Here's what I had to do to get up and running (at a functioning desktop environment) in ElementaryOS (one of the "nicest" Linux distros)
- Create a "live USB" of elementary OS
- Resize my main windows partition to make room for the elementaryOS partition
- Boot into the live USB (by rebooting Windows in a special way to get it to use the USB instead of going directly into Windows)
- Run the elementaryOS installer (actually pretty nice, except the part where the "third party" components won't install unless I disable SecureBoot, which despite criticism by non-windows vendors has actual security benefits that make it a lot harder to pwn machines left lying around)
- Go into my laptop's UEFI firmware menu (by rebooting Windows in a special way) and add the elementaryOS bootloader key to the list of approved secure keys, and enable the F12 boot menu so I can actually boot into it
- Frantically mash F12 to get the boot device menu
- Once finally booted into elementaryOS, realize my wifi chip is not supported by the current stable release
- Repeat almost all of the above with Beta 2 of elementaryOS Loki
- Finally be at a functioning desktop environment with wifi
Here's what I had to do get the same in windows:
- Take my laptop out of the box
- Turn it on
And I haven't even tried running something in elementaryOS which needed to use the nvidia card instead of the intel one.
Not that I'm saying windows is perfect -- both graphics drivers are crashing on moderately difficult rendering work (intel on m64py, and nvidia on Elder Scrolls: Online) and the entire thing is sluggish as all hell for some unknown reason, possibly to do with being on a HDD (I've been booting windows on SSDs for several years now, maybe I just got used to it??). But it's so much easier to set up and requires so much less maintenance.
This has been a great rant but so what. What can we do?
I don't know. I really don't. There is so much infrastructure built up to streamline Windows usage and such a scattered effort to make Linux more usable, it seems insurmountable. I'm curious about the thoughts of people here. Does anyone have any ideas about how to make it better? Is Linux even salvageable? Could OEMs ever be convinced to ship a non-windows OS?