| I work on an informal basis as a Windows consultant for people in their homes, and let me tell you that you can make it as simple as you want and someone will still find it baffling. The main reason people have trouble with computers – even ones with a decent GUI – is that they simply do not grasp the metaphor being used. If they don’t get the metaphor, they don’t understand the directory structure and simple things like finding files become impossible. Downloading and installing software is simply beyond these people.
Working with people like this reminds me that terms like “simple”, “easy” and “routine” are relative terms, not absolutes. I found compiling my own kernel to be terrifying the first time I did it, even though I can do it now in my sleep, for example. When I tell my Windows buddies that I ‘redid’ my OS kernel the night before, they look at me like I am a god or something.
Will a decent GUI help? Sure, and so will combining dpkg and apt into a tool that works with local and remote directories. Will either eliminate update problems for most users? Nope. Almost every Windows user I know leaves their system exactly the same way it was shipped for a reason – they are scared to touch it in case they screw it up. Even Window’s pretty GUI can’t eliminate fear.