The biggest problem with linux is that most of the community doesn't admit the faults regarding stability, usability, compatibility and performance. I agree with some points raised by Letian.
Stability: Linux as a headless server is really really rock solid. I've never witnessed it fail in my office. We have to shut it down very rarely in case of some hardware changes or power failuer. But desktop? Yes, stable too if you ignore the outermost laster - X, WMs, DEs, zillion configuration utilities for subcore components (sound, network, graphics, wifi, bla..bla..). If you consider the stuff in the outermost layer, i'm sorry to say it's not that stable, you never know when you've to fix a thing that should be broken in the first place. Of course, the other OSes were not that stable a couple of years ago, but not anymore. At least on the GUI level you'll hardly ever experience any ugly surprise. And Yes individual distro maintainers can't do much about it, the whole ecosystem is not that cohesive. Though every bit and piece is excellent in their own respects, but the integration of them is bad.
Usability: I found a typical linux desktop (without Unity and Gnome Shell) more usable than the other OSes. I love the multiple workspaces, a great command line, easy availability of software and a zillion options to tinker and tweak. There're a few issues in the mobile computers regarding to power usage and graphics/audio hardware, but I can live with the problem.
Compatibility: Not that much compatibility issues any more. For my home and office use I can easily share/work files across the other OSes. Of course, there are some issues with MS Office vs. LibreOffice and Photoshop vs. GIMP, but they are no showstopper.
Performance: Any Linux distribution will revolve circles around those all those other OSes in terms of raw performance. But if you consider 3D, Graphics and some esoteric hardware, sadly, linux distribution are lagging far behind. Take for example the recent ATI and NVdia chips and their performance in Linux, even the proprietary drivers are not free from trouble, and please forget the performance of opensource drivers. Software-wise some applications are not that good in performance. But that's in some professional fields.
In short, linux distributions all, have championed in the core departments of computing, but all still lack, more or less, in that outermost layer, which is very problematic for an average user. The community should treat their respective linux distribution as a tool. Not a cult or religion. The present environment is just a cult. I am happy with that, I don't care if it doesn't work for a minority. But I'm sure that minority opinion will never let linux rise above a certain level of adoption.
Finally, the good news is that future seems bright courtesy to some user-centric efforts such as Mint, Mepis and Maegia.
Last edited by manmath
on Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
still looking for a better *nix?