Re: @ Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
"Coincidentally, I updated to Mint 20.3 not half an hour ago. To do that I had to click - I think - three buttons, and didn't even have to stop what I was doing until the obligatory reboot. Apparently, Linux is too hard for those used to Windows."
Linux Mint point upgrades (at least for me) have always been just about that easy. Oh, sure, there was invariably some goofing around to find the right set of incantations that led to an older Dell/Broadcom wi-fi adapter working again, but that was about it.
I wish I could say that a major version upgrade was the same. It's not. I have an old Dell Latitude 2120 netbook that was for some time my daily driver* on Linux Mint 18 something-or-another. A few months ago, I thought it'd be the prudent thing to do to bring it current, even though on every front except being current on security patches, it worked fine.
I'm going from memory when I recount this tale of woe, so it may be that I've missed a step or not gotten something completely right. Instead of the nice graphical mintupdate client, there's this awful console based script you're supposed to run. Okay, fine. There's also a whole laundry list of other things to do...backing out any newer packages you've installed from other repositories, removing those repositories, configuring and using Timeshift if your version is new enough to have it, and probably other things besides.
I wouldn't mind the console based approach one bit if the script's user experience wasn't awful. Here again, you do what it wants, in the way it wants you to do it, or else. As I remember, it insisted that I do a dry run and Timeshift on releases where that feature existed. Okay, but maybe I'd rather have sailed a little closer to the wind. Maybe I don't have the disk space for Timeshift or I don't want to use it for that purpose. That should be my choice. Periodically throughout the upgrade process, it'll ask you to bump your privileges with a sudo prompt. If you're not watching for that, and it's understandable why you might not be, it stalls.
That poor netbook made it through relatively well. Another one (a much less powerful Latitude 2100) did not. At some point during that upgrade, and in spite of have done everything it wanted for safety's sake, some part of the process just died and left the system hanging there. It was with some trepidation that I finally rebooted it, only to find that it was no longer capable of booting graphically. Fortunately, the network stack still came up and I was able to walk it through what was left of the upgrade from the command line. I'd hate to think where a non-technical user would be if this happened to them.
I don't even want to talk about printing on Linux. Most of the time I've had anything to do with it, even on well supported devices (i.e. those that understand PCL and/or Postscript), it has been an irritating process at best. Then again, I hate printers and printing on any OS, and wouldn't mind it at all if every printer in the world just magically fell out of an open window one day.
I've yet to see any desktop Linux react gracefully to the system's running out of (or just low) on disk space. Windows and MacOS both give you a warning that you'd better stop and do something about this problem. Popular distros for desktop use just start acting screwy, and maybe you can open a terminal to run df, if you know to do that. A lot of people don't. I don't think it unreasonable for the computer to clearly warn that something bad is about to happen that will make it unstable or worse. (As you might guess, Timeshift has caused this problem for me.)
Try hooking up a touchscreen monitor to a system where any non-touch enabled displays exist. Tell me what happens. (For me, the system behaved as though it assumed all the monitors were touch capable, and this threw the calibration of the one touch-capable display way off. Evidently, nobody ever tested for what happens when you do that! Yes, I tried to recalibrate and it put some of the targets on non-touch displays.)
I like Linux Mint. I think it's probably one of the best distros going for those just starting out and then some. I'm still unconvinced for the reasons above (and so many more that we won't get into today) that Linux in general is a good fit for everyone who uses a computer, and especially those who don't understand computers reasonably well or aren't prepared to dive in and troubleshoot, possibly becoming quite involved in doing so, when it's all gone wrong.
I feel as though the author of this article is well suited by Linux and even Unix before it. I'm glad it suits them more or less down to the ground. (I'm very sincere here: no sarcasm whatsoever.) To discount other people's feelings and experiences that maybe Linux isn't everything perfect and then some is shortsighted at best. There's still a lot to be done in the name of usability and discoverability. (Yes, I know it's open source and that means I could do it...which is fine, except for the part where I'm not a programmer because I've never enjoyed computer programming no matter how many times I've forced myself to do so. I've certainly done it when I had to, however.)
* Lord have mercy, although it should be said that at the time, an Atom N550 and 2GB of RAM wasn't a bad existence. The small screen size and limited resolution (1024x600) were more of a problem than anything else.