Linux OSes Do Not Need Friendly Installers

As the title states, I do not believe linux operating systems need user friendly installers and I shall endeavour to explain why. Anyone who has installed Windows knows that the installation process isn’t exactly a friendly one. You have to hunt down an ISO file, find a way to make a bootable USB, find the boot menu key to boot it, then you get a pretty unfriendly installer. This is the exact same as the process for installing a linux operating system. The difference in the case of Windows is that the overwhelming majority of users never experience it. They buy a laptop, they turn it on, they do the first run wizard and they have a working desktop.

This is what linux operating systems need if they want to gain a wider user base. Regular computer users need to be able to go into stores like Argos or Currys/PC World (Walmart and Best Buy in the US) or to a site like Amazon, and buy a laptop from a mainstream hardware OEM where a linux OS is installed and a user friendly first run wizard is provided.

We linux nerds like to talk about how linux can expand its marketshare on desktop but almost every solution we come up with comes from thinking like a linux nerd. We should stop thinking like linux nerds and start thinking like normal computer users.

Normal computer users do not install operating systems, nor do they want to. They use the operating system that their device ships with be that Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS or Chrome OS. They want to buy a laptop and be up and working in the least amount of time possible, and linux without mainstream OEM partnerships is not conducive to being up and working in less than an hour.

I do keep banging this drum but it needs repeating often. Linux OSes can have the nicest installers in the world but the very fact it needs to be installed at all will put the vast majority of users off so you are beat before you even start.