- Installer: Most distros use a text-based installer. That's enough to scare away most users today, including my dad, a computer user since '86. A good graphical installer from a bootable CD is essential to success. I've been watching Debian's development of a win32 loader, and I think it's long overdue.
- Out of Box Usability: Nobody can argue that Linux is more powerful and customizable than Windows. But that's also somewhat of a downfall. It requires much more customization to make it polished after an install. Joe Average can't, and plain won't, edit scripts and config files to make his OS nice, he'll go buy an OS that's already nice so he can sit down and watch YouTube videos all day after an install. This requires a lot more preseeding and config in the installer, but makes a nicer product.
- Clean Menu System: Menus are much easier to navigate for the average person in Windows than Linux. I've yet to find a "Recently Used Apps" feature in a Linux distro, a feature most people use constantly.
- Hotplug Networking: In most Linux distros you have to restart or use an ifup/ifdown to get online after plugging in the ethernet cord or turning on wireless. This is necessary.
- Program Installation: This is one area that has gotten a lot better, in my opinion, thanks to Click-N-Run and Canonical. But people want to download a program, click on it, and have it install. My grandma can't build an install file and use the terminal to install programs, and God forbid she try to compile a program from source.
- Easy to Use, Centralized Help and Information: This is also getting better, but so many forums are full of mistyped or just plain wrong information to fix problems that it can be frustrating for anyone, no matter how experienced they are with Linux. There needs to be a good single point of information, or at least better documentation by distro teams.
Let us know what you want in an OS, and where the strengths and weaknesses of different distros are. Email: eonsproject (at) gmail.com