I agree with you to an extent. For the most part your average mainstream Linux distro is
really easy to use, performs well, and just works. What Linux distros are missing are the
same old things that people have been bitching about for a while... and that isn't going to
change anytime soon:
1) Legal video/audio codecs OR as an alternative the mainstreaming of patent unencumbered
video/audio codecs AND mainstream sites that provide a buttload of content in the patent
2) A major increase in FOSS desktop applications and a maturing of many of the existing apps:
CAD, Educational titles for children, a consumer friendly GUI desktop database, etc, etc. OR
as an alternative porting of commercial applications from those other OSes including such
things that add access to online services that are currently Windows/Mac only... like iTunes
for iTMS (the number one retailer of music). Linux has to work with more/all of the online
services that people are using.
3) Games - either FOSS and/or commercial - Of course the availability of FOSS ATI and/or
nVidia drivers would help that and some of that is in the works.
4) More OEMs selling Linux preloaded in retail and online outlets and advertising to show that
they are serious
While all of those things are in the works on way or another... it will be a while before (or
if) a perfect storm type scenario were to happen that would make a consumer Linux desktop
profitable. In the mean time... those who want Linux on the desktop and are very happy with
it in its current condition... have little barriers... so it isn't the end of the world if Red
Hat has decided to continue supporting desktop development (via RHEL for the business desktop
and Fedora for the geek desktop) but has decided it doesn't want to throw away money in the
consumer desktop market.
People keep pointing to Ubuntu as the current/next big thing... but in my mind, Red Hat has
been there and done that already... like 7 years ago... and having tens of millions of
non-paying desktop users was more of a drag on their business model... and is currently a drag
on Ubuntu's business model. Until Ubuntu... err... sorry... make that Canonical... until
Canonical can actually make a profit and do so over several quarters... newsflash, Desktop
Linux has not arrived via Ubuntu.