I spent a good part of yesterday installing Linux (Debian, if you care) on my relatively-new home machine. What a pain in the ass. I’m sorry, folks, but anyone who says that installing/configuring Linux is no harder than installing/configuring Windows is a liar. To be fair, most of the problems I had were XFree86 rather than Linux itself, but Joe Average wouldn’t even be able to make the distinction and shouldn’t have to. At one point I had to uninstall XFree86 entirely and start all over again, then I had to lie and tell X that my video card is a GeForce 2 GTS even though it’s really a GeForce 2 Ti, and manually hack the XF86Config file to get the right video modes, etc. It’s nothing that I personally have too much trouble with, but it’s totally unacceptable from a normal consumer’s point of view. When Linux can recognize some of the world’s most common network and video cards and make sure the proper drivers get installed and loaded, on its own without extensive manual intervention, it might be ready for the consumer desktop. You’d think that at least some of the technically-minded Linux advocates who spend so much time creating new flavors of window-manager eye candy would take just a little time to bring Linux up to Microsoft levels in some of the more important user-friendliness areas. If I install a new card then the next time Windows (any flavor) boots I’ll get a nice little dialog helping me find/install/configure the appropriate drivers. The next time Linux boots I get squat. Go ahead, tell me again how the two are comparable.