You sir are an idiot. You are arguing with a user with a five digit ID, telling them that computers may not be their thing, and then your replies are idiotic, you sound like a member of the tea party spouting meaningless rhetoric citing anecdotal experience and not supportable facts. "It works for me" isn't a good way to convince others to use Linux, as much as "Word locks up my computer" isn't a good way to get people to abandon Windows. Windows, which is in decline, is an odd place to draw evidential experience given that the author specifically mentions using OS X. I think what you consider "obscure requirements" are fairly standard, perhaps you need to join us in the real world where employment agencies test people on their use of keyboard short-cuts for example, but you're probably too young to have a job, unlike the person with a five digit ID who was probably using computers whilst you were sucking on your moma's titties, and that was if you were lucky, which by the sounds of it you probably weren't.
You hit the nail on the head with : "a way to launch my favorite applications", none of which run on Linux. Take an OS X user and watch them use a Windows box for five minutes and hope it doesn't end up in pieces. Now put them in front of a Linux desktop and witness the blank stare on their face as they can find absolutely nothing. I used to use Linux, but I'm one of those OS X people today. I write a lot of code, but I also take pictures and compose music. Linux is so far away from usable at this point for me and millions of others, that I just laugh when somebody asks with seriousness why I don't use Linux.
You can deny it all you want, but when I look around in my office of developers, I see a room filled with Macs, none of them are running Linux. It was true in my last job, in my current job and in my next job (I recently switched), none of these companies produce Mac software. These people would have been using Windows ten years ago. They were offered a choice that was better, and they took it. That choice wasn't Linux. Why not? Answer me that? Apple did it, they went from almost zero market share and today, their machines and OS is sitting on the desk of just about every non-microsoft developer I know today! Those developers develop for the web, which is run predominantly on Linux boxes. The Linux _desktop_ community is so riddled with petty infighting and pointless pontification and stone throwing that in its current form, it has no chance of producing a viable desktop environment. It has a proven track record of failure. The Linux community couldn't beat Microsoft who had a shit product that nobody liked! Now you face a great product that users love; good luck prying my mac from my cold dead hands, because that's about as easy as it will be to get folks like me to use Linux in anything like its current incarnation.
Not that complicated. Simply implementing the applications people need would get you in the race. Figuring out how to make them compelling only makes sense if you are already in the race. Today, for most of us, Linux is a non-starter.
It's much simpler than this. Until Linux can provide the same tools and out-of-the-box works, it will struggle with adoption. Apple clearly has the products with the best polish, but they aren't the market leader, so I think your premise is demonstrably incorrect.
If Linux has the set of tools I need to both get my job done, and make my life easier - I'll be the first to switch back. Right now, it doesn't come close, not by a mile.
Only partially true I think. There are many people buying phones because they are "Android" phones. That is _purely_ an OS choice, despite what they might actually say or believe their choice is based on. A demonstration of this is that people ask "Do you have an Android phone or an Apple phone". Good, until recently, didn't make any hardware at all, and is still not the biggest selling of phones that run Android.
You also can't get away with a single killer app. You have to have a single killer app _and_ all the other stuff that people need. Linux could have the best damn photo tool in the world, but most people will still use OS X or Win because it has MS Word, Illustrator and all the other things Linux doesn't, plus a photo app that might not be the best, but it does get the job done.
What Steve jobs did was come along and give people a killer app that worked with everything they already had - arguably the iPod. Then he worked on making everything that we already have better such that we got sucked into an Apple world and have little interest in leaving. The day that Apple makes products that aren't easier to work with that another vendor or they achieve market saturation, is the day their market share will start declining.
Unfortunately, you are in the vast vast minority. Most of us only care that we can get a days work done so we aren't fired, or fix 200 photos from a shoot without having to retune our drivers. Our security and privacy is a secondary concern at best, because having a job is more important than digital security for us. That's why we want commercial Linux, because of people in the open source community whose motivation is very very different from most of us. Commercial companies interesting in selling product will implement what the majority of its customers need, or they go out of business. Put simply, that is usable product, digital security and freedoms be damned. Is this a short-term view, is this wrong-headed thinking? Maybe it is, but, it is the status quo, and it takes very big things to happen to change the status quo. Modern America taking time to stop and think would be a pretty radical shift from the status quo.
Define "acceptable". Word 2007 in my day-to-day is not acceptable for instance. I'd be interested to see how quirky they are in this configuration too. I'd kinda believe that Photoshop might run in WINE as Adobe are notoriously bad at keeping their software abreast of the latest APIs. It's still an awful lot of faff to do it either way. You CAN do a lot of things, it's just wether it's worth the time and effort. And don't tell me how you can set up wine and photoshop in 10 minutes, for those of us who haven't done it (recently), it's probably not gonna take ten minutes.
