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The Latest Distro Trying For Commercial Success Uses Arch & Wayland
Will it offer backwards compatibility for a reasonable time (say 7 years)? Or it will jeopardise my investments in proprietary software and my investments in hardware with proprietary drivers every time a new stable version/LTS comes out?
While I personally find Arch overall more user friendly in a maintenance perspective than most distros, I'd say it's harder than average as a whole. Regardless, these people have seriously unrealistic goals who have been using linux too long to not understand the stupidity of the average user.
That may be true, but to be fair, they made a lot of moves that people weren't happy with. Canonical acted like they were the authority over the linux community and they did things that hardware vendors find difficult to work with. Their end products are, from what I hear, pretty good for newcomers (who at least give it a shot). But, people hate change - if Canonical really wants to attract new users, they're either going to have to have an experience that closely resembles Windows or they're going to have to run ANY Windows program they want, both of which are incredibly stupid things but that's how you attract the herd. But, the problem is if something LOOKS like windows but doesn't run Windows programs, that changes people's expectations and therefore causes disappointment. This is why Windows RT failed - it looked like Windows, it was called Windows, but it couldn't run x86 programs. So in this perspective, an unfamiliar interface is the best thing to do. It's just a matter of how you prioritize familiarity.
You do not NEED to expect anything from something that ISN'T Windows. Canonical and Ubuntu are newcomers when it comes to the mainstream. People have expectations with regards to Windows because it has the Microsoft branding to it, Microsoft's own dominance will be its own downfall as when they NEED to change (Windows 8 and RT). People will react negatively, and it's all a matter of how many people will tolerate the amount of BS that happens with Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't change, people will switch over to iPads/Ubuntu/whatever and MS will die. Microsoft changes (Windows 8), people will hate them, BUT the mainstream will eventually have to tolerate Windows because it's just that, Windows, no matter how much it changes. However, looking at Windows RT, that was supposed to be the iPad killer and nobody bought it because everybody had the Windows expectation due to it having "Microsoft" branded all over it, they expected to do everything that they were familiar with regarding Windows on x86. I'm not worried about familiarity with the UI, I'm more concerned about the familiarity with the architectures. x86 is killing Microsoft's dominance. It's all about marketing, and Microsoft royally screwed up with Windows RT (almost 1 billion USD lost) but they really didn't have a choice as the ARM architecture is getting better every day and x86's days are numbered. Ubuntu has the interface in the bag, but they had BETTER get their phones released next month, it's only a matter of time before people begin tolerating Windows again.
As for newcomers, it's time for us Linux enthusiasts to promote Ubuntu that's aiming for the mainstream audience as much as we can. "It's a brand new experience, their Unity interface is amazingly good. I can't get enough of it."