I'm a fairly prominent member of the Linux Community as a writer, contributor, and longtime evangelist for the cause and there are a few things I'd like the Community-at-Large to consider on my behalf. These are five things that I wish Linux had. Consider this as my wish list for the 2009 development calendar.
1. Built-in Paravirtualization - I want a distribution that is paravirtualized--that is to say, a distribution that comes out of the box ready to give you the virtualization you need as a hypervisor OS. I know there's projects like JeOS and ProxMox but I want a major company like Red Hat or Canonical (Ubuntu) to give me their VirtOS. It would install as a hypervisor and be ready to go virtualization. Did I mention that it needs to be free? I have a very anemic budget for such things.
2. Applications on Demand - Instead of installing all the applications I want, or think I want, up front, I'd like to have the opportunity to install applications on demand. I want the icons already there as options but when I click the icon for the first time, the application installs, with all its damn dependencies and I have my application. The other side of this coin is that applications that I never, or rarely, use--they should uninstall and await my next summons via the waiting icon. Why waste the disk space if I hardly ever use it?
3. Microsoft Office - No, I'm not selling out here and I know about OpenOffice.org but come on, think of the user base that would come from that port. Linux users are typically anti-Microsoft but how many would still use Microsoft Office? And, how many companies might convert to Linux if MS Office were available for it? I don't know, maybe it's just me.
4. A Non-Windows-Looking-Acting-Emulating Window Manager - Every Window Manager with the exception of maybe XFCE (which looks like MacOS X) looks like, and tries to emulate, Windows. Can't someone come up with a different schema? Do we have to wait for Microsoft to come up with something so that we can copy it? Come on, get creative.
5. Interaction - Windows may be "chatty" but at least people know what the hell is going on. Linux's non-chatty personality is OK for me, and maybe you, but what about newbies or wannabe converts? They are left cold. Plug in a peripheral and nothing happens--nothing visible at least. Why should I have to open a Terminal Window and mount a flash drive disk that I just stuck in my computer? Why can't Linux mount it and open it to show me the contents? And why can't there be some messages when I plug in my digital camera to my Linux computer like Windows? Yeah, I know I said I want a GUI that doesn't look or act like Windows but I need some feedback here.
Do I know that my digital camera, USB drive, or voice recorder is recognized at all? Need some dialog boxes or progress bars or confrontations at high noon--something.
As I said, Linux is fine for hackabee like me but we want regular people to want to use it too, right? My near 70 year old in-laws aren't going to use Linux--hell, they have trouble messing with Vista (no, I didn't put it on there).
Develop a new Linux for a new audience: Ma and Pa Kettle. Make it easy to use, free, and easy to convert to. Apple is offering to move all your documents over if you buy their stuff. We need someone to step up and take a serious look at making Linux an "Everyman's" operating system.
Meanwhile, I'll hack away at my CentOS 5.x system.