I must admit, Ubuntu has reconfigured my view towards the Linux desktop distro. Yes, its not something new, but from version 8.1 onwards since last year, the refinement is just slightly short of a usable desktop for common users.
Most of the stuffs are similar to windows in that you have hardware detection app running in the background with an icon in the system tray. The wifi detector works its best in trying to minimise "geeky" configurations and in my test notebook DELL inspiron 1520, it works straight out without the need for me to configure it manually and tweaking the config files.
With the common host of free apps like openoffice and email clients (Evolution - the email client is still lacking in refinement compared to Outlook Express but Thunderbird isn't), heck, for most Janes and Johns who just want to have email, internet surfing and office documents, this would feel right at home. The system works faster and you even feel "safer" without having any anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-adware, malicious removal tools , Windows Defender and all those hooking apps that layers itself one on top of the other.
Nine months ago, when i tried OpenSuse on my other notebook , it was hell, i had to configure and download specific wifi patch just to make it work. If a common user would have to choose between OpenSuse and Windows OS, even Win 98 would be a better option (speaking strictly in terms of usability for users who want things to just work and not do any command lines, scavaging forums and pulling hairs)
Ubuntu, rightly one of the most popular distro now, deserves an applause from the Linux community. Instead of sticking to the unspoken rule of "we can't copy microsoft, if you can't configure some simple scripts you are lame", it went straight on to make Linux a much friendlier distro for desktop. By providing an option without the need to repartition the HD and installing it side by side with Windows XP/Vista, it became an attractive option for users to try it.
The introduction of Version 8.1 was nothing short of perfect timing too. Vista, being an infamous slow OS - thanks to the "dev team" that insists on working on the new approach and forsake previous compatibility.
The fact is, Vista is slow. There is just something wrong with its design.
Personally i do not use any anti-virus, instead i even ran defrag religiously and PerfectDisk periodically to make sure i have optimum speed for my HD files. Still it was slow, i made sure my services are configured correctly and disabled all that i can lay my hands on and it is still slow. The frighthening thing was the fact that my Vista ran 3 times faster than any other Vista around my office on similar hardware, yet i find the response unacceptable.
Ubuntu on the other hand, ran seemingly faster even when it was installed using the side by side installation. Thanks to Vista, I believe tons of users flock to try Linux distro and many who happened to try Ubuntu would be positively surprised. Just this 2 weeks, i notice that there are 2 more collegues who installed Ubuntu and was excited to show it around.
However, there are still many hurdles for Ubuntu to overcome before it can become a replacement for Windows. For e.g, try connecting it to a projector, and good luck.
Try getting Compiz to work, chances are that you won't get it working correctly in the first 30 minutes and oh, pls update your Nvidia drivers else be prepared to do some file editing.
To date, there are around 200 Linux distros, some says 450. This is actually good news to Microsoft. As long as these jokers cannot unite, Windows will continue to dominate. Every aspiring Linux techie with enough willpower will want to produce his/her own Distro with some lousy excuse for yet another distro.
I would bet that if the community would drop all the similar distros and say just concentrate on 3 :
1. CentOS or RedHat for Server
2. Ubuntu for Desktop / Workstation
3. Knoppix for small storage / misc applications
Or better :
Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Mini.
Then all the big hardware manufacturers and the gaming industry would ensure that they will provide support for this alternative OS. Ms.Window would have to taste its own medicine in pitting against FREE OS. Yup, taste its own medicine. The number of companies that MS brought down just by including the said product/feature FREE are calling out for judgement day.
The only other area that MS still have not managed to kill are the Anti-Virus companies. Free Anti-virus seems to be playing along MS agenda all the time and yet failed to be executed. Hmm, before this happens, i should seriously fold up my sleeves and start working on this project i have in mind for some time now, the Corporate-Anti-Malware-End-Of-Anti-Virus project. A solution that will guarantee a corporate environment to be clean of viruses using a filter driver and a concept that involves a model pc, central sandbox and whitelisting. No more antivirus scanning and signature subscriptions!