
Now a GNU+Linux system that one actually has things to use as a desktop.
I tried a few things for my mom(50+, can actually use a computer) over the years for her use.
It ranged from:
GNOME, KDE, XFCE4, Enlightenment to more simple solutions IceWM, Fluxbox etc...
I gave her such setups and let her use them. There was always something missing. I.e. not enough
glue to make it all seamless etc...
So I recently tried the same using ubuntu/kubuntu/xubuntu..
Suffice it to say she is now a very happy user of xubuntu and is more than capable of doing
99% of the operations herself(hell she even updates the system herself).
I asked her every so often if she has any problems or such. And most often the response is
no and at times(which actually suprises me) is this actually works better than on Windows.
There might be a I would like an app that does this or that question so I install that for her
since I tend to know more apps then her.
So I belive GNU+Linux on the desktop is there. What needs to be done is only to improve on it.
I seriously like the way it asks when a certain codec or such is needed to play a file on how to install it.
To this whole notion of common releases etc...
It would make projects stagnate since they would only release like once a year in a staggered release fashion and bugs would increase. The only way to reduce the bug count is as ESR(and no I don't like the guy much) says Release early, release often...
To the make vendors provide GNU+Linux binaries for their apps(i.e. Adobe&co)...
They are free to do so.. infact they could just work with WINE to provide nice easy wrappers around their tools(that is what wino basically is, it's a windows toolkit) or have a common core then just provide Free Software wrappers around that core to compile a launcher for it.(similar to what the nvidia guys do with the drivers they have a common core and wrappers around it to fit into the kernel). This would solve most incompatibilities almost at once.
To the we want a windows type installer thing...
Well there are a few projects in that regard but why bother... Most binary distros nowdays have it setup so that if you double-click the .rpm/.deb/.whatever it will install it automagicaly. Why bother with paths the filesystem is hiearchical... if you need more space distros should provide tools to migrate a certain hiearchy from one disk to the other and then mount it for you automagicaly.
To the should follow common standards for various things:
a) directory locations
it's called FHS - http://www.pathname.com/fhs/
it specifies most directories on a GNU+Linux system and explanations what they should
be used for
b) device naming
it's been standard for a long time... only with udev people have started to botch with it
all my devices are always the same on all machines and that's the standard names they have
c) window managers fents etc... etc...
There is http://www.freedesktop.org - they are working on common standards for the desktop
and have for quite a while. This includes fonts and even RAW file handling from digital cameras.
d) backward compatibility
actually quite a few projects try to work that out but there are inevitable changes with it
even microsoft has that... Just think of all the msvb4,5,6 etc... runtimes one needed.
But as on windows it's the same on GNU+Linux just install the older library along the new one
and you're done.
So as you can see there are things that are being worked on or specifically that have existed for years. I still use what I use out of my own personal choice(that would be fvwm, a handfull of terminal apps and a graphical browser that actually behaves consistently(kazehakase) unlike other browsers that get changed by JS/plugins/etc...).
I'm fed up with all the crap people post... If you are incapable of using a computer don't use it.
If you want Joe Average the technophobe to use a computer give him something like a minimal 3 app computer like the EeePC.
General computing for the average user is dead... They need specialised computers that do only what they want with the ability to upgrade when needed... But of course this isn't in the interest of vendors that then can't flog pricey kit onto computer iliterates then sell them classes, support, software etc...