Beyond Photoshop and Word are a whole bunch of less critical stuff too. Some of which many folks don't care about, some of which many folks do. Things like iMovie, Logic, Aperture, iTunes, Safari, IE, Lightroom, Skype (who know if this will keep working anywhere though) and others. This is outside the scope of my original point I admit, and you may have a reasonable point with WINE here. Last time I used WINE it couldn't run much of anything, at least not well.
Two simple questions:
Does it run Photoshop?
Does it run Word?
And two more for fun
Can it print?
Can it scan?
The answer to the first two will be no unless it's a) running Windows, b) running OS X. Given that Ubuntu is neither of the above, then it's a no.
Open Office isn't Word compatible. It's somewhat Word compatible. Gimp isn't Photoshop, it just isn't. As for the latter, last I checked, printing and scanning on Linux was pretty bad, scanning worst of all.
People will send you PDFs, Word Docs, Excel spreadsheets and Photoshop files, maybe even Illustrator. If you can't deal with them, then you can't do business with them. It's that simple. If you do most of it in a VM, it doesn't count. You might as well just run OS X and have your cake and eat it.
Most of the people who want to run Linux that badly, are already running Linux.
Blame your crappy tools not the laptop. Plenty of folks around here got development done on an 80x25 terminal. Why do you think it's called screen? Heck, I run a full IDE on my MacBook Air, 13 inches of supreme development awesomeness. If browsing is "barely usable", how come the vast majority of the web is at that resolution or lower (http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_resolution_higher.asp shows around 67% of web users are 1440x900 or below).
You statement is clearly so full of holes and elitist hubris, I think the score must be mostly from amusement, or maybe from other chest-thumpers.
This only applies if you're actually good at your job and like what you're doing. Most employed programmers don't fit in to this category. They didn't learn BASIC as a teen, they didn't do computing in High School. They started computer science at university and learned the cookie-cutter language of choice there, which is mostly Java or C#, the others are really just for show, think about how many college grads actually understand a damn thing about functional programming, even though all of them did some. They might pick up XML if they have to for web services, but XSLT is a stretch for most even. I still work with programmers at a fairly senior level who have no idea how to use the shell or sed or awk or grep. It's truly tragic, but it's true.
Try IntelliJ, it's far superior to Eclipse, and not in a literal sense, but a practical one. You just start it up and use it, you don't have to go through a bunch of hoops just to get git or maven working, both of which are nigh-on standard these days. It has a lot of the great features of VisualStudio, but also works with Spring, and other JVM languages like Groovy and Scala. Not only that, but has Ruby support and PHP support also.
The C# community is a pretty close-minded lot for the most part, maybe not a great place to start.
If you like python, and have C++ experience, I'd recommend Scala in a big way. It has nice type safety without it being onerous, and it has some of fluidity of python. You can write simple scripts in Scala that end up being easier than in python, but type safe and compiled.
Do you have any idea how a compiler actually works? Have you ever actually used a statically typed language? I think it's unlikely, otherwise you'd realize that he's talking straight.
Change an interface in Java, and the compiler mandates you change all the objects that implement it. You don't end up with a missing method down the hierarchy. That's just one frustration of many with dynamic languages.
The number of times the type system has caught a syntax error that occurred _because_ of a logical error in my experience is not insignificant, and therefore it could be argued, that the type system has some capability to help with logic errors also. The statement is literally and technically correct, but in a practical sense, it's wrong.
Ever heard the phrase "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should"?
I guess when I install the latest Ubuntu, it'll give me that as an option during set up? Identify all my families computers and ask if I want to use them as redundant storage nodes? I guess it's smart enough to do bandwidth detection and therefore QoS too so it doesn't clog your internet connection when it's syncing? Let me get right on purchasing that mobile app for my iPhone that syncs my data with my Linux desktop. And I guess streaming my media from the cloud to my TV is just a matter of plunking down $99, unpacking and plugging in my linux box to my TV too? I guess I can have that secure cloud for free as well? I'm gonna go online right now and pick out my system to get that rolling!
Oh wait, this is a fantasy dream I've been peddled for about a decade that still doesn't exist.
Come join us in the real world where grandma doesn't have a sysadmin for a grandson in every house, doubly one who's prepared to spend countless hours configuring and maintaining this hodgepodge you're describing.
Browser stats show Linux on the desktop is becoming irrelevant, mostly placing below "Other".
Continue to try to sell your snake oil, I think most folks have stopped buying.