I should probably have posted this as an addition to the Windows/Ubuntu thread, but I wanted to make sure the right people had a chance to read it. Untill my retirement I was an I.T. project manager for many years, having worked through programming and systems. For several years I was even MD of a small software company. Lots of people are going to react to this post by saying that I just do not understand the technical issues Actually, I will heartily agree with them, but it is still true that I do understand better than 99.9% of the ordinary computer users out there, and if Canonical want to get to them they have to get to me first.
In the Windows/Ubuntu debate there are many dedicated, positive, Ubuntu suporters, who tell us that Ubuntu is as good or better than Windows in many ways. I would love to agree with them, but after trying for several years now I still can't. True, Ubuntu is getting nearer to being usable as a working environment, but as yet it hasn't got there, and not all of this is due to 3rd party software being sub standard as is often suggested. I'm working on a Ubuntu machine right now, but quite frankly this is because I would dearly love both Microsoft and Apple to be taught not to be so overbearing and greedy. The fact is that whenever I try to do real work in Ubuntu I run up against something that is either downright impossible or requires a work around. At these times I am almost invariably busy, so I move to the next desk and complete the task in Windows.
Ubuntu does have something that Windows doesn't even come close to offering, and that is this forum and the support network that goes with it. Thanks for that, but even here there are problems. Very few of the fervent Ubuntu support group, who are so dedicated and helpfull, are able to understand that the huge majority of ordinary computer users are neither able, nor interested in being able, to work at the command line, terminal or dot prompt, whatever you want to call it. We are GUI users. If help cannot come at that level then most of us (not me actually, but that's just because I dislike Microsoft so much) will just shuffle over to the next desk.
Let me provide one example on a problem which just should never have existed.
I am lucky enough to own several computers, running Windows Ubuntu and Android. All my files are held on a NAS, which is fine when I'm using the file manager in Ubuntu, but if I want to access the NAS through a piece of 3rd party software it may not be possible. Initially it was not possible ever, but I got help from this forum and managed to work in the terminal to mount the NAS at startup. Now some, but not all, 3rd party software can see my files. Unfortunately one of the programmes which can't is Softmaker, which I am trialing as an alternative to Libre Office (which I find unsuitable for the job). One solution to this would be to change the file associations so I could select the file in the file manager and have the application I want open automatically, but how is this done. I would expect it to be available as a GUI in settings, but if it is I can't find it. No doubt there is a solution in the terminal.
So I go back to Windows.
This brings up a couple of issues.
Firstly, when the majority of networks around the world are powered by Unix/Linux, why does Ubuntu ship with a network setup issue which requires terminal activity to resolve. It can't be because it has to be this way, because if it was then the file manager would have the same problem. So the network is mounted in an obscure place; so what!
Secondly, why does Ubuntu ship with any setup issues which require terminal activity. I would certainly not want to take the terminal away from those who love it, but for the rest of us ordinary users, who Canonical are going to have to reach if they want Ubuntu to really take off. there have to be serious GUI alternatives.
I think I read in a press release somewhere that Canonical have targeted that 25% of computers sold in 2014 will run Ubuntu. If I have got that right then I doubt that even they think that is realistic. But Ubuntu is better than Windows in so many ways; it's faster for one, and so much less needy in terms of resources that it may finally be possible to have a tablet which is a real computer. In the long term it will be so much more stable too (if it is not already so), and security is so much better, both actually and theoretically. And, possibly most important of all, there is the support group; the others have nothing like this. I reiterate, though, that if Canonical want to reach all those potential customers than they first have to make it so I can sit down and work and not continually have to find a way round something.