Cees explains why he gave up on Linux on the desktop:
As I wrote, I switched from Linux on the desktop (after almost 10 years!) back to Windows XP. I just was fed up with having to dig around for device drivers and support software for my camera, my scanner, my game pad, my iPod, my phone, my printer, etcetera. That I couldn’t get a 16 bit workflow done under Linux was the breaker. I left Windows XP on my laptop, installed shareware on it, and never looked back.
One of the regulars on the IRC channel made the same point this morning - it's just too much work. If you use Windows or Mac, things "just work" when you plug them in. Sure, you can often get them to work on Linux (eventually) - but in the meantime, how much time have you spent?
That kind of fiddling just isn't interesting for most people - because most people aren't entertained by trawling Google results for device driver information. Sure, Windows has flaws - more than I can count. But it's a lot closer to being a consumer friendly device than Linux is, or ever will be. The dirty secret is that it takes money to write drivers for the huge variety of peripherals on the market - and while Apple and MS have the resources to do that, the open source community just doesn't. Free development just doesn't support that kind of thing, unless it happens to bite a developer with the right knowledge. That's a thin reed to base your hopes on, and it's the one that Linux on the desktop advocates have been counting on.
On the server? Sure, I much prefer Linux. Like cees, I can see it being useful in a locked down corporate environment as well (although, to be honest, I'd go Mac there first). In the general consumer space? Not happening.