I found a link to this site in a forum thread about “Why Linux is better than Windows”, and after reading it decided to pass it on. There are a few things in the article that I don’t necessarily agree with, but overall it’s accurate.
For one, in his analogy of the Lego Car, he stopped short of a good point. The analogy is basically that the new person buys a box of Lego to build a car, because everyone said it was the best car. And the person is frustrated with the fact that they have to build the car, and that it falls apart. The author ends the analogy with the line “Old: Then why did you buy Lego?” In reality it should have had one more line after that, which is “New: Because EVERYONE says it’s the best.”
The point is this. People will say “Linux is better than Windows.”, but they will not tell you that you have to put some effort into using it. They’ll say that it’s more secure, but overlook the fact that it’s secure because you have to do things a certain way (sudo, or authentication, or su -) or they don’t work right.
Another point that the author makes is that people who try Linux and switch back to Windows tend to say “You need to make it more like WIndows.” or “You need to make it easier to use.” He counters with it’s not designed for everyone to use, it’s designed for the people who created it to use. Or more accurately, The developers don’t care if it’s on YOUR desktop, as long as it works on THEIR desktop.
My counter to that is this: There needs to be a bare minimum standard for Linux (especially now days). Since the majority of the people using computers perform a few actions (surf the web, check their email, write letters or other documents, look at pictures, and listen to music), then at a minimum Linux (more specifically the shells like Gnome or KDE) should make that happen out of the box.
A thought is this: Make a tiered-installation. Have a place where the user can tell you more or less what they’ll be using the computer for, and customize their installation to meet those requirements. Make sure to point out to the user that they can customize the operating system further after it’s finished. This is just an attempt to get them up and running out-of-the-box.
They could even make it a two page tier. The first page is the one where they give a general use, and the second will include a list of applications (with their Windows counterparts listed), so the user can get those installed out-of-the-box also.
Yes, it will make the installation a little longer. Yes, it will require a little more coding and coordinating on the part of the developers. But, YES it will make Linux more ready for an out-of-box experience by the average (non-techie) users.
In short, Linux may or may not be better than Windows. But, it can definitely be made with the same capabilities, features, and productivity as Windows. And that, my friends, is more important.
Have a great day:)