Linux, from the start, was never about being a consumer desktop.
It was an UNIX-based server operating system that could run on some college kid’s PC. Which later could then run a graphical environment. And sound (sort of).
That did not stop people from trying to get it to become a consumer desktop. Caldera OpenLinux–my very first distro–was an early attempt to present ease-of-use to those users who were “less than power.” Corel Linux was a better attempt, in that it brought WordPerfect and the rest of Corel Office to the table.
There were others, of course, as Linux got more mature, hardware issues settled down, and apps were created. But nothing seemed to take hold of the desktop market and be more than an IT lover’s novelty OS. This was certainly not the case on the server side, which sees stunning success stories every day. But you should see that kind of server success, because that’s where Linux excels.
Then there was Ubuntu.
Ubuntu, the Debian GNU/Linux-based distro that eschewed “Linux” from the start, set out to be the world’s first commercially successful Linux desktop. That has been the goal of its commercial vendor, Canonical Ltd., from the beginning.