Why Linux Distributions Will Never Be Mainstream
Throughout the history of software there has always been people who prefer customization over simplicity. In the more modern era of computer software the most evident example of this phenomenon is Linux distributions. A distribution of software cobbled together into one massive bundle that seems to be held together by an elastic band. Normally these operating systems are outdated and are almost always neglected by mainstream software developers. For example, Adobe Flash on Linux seems to only work if you pray to the Adobe gods before loading any flash content.
I’ll admit over the years this cobbled bundle has become more refined and in rare cases Linux distributions like Ubuntu can actually be useful. However, many issues still exist that make it impossible for a mainstream user to ever become familiar with the complexities inherit in all open source applications. This is caused simply by the unorganized method in which open source software is created. Imagine writing a letter, then giving that letter to your neighbor and allowing him or her to edit the letter along with adding their own letter to the same paper. The person who eventually reads this letter might end up being somewhat confused. Now imagine allowing thousands of people to edit the letter and add their own. By the time someone finally reads the finish product it would be total chaos.
Above is the reason Linux will never become mainstream. It’s just not seamless. In fact, its chaotic and unorganized. Which ends up making the software very clunky and hard to manage. Eventually leading to the point when even the power users might prefer something more refined and easy to use. This could be either Mac, Windows or even a more refined Linux distribution.
So what needs to be done? I believe that for Linux to ever compete with operating systems like Windows or OS X a strong non-profit committee needs to be solely responsible for making Linux software user-friendly and seamless. The group would make design decisions and ask the community along with full-time volunteers to develop them. Software design elements tied to the user interface could be voted upon by the users and the winning vote would be the project that received the most attention. Overall allowing the users to decided what comes and goes in the Linux environment.
Honestly, I highly doubt that we will see this type of collaboration from a community that has always seemed to pride themselves on being above the average computer user. Which is unfortunate, but makes for a safe assumption that the mainstream adoption of Linux will never come.