Here are propositions that I think would be able to make the average windows user more familiar with Ubuntu and have a better experience.
Wizard on first user login
The first time a user log in to their account on Ubuntu, a basic wizard should pop-up to allow the user to customize their account and install new programs from the internet according to their needs.(For users with non-administrator rights, installing software could cause a problem though, but if this idea is used maybe a workaround could be made.)
The wizard should have a Skip button, because sometimes, as we all know from using Windows, wizards are just a loss of time and can be a pain.
The wizard should present the user available themes and wallpapers and allow him to choose one. After that it should ask what kind of desktop effects should be applied and install the proprietary graphics drivers if possible before showing them the desktop. Then it should ask them for things such as:
Do you own an mp3 player(And is yes ask which one and install an mtp/iPod/iriver/generic mp3 management program if that program is easier to use and more productive than Rythmbox. For example if the user has an MTP device, the wizard would enable the MTP plug-in in Rythmbox)
It could ask is the user is interested in video creation or often uses MSN(thus installing aMSN, a much better MSN client than) or Skype(Skype for Linux). It could also ask about their web cam and see if its drivers can be installed.
When creating a new user account that doesn't have admin privileges, the admin who created the account could allow this wizard to install new software from this wizard, but disable any other.
A program to compete with iTunes
Why are so many people asking about iTunes for Linux? Because their is no other yes no other program that manages music and videos for an mp3 player as well as iTunes. A program with these features should exist:
-Complete syncing of a library and converting the songs in another format if the mp3 player doesn't support the source format.What I mean b complete syncing is that the player searches for all the tracks on the mp3 that you don't have in your library then proposes to import them to our library or delete them from the mp3. It should also support tag update, meaning that if you update a tag in the library with the mp3 disconnected, then next time the mp3 is connected, the file(s ) that have been update get updated too, instead of copying a second version of the file on the player.
-Directory Watch: Simple, just watching a directory for media that is in it.
-Fancy Cover presentation, not a coverflow copy but something like that, since that is one gimmick that most windows users that have tried ubuntu missed. A nice GUI always looks better.
-Video Management: The player should be able to support any kind of video and offer a quicj*k single click conversion to the players supported video format, and if it is for iPod format, allow it to be a Music video with tags.
-Musicbrainz/Picard support, like Amarok, but at a larger scale meaning that whenever a file is imported, it is analysed and the correct tags are applied with the album cover. This feature should be able to be disabled and only used whenever the user request so.
-Photo support and tagging photos and transferring toward mp3/mp4. Should be able to support Picasa, Digikam and F-Spot library.
-- A decent speed, have you ever tried iTunes? Isn't it so slow you'd use it more often if it was faster?
-And ll the expected features of a multimedia manager.
Applications in General
Aren't you ever disappointed that most Linux programs are just incomplete, or they never reach their 1.0 version or their features are much less than what you can get on Windows?
Example: F-Spot, Nautilus
Is there a decent video editing application out there? Not really though KDEnlive seems to be ok.
The Gimp? Much too complicated for an average user, even for a Photshop user like me(And Gimpshop doesn't really help...).
Talking of Nautilus, it needs a big update Windows explorer beats it hands down, you can't just select pictures and ask to flip them one way or another or change their angle. Sharing files with Windows isn't very easy for basic users who have just changed from Windows to Ubuntu specially if they are scared of command line.
Ability to install debs locally without admin password.
Like that a default user can still install basic software without risking to damage the computer without the hassle of asking the admin to allow him to.
Also add an option for the administrator to install that program system wide later, if he feel like it.
Convert Windows restricted formats into one supported by Linux applications
The user has installed Ubuntu, but unfortunately can't access his old emails that where on Outlook.
Allow Evolution or Thunderbird etc upon first start to locate these files for the users and convert them to a readable format.
Most other application's don't need that, for example Gimp and PSD's.
WINE integrated support
I saw that Wine was going to be included in Hardy with GUI implementation well here's what I'm expecting:
-Nautilus is able to show the exe's icons and not the mimetype exe default icon
-Frequent update of WINE on ubuntu repo's, because I'm not sure it'll be safe to install the debs from WINEhq because they might not support Ubuntu's implementation and break most of it.
Some Backup Feature
Timevault is too complicated and sbackup is too simple.
Make one integrated to Ubuntu that support external hard-drives and that detects when they are disconnected. Something to rival with TimeMachine.
Better web cam, scanner and wi-fi hardware support
Well you know how much of a pain it will be for the user to install their drivers manually.
Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) Release schedule check here