I just finished reading The Great Ubuntu-Girlfriend Experiment, a well-written log about the problems the author’s girlfriend had when first sitting down at Linux (Ubuntu, in particular). The author makes several suggestions for how usability could be improved to help the uninitiated get acclimated to Linux.
There’s a lot of talk about whether or not Linux is or will ever be “consumer grade.” I think it’s an interesting question, but for some very nonstandard reasons: rather than making Linux more like Windows in the hope of achieving some sort of ubiquity, I’d rather that we make users generally more computer-savvy in the hope of having competent users. I think the standard for “knows how to use a computer” has been set too low.
Thing is, a big draw for me to Linux is that it doesn’t bother me with “welcome here’s a tutorial!” screens. Please don’t take that away!