I started using Linux in 1995. During the same time Microsoft issued its new operating system: Windows 95.
The Linux usability was very different and the X11 GUI was totaly different from the one we are used to see today.
Linux was intented to be used only a server (a Unix alternative) but someone, someday, decided to use it as a desktop.
Many things changed from that day and many projects born around that idea. KDE, Gnome are only two examples… but now?
It seems that this effort lost its power, like when you throw a ball: it runs for a time and the it stops. The same thing happen to Linux: we saw an initial effort to make the operating system more usable for all and now the energy run out. We are making distros always easier to install but we are forgetting to add some basic functions that a modern operating system must have. While other operating systems are moving on the multimedia way (for example), Linux seems to be not interested in adding these functions.
A good effort has been done by Apple, I think that MacOS X is what Linux should be: a stable and easy-to-use operating system with all what a user need. Probably Apple should help the OpenSource world just a little bit more than what it’s actually doing or probably we should decide that Linux is a good operating system for the a server and we should leave space to the other OS into the desktop environmet.