As a sysadmin, I'd like to see true, perfectly convenient binary upgrades, something like ArchLinux's combination of abs and pacman--pacman is Deb's apt-get install and abs are like Gentoo's ebuilds--over simplification, but basically, the entire system can be upgraded with binaries, or, if you really need to customize a program, you can build it from source.
As a user, I'd like to see something that Just Worked (TM). Oliver and the rest of the DesktopBSD people, as well as the PCBSD folks, are all working towards that, but--I would not want to see it become like Ubuntu, where I watched 600 plus packages being installed, but not my beloved scim-anthy. (This has changed, it's now available.) So, I downloaded the source and got
make not found.
I would love for some of these things to work--as it is, I use linux-opera for most things and firefox for java and non-flash plugins. To get linux-opera to work with non-flash plugins or get firefox working with flash is just too much effort for my rather minimal needs. It would be nice flash 9 worked with sound--in Arch Linux, it's a simple matter of, without doing extra configuration, typing pacman -S alsa-oss or whatever it is.
For an end user, googling shouldn't be that necessary, if it were planning to seriously get attention as a Desktop O/S. The user, and I include myself, would like to install it, have X work, be able to plug in their scanner, iPod, digital camera, web cam and the rest and have it work. Of course, one can argue that this isn't the case with Windows either, but the manufacturers aren't going to provide drivers unless the market justifies it.
Emulation--as Drj said, vmware doesn't seem interested, and I suspect that for people who need more sophisticated use of WIndows, qemu isn't going to make it. It works for me, but my needs are minimal--I need to use a vpn client to get me into my network, I need to be able to open apps to walk my users through it, that sort of thing. Wine simply doesn't seem capable--the two apps that I really need don't work with Wine, or even with crossover office in Linux.
Yet to me, saying, Ok, let's concentrate on the Power to Serve, is more important than the rest. (That's speaking for my own personal needs, not from an advocacy standpoint.) If getting everything else to Just Work (TM) meant a bloated system where I have remove 300 packages after installation, I'll suffer with the lack of a desktop.
Again, paraphrasing Drj, it's relatively easy for all of us in this thread to make our favorite BSD an easy to use, in most cases, desktop. Yet, I need those few MS apps, so I have qemu (as vmware has stopped working on CURRENT) with, not only a WIndows installation, but an ArchLInux one as well. From what I understand, not just from these forums, the VirtualBox program is better and smoother than qemu, but at present, at least, they don't plan to adapt it to FreeBSD. PCBSD has the best chance of changing that, as it has that large user base and now has some commercial support.
So, it's a tough thing--most of the arguments here are quite valid and true. For getting the manufacturers' support, it has to become a larger market. Linux is doing it and getting there. As has been said, there are far more Linux developers.
I think multimedia and peripherals are two of the biggest problems for the average user. Drj is a doctor, and his needs from PDFs and other graphics programs are far beyond that of the average person. In general, the average person can get by with the pdf readers involved, and with a little bit of work--not much, just a little--could probably use the office suites as well. However, they aren't going to want to google to get their camera to work, when with MS or Mac, they can just plug it in, pop in a CD and have it run.
If it were my choice, though, I would rather that they concentrate on smooth binary upgrades of the system and all ports--however, I'm speaking in part as hobbyist--in other words, I don't mind googling to get it working as a desktop--and partly as an admin who doesn't want to spend a few hours doing buildworld--because test machines are the ones that no one else wants to use, so buildworlds can take a long time on a test box. My workstations are far faster, but they aren't adequate testboxes for production, because I have all my Desktop type stuff on them.
<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid