The next item to note is the Windows Store. Like the Ubuntu Software Center, you can download both free and paid applications to be installed onto your desktop. Unfortunately for Ubuntu, the Windows Store looks far more polished than the dated Ubuntu Software Center. That said, I am not really that pleased about the "tile everything" approach Windows 10 takes with its newly installed software.
In the end, Microsoft wins hands down with the Windows Store, whereas Ubuntu wins with its overall desktop experience – no tiles, less "color splash" distracting the user. As for office suite offerings, it's a bit of a tie. I prefer the LibreOffice suite and its locally installed applications. However, if Microsoft ever wises up and begins offering its "full" office suite to users, vs. it's stripped down version, this point could also go to Microsoft.
I'll be honest. From a visual point of view, I'm not a fan of the new Windows layout. While it's far better than previous releases, it's still not for me. Unfortunately, though, my opinion alone isn't going to sway anyone from avoiding this release.
The first issue is that it's going to be a free upgrade for a lot of Windows users. This means the barrier to entry and upgrade is largely removed. Second, it seems this time Microsoft has really buckled down on listening to what their users want. Many of the new features have allegedly been due to Windows feedback.
As things stand now, I see the following motivators being Ubuntu's best shot at wooing away folks from Windows going forward.
Privacy – Even if there are concerns about Unity Lenses and data collection, this is easily remedied by using an alternative desktop environment. Windows, by contrast, has a horrid track record in this department.
Security – Despite recent improvements with Windows security, it's still the biggest desktop target on the web with regard to attacks. This won't be changing any time soon. Linux by contrast, has a fantastic desktop security track record.
Hardware support – This is always disputed, no matter how many times I mention it. But the fact is, when you bother to include older peripherals and hardware, Linux still outshines Windows all day long in terms of hardware support. Try running anything from the XP era on your Windows 10 desktop, let me know how good the driver support is. Under Ubuntu, it just works. Window's only advantage is having an edge with smoother graphics drivers.
Does this mean that Ubuntu Linux and other distros are doomed? Nope, especially when you jump out of the Apple/Microsoft echo chamber that is the United States. Linux desktop adoption is exploding all over the world. So while Microsoft continues their hold on the market here in the States, the rest of the world is already moving on.
To further illustrate my point: Refer back to my article on the Secret to Desktop Linux Adoption? As anticipated, the naysayers had ample reasons why techs would not only never participate, but to do so would translate into lost revenue. Besides being completely misinformed, I fear the greater point was missed as well. The article was quite clear in stating Windows AND Linux, not just Linux. To not offer a better-suited solution to someone struggling with Windows is irresponsible at best. It's unfortunate more people don't realize this.
Folks, depending on malware removal as a revenue source is a dated, faltering business model. As Windows 10 rolls out, I think we're going to start seeing greater evidence of this. It's already putting countless local repair shops out of business. The mailing lists I subscribe to are quite clear on this. Mobile, tablets and OS X are changing the industry.
Therefore once you realize your "malware removal" customers are already on their way out, wouldn't it make sense to adapt? Techs offering Ubuntu support as a service is not only profitable (I know of three companies doing well with it), this approach is the ONLY thing that would get the United States to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of desktop Linux adoption.
Ubuntu and other distros are ready for the desktop now. I have people running these environments all day, everyday. As a community, we need to get on the page with this now or accept that Windows has already won. I know where I stand, based on years of personal experience with clients and converts. Where do you stand? Are you part of the solution? Perhaps instead, you hold onto the farce that "Linux is hard" because you're unwilling to become the bridge of support others need to make the switch? What say you? Hit the Comments section to sound off.