graeme_p - 7:12 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)
Thanks for a great thread.
I think for now the Average user has a real choice, but for the foreseeable future I think that choice will be Windows.
I think Linux is actually a better operating system for the average user (at least in home/small office environments).
The people I have switched to Linux are not geeks:
1) My wife
2) My father
3) My daughter's pre-school principal
4) An accountant who used to work for me
A friend of mine who, also no IT geek, is using Linux at home thanks to his brother.
My six year old daughter has only ever used Linux.
I have successfully used Linux in a small office of finance people (and this was a few years back when things were less smooth).
I think geeks tend to overestimate the difficulties average users have with Linux: their requirements are much lower than ours, so they run into fewer problems. How many of the issues you had would affect them?
On the other hand there are things on Windows that the average user struggles with. How many know how to keep their anti-virus up to date. Not many, judging by the number of warnings screens I see when friend's Windows PCs start up. Even more of people download and install apps containing malware (a rarity with Linux) - and installing from a repo is easier as well as safer.
The solution for such users would be a commercial distribution where the proprietary software is all pre-installed and configured
Even then, a non-geek should get a geek to install for them, or buy a PC with Linux pre-installed.
For a windows user the KDE desktop version would be a much easier migration.
A good reason not to use Ubuntu, where KDE does not get resources. Mandriva or SuSe are better (although Ubuntu has one advantage, the Debian repos are the biggest so even obscure apps are in there).