GNOME, and GNU/Linux, will forever be a niche desktop/OS until it is substantially better than Windows and OSX. Being free (either as in beer or freedom) is, evidently, not enough.
What is the road to such superiority? History has shown that technical superiority is no guarantee of market superiority. History has shown that marketing can help.
What is marketing? I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Here's a starter for 10:
Marketing can be encapsulated by a pair of principles. They are:
(1) Make good products / give good service / co-create good value; and
(2) Respect your customers (both current and potential)
That is all.
So, kudos to the Evolution team for including a way for customers to give feedback when they are having trouble (Help -> Report a problem). But simply punting that information to community forums or pointing to a FAQ is a waste of incredibly useful information. If someone asks a question with a known or "obvious" answer, you have a UI design problem. And usability is bug number 1 is most software these days.
But developer time is limited. Where should priorities lie? Adding more functionality or making simple things simple? Bling or ease of use? And why do I have to drop to a terminal and go "sudo chown me /dev/raw1394" in order to see video from my handycam? Every time?
In other news, thanks to all the Free software developers for making an OS and Desktop that is, in the main, at least as good as the major non-free alternatives. You guys and girls rock. Hard.
May all sentient beings achieve nirvana,