What do you think is the main reason which prevents Linux being adopted as a widespread desktop OS?
Microsoft? No. The linux distributions themselves. At present there are more than 200 Linux distributions in the market according to Distrowatch (Link on the left). So what are all these people trying to achieve? Mostly -ease of installation.
When a newbie decides to try Linux and starts to obtain a CD, the first hurdle that he faces is … chosing the right distribution. If you ask this on a forum, every ‘expert user’ or a ‘geek’ will comeup with his own opinions on which is best, usually resulting in a flame-war. Linux loses some of its aspiring users at this point itself.
And then if a newbie goes beyond the point of selecting a distribution and finally installs it on his PC, he will invariably get stuck with a problem or two within the first two days. Then he goes to the forums again. And there comes this geek who advises him/her to switch to another distribution where configuring certain things are very easy.
And then our newbie friend installs the ‘other’ distribution and finds another problem, not to mention that something that worked perfectly in the previous distro is not working as expected in the new one. He goes back to the forum and alas, Linux has lost most of the newbies at this point.
Redhat to an extent tried to introduce a uniform look and feel across desktop environments, but even before they could see the results, they are out of the desktop business. The redhat CEO ‘recommends’ using Windows for the desktop ! Sun is trying to do the same with their Java desktop. We have to wait and watch for the results.
And then there is KDE vs GNOME, OpenOffice vs KOffice etc., etc., – endless debates going on in the linux world.
(Have you noticed that whenever a newbie posts his frustration of installing/configuring something in Linux, all the geeks come at you shouting “YOU DONT KNOW HOW TO DO IT. YOU ARE AN A** H***. DONT BLAME LINUX. On the other hand, if you post a similar problem on configuring something on Windows, they will all start bashing MS, their attitude, their marketing etc., etc., and immediately ask you to migrate to Linux !)
BTW, Mandrake is my favorite distribution. It is better than Redhat, SuSE, Gentoo etc., Start with Mandrake if you are a newbie. :-).