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I can tell you that what made people I know switch over wasn't the XP look, it was the lack thereof. They had heard me talking of Linux and how it's stable, but I don't think that had much of an impact, even security didn't matter that much to them.
Once they saw my fluxbox and KDE desktops, they wanted copies of my install CDs. I don't think XP lookalikes will help much :P
I'm talking about the average joe user, not the person who looks to customize thier desktops. Many people are afraid of the unfamiliar, and if given both a comfortable looking OS and a Free OS... then I think we may have many more users.
I agree that many people are enticed by the customized look of linux, but they are not who I would consider Average Joe Users. Just my 2
Actually, Average Joe User's going to be more disoriented by something that looks like an XP but doesn't quack like an XP.
The flip side of the Rule of Least Surprise is to avoid making things superficially similar but really a little bit different. This is extremely treacherous because the seeming familiarity raises false expectations. It's often better to make things distinctly different than to make them almost the same.
-- Henry Spencer
At least initially. *After* they know things are different and have adjusted to that, I can see such an interface becoming *more* attractive. But I don't see it helping anyone make any transition in the first place.
but, if you look at the screeshots, to the average joe this will quack like XP. If you sat someone down at this desktop who was a casual user and had only simple tasks to perform (web, email,word processing) they would be none the wiser. Go to the control panel for this, go to the start menu for this, open the display properties for this.... just like in windows xp. It is only when they were upgrading thier hardware or adding programs to it that they would really notice the difference.
Well, I figured the confusion would arise when they stuck a CD in and tried to access anything on it or got a '/dev/dsp: device busy' when they wanted to play some tunes or got a 'permission denied' when they tried to read a file or on and on...