First of all, a little disclaimer.
1) I am not trying to start a flamewar. Merely pointing out what I didn't like in a system being pushed so hard in my face (yes Slashdot, I am talking about you)
2) I am NOT trying to start a flamewar. No, really. I may be overly critical, ironic, maybe a bit offending to some people, heck, I know I WILL offend someone, but that's how I am. Not a troll. Not as green as a troll at least.
3) I am programmer by trade who works with both Windows and Mac OS a lot and has to use console in his daily work more than GUI. That means I am really OK with the console, not afraid of it and sometimes even prefer it to GUI.
4) While I prefer Windows XP to all OSes I tried a lot of other OSes out there to form an opinion of what a perfect OS should be (and that were all flavors of Win starting from 3.11, all flavors of Mac OS X starting from 10.1 and a few flavors of Linux).
5) This is my opinion, biased, subjective, but mine. If you can't cope with somebody expressing a different opinion from your own - please deal with it in a civil manner.
So let's start...
Truth be told I had to try Linux recently because my few-years-old XP install is going haywire (you know like it becomes after a few years of extensive use) and all movies I tried to watch started to lag like hell. So, after reading another portion of "Linux is superior to everything" on Slashdot (really, guys, at lest try to be less biased) I decided to install latest version of Kubuntu (I had 6.06 installed prior to that just to try it out but I haven't used it a lot).
Seeing that 7.04 was supposed to come with a nifty app to install the drivers I was quite please because the horror of trying to get my NVidia to work on 6.06 was still fresh. First thing I noticed when booted to LiveCD is that my external USB HDD wasn't visible. Oh well, I though, I'll browse the web without listening to music while waiting it to install. So I fired up the installation app, sniped my town from the world map (really guys add the zoom feature from Ubuntu's installer) to select the timezone and moved on with the installation. Meanwhile I tried looking for this driver install app because I remember seeing it on one of Ubuntu screenshots (not Kubuntu one though). Haven't found it. Oh well, maybe it'll become available after I boot into the real system.
So after trying to break my CD drive rack once more (still don't understand why the system requires me to eject the CD when I reboot\shutdown. I have a door which closes the part where my CD drive is so it will simply won't open if the door is closed damaging the fragile plastic gears used in the tray mechanism.) I rebooted into the real system. First thing - my USB HDD still wasn't there. Nowhere to be found and mounter manually. Second, driver install app wasn't there too. No external HDD basically meant a useless system to me because I store all my media files and documents there. So goobye Kubuntu, hello Ubuntu.
Boot to LiveCD, find my USB HDD already discovered, find driver install app, install the system, reboot. Sigh, HDD is still there. Install drivers, download 100+ updates including new kernel, reboot.
Try playing a movie. Alert appears saying codecs are not installed. OK, let's install some codecs then. And here's the part I don't like - the scary "Restricted app" message. While I don't really care about it I know 100% that any average user will be. And that will be an end for the media playback for him if some geek won't come and set it up for him.
Next stop - install Amarok, it being quite good media player. After installing it and building my collection I tried playing some MP3 files knowing what to expect - a pop-up asking to install MP3 codec because it's "restricted'. Boo, scary. Instead Amarok hanged... Restart, select a track, click play, boom, hang again. This time I actually see the pop-up but without any text or buttons. After a few seconds I am told that KNotify crashed.
Oh well, no music for now, let's actually watch a movie. And now here comes another bad thing - movies that played fine on Win on Linux play with huge amount of artifacts and, sometimes, don't play at all looking corrupted. Reboot to Win - plays OK, reboot to Linux - artifacts and corruption.
The rest of the concerns won't come up in a long, unreadable lame story-like way but more in a way of a nicely organized, but still unreadable, list:
1) Kubuntu doesn't offer the same functionality only in KDE like Ubuntu does. And I mean core functionality like USB HDD support
2) An average user WILL be scared by "restricted" stuff no matter what. "Restricted" means dangerous. And dangerous means bad.
3) There is no centralized place to set up a system to your liking. In Mac OS there's System Preferences, in Win there's Control Panel, in Ubuntu there are dozen of little apps scattered through whole menu structure. NOT intuitive, NOT easy to use, NOT good.
4) You absolutely canNOT set your system up without using the console. And console is what an average user is afraid of. Installed drivers ? Cool. But desktop resolution is still 1024x768. Now here comes two options: one of the involve editing xorg.conf manually and another launching nvidia-settings with sudo. Obviously both ways are NOT acceptable to an average user.
5) The system itself is tuned up for terminals of the 80s. If I am using a modern graphical card and LCD display I will have to cope up with extreme ugliness. Heck, even Win2k looked better than modern GNOME and KDE environments. Remember what made Vista and Mac OS successful ? Beautiful GUI, not scary word like "secure".
6) While I already told it I think it deserves it's own number - use of console. It is completely NOT acceptable to the average user. If at least ONCE Joe Smith must use the console to get some basic (and basic involve installing drivers and configuring the system) thing = BAD, very BAD.
7) Some settings are sometimes illogically placed, hard to find and navigate to.
8) Scary way to install apps. While it really beats anything on Win (because Win doesn't have anything like that) for an experienced user, an average Joe will be shocked when he sees Synaptics screen. "Add\Remove" is a definite step forward but still it is not enough. For example I would personally like to see some codec packs (like CCCP or K-Lite or Vista Codec Pack on Win) being installable from there. Basically a metapackage but what an easy and simple way to add all needed codecs to enjoy the music and video.
9) OS structure is scary. While personally I don't care about all /etc/ /var/ and the rest it can scare the living poo out of an average Joe while he's just trying to find his D: drive (especially if he never bothered to give any labels to his partitions because hdc1 is NOT intuitive (not that I can thing of a better way to represent an unnamed partition)). I suggest to do what Mac OS does - hide all scary folders. I understand it's not possible to put them all in one neat and tidy System folder but at least hide them. Live only the ones user will use on daily basis (like home folder and media folder), the rest are just confusing.
While that's really not the whole list of my concerns those presented here are the ones I think the end user will benefit from. And if anything - read the disclaimer again :)