So, would desktop Linux do well in a Mojave-like experiment?
After taking everything above into consideration, I believe that a desktop Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS would do well by people taking on a Mojave type of challenge under controlled circumstances. Today's desktop Linux distributions are powerful, but for newbies, more often than not theyre too "geeky" for out of the box use without a little tweaking from your friendly neighborhood Linux geek.
With a helping hand to make the right hardware choices, to learn where to select the best software from download repositories, to drill into the minds of these new users that off-the-shelf software is not really an option, I could see desktop Linux becoming a real hit with 85-90 percent of people tested in a social experiment like the Microsoft Mojave project.
Many people believe that the success of Windows is due exclusively to market share. Speaking as someone who happens to be a full time desktop Linux user and a person who has used various distributions over the years, I would point out that people being asked to try Linux for the first time will expect the following things that currently are not being delivered.
1.) Consistency. For a Linux geek, choice is king. But to the casual user, they want a consistent interface. This means desktops, folks.
2.) Hardware compatibility. Despite the fact that to some degree Linux outshines Windows by leaps and bounds with installation of hardware that is compatible, locating compatible hardware means the user must know to look to "hardware compatibility lists," which is simply a foreign concept at this point, not to mention terribly inconvenient for most people.
3.) A single marketplace to purchase compatible hardware. This is one that I suspect will be happening sooner than later, but by simply pushing the OEM and designing distros to work with peripherals would do wonders for adoption among those who would tried Linux in a Mojave-like experiment.
4.) Clarification. One of my biggest pet peeves with desktop Linux is how the distribution supporters always seem to neglect to disclose early on that installing the distro onto a Windows machine is a "best of luck to you" proposition. Sure, more often than not it will be fine. But the marketing materials for distros such as Ubuntu make it seems as if everything is going to be just fine. It is only later that the user discovers the wikis and forums illustrating fact that some hardware does not play as well with Linux as others.
5.) Include the obvious extras! Honestly, it kills me that such obvious items as sbackup are not included with distributions such as Ubuntu 8.04 by default. Considering the fact that the competing operating systems have their best foot forward in this area, the very least Ubuntu devs could do is include something so painfully obvious.
Obviously most Linux users will exclaim that it is the user's responsibility to do their homework before trying a distro. And this is definitely true when treating an operating system as a beta product or a hobby.
In the end, if the stage is set properly and the user's needs are met before show time with a public Linux tryout event, Id say that Linux is indeed ready for the desktop for most users. I believe its simply a matter now of tackling the bugs and locking down what works, bringing together stronger unification with GNOME and providing clearer lines between typical and advanced settings views with KDE.
Bundle those improvements with a unified means of hardware selection for those who wish to build their own PCs or purchase peripherals that work out of the box, and offering a Mojave-like experience with distros like Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS would go over very well. The key is to be straight about any shortcomings and demonstrate the strengths of desktop Linux for the common user.
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