First of all, a warning for sensible linux fans ( i like linux a lot but i'm no fan and can see good things in other OSes) : I will say that windows has good points ! And i think we shoud learn from it.
I like mint because it's the most eyecandy and easiest to use linux distro for me and a lot of people. BUT
read some threads with normal users speaking : viewtopic.php?f=47&t=31954&start=40
A lot of people don't care about btrfs, gnome3 and so. And they don't want to use the command line. They come from windows or OSX wher u can have a stalbe system (at least, xp SP2 wihtout any updates is and run all latest cutting edge programs without compromising it's own stability)
So our request and we are a lot believe me, some of wich left the linux community, some never look anymore until a big wave, some looks sometime hopping things go better someday.
So our request : is it possible to have a stable system (like RHEL 6.2) and applications that are as easy to install as on windows : DL one file directly from their programmer's official site, execute it's installer, run it from the desktop icon ?
The moment solutions and why they are not as good as windows's one :
- Just get a stable linux distro like RHEL or an old mint or debian ... and add a repo/ppa with latest buid for programs of your choice
-> problems : security
: you have to trust the ppa/repo maintener, ok if it's the team wich makes the program (like official ppa for mypaint), but often that team just release sources (like gimp) and someone else nobody knoes and nobody check release the package. It's ok for me on windows because their are really goods free virus scanner like Kaspersky and i install and run all in user mode. packages/ppa's can modify your system because you grant them the rights to do so by entering your root/admin password. Stability
: it may modify some librairies that other important funtions use and then break your system. compatibility
: packager have to make not only one package like an exe on windows, they have to make package for all possible distros, or get ome people out. Not everybody likes the same distro as you, ppa's are nice, but what about people from rpm world, people with source realeases ?
- Get a rolling release like fedora's rawhide or debian testing... :
-> problem : No stability, impossible to work with it because you may lost all your work if your systems/filesystem breaks.
- Get a distro like mint, fedora... :
-> problem : from experience, i've seen that it's not really stable, it's a compromise and it's meant to be so. But you get the bad from both previous worlds : unsure that you will not loose everything that you didn't backuped ( and as in previous thread, is even your backup okay because of that stability issue ? ) and you don't have the last release of your programms. If you use ppa's/repos, you get the same problem as mentionned above.
Most people don't use linux for linux, for them linux is just an OS to work or play or whatever. So their point are those final programms on wich nothing else relies and where stability is not a problem, u just save regulary and restart in 10 sec. Most programms like libroffice, FF, blender, chromium and so restore their previous state anyway and now pretty good. But you can't take the risk of having an unstable filesystem or copy functions or a desktop manager that hangs every day or behave strange, stop his jobs (like file copy...) without notice, take your apps shortcut making them unavailable, etc...
Having one version of a library is clean, nice, i know why distro makers and programmers like that. But having 3 or 4, even 10 programms we really use as users (Internet browser, 2 or 3 creation tools, chat client, some games) use their own local version of those librairies would be possible. and as far as i know, it make them only use user's rights not root's rights, the 50 MB those librairies needs, nobody cares that much on today's Harddrives.
So : to be clear : make a folder in home dir for programmes and one for librairies,
make a standard/cross UNIX call for librairies to the OS that returns the path to it ( gimp 2.7.x call for GTK x.x.x, the systems returns the path to that librairy version, inkscape 0.48.x needs GTK x.y.y, same call, another path)
OR make every programmes comes with all needed librairies, dependencies and so in it's own directory (really, with 10 such programmes 50 MB pro librairies, you get maximal 500 MB wasted space because of duplication, most of the time less because those 10 progs don't use the same librairies, so it's not duplicated)
-> Stability and cutting edge functions : both progs works, updating one doesn't brake the other or the system
-> you can run a 8 year old OS you like and you know is stable for what is important to you.
-> if only one person make such an installer, all the UNIX community benefit from it, we don't need as mint user to look for a fedora packager or the other way round.
-> no need of command line install of repo's, good for normal users
-> because it only does user space things (given ur system rights managment is secure) the new program you run can't compromise the whole system.
I hope you get to here
it's a lot.
Maybe you don't want those users that already use FF, chromium, gimp, libreoffice, blender but stick on windows, but at least tell them so that they don't waste their time. We can afford to give 90€ to MS every 3 years.
Sorry for my bad english