Regarding linux usability, as long as a new user stays within the distro install, then it is easy street. Go beyond the boundary and out into the wild and things become a bit "interesting".
For instance, new user with an Ubuntu 11.10 install gets directed to and downloads an RPM package for something that he needs.
It has a geeky tar.gz extension, no problem though, the standard install extracts the RPM fairly intuitively. But what to do with the RPM? OK, off to google to find out.
Google turns up a howtogeek.com instruction on installing RPM on ubuntu.
Helpfully, the page explains about synaptic and apt-get and implies that RPM is out of date deprecated format.
So, what to do? It explains you need to convert your RPM to another format. Not great, but not a big deal, we'll give it a go:
sudo apt-get install alien dpkg-dev debhelper build-essential
??? WTF ??? is the justifiable response.
Just to make the linux capable of converting the package?
Then, without any explanation about where on the file system things need to be, the next instruction is:
sudo alien packagename.rpm
sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb
Is presented to the Ubuntu user, with no explanation of the relationship between debian and unbuntu to explain the .deb extension.
After all this, the article signs off with:
The package should now be installed, providing it’s compatible with your system.
!!! ??? The linux world has got a long way to go before it understands usability, when it is up against double clicking a self-installing archive. If these kids are going to hooked on, then the documentation needs to drop down into the real world.