Removing the desktop is a very bad call. And it's very easy to prove. How many command in console mode have the "undo" option? Zero! Once you screw up in the console, there's not way back. You're are ! And it's impossible to create a safer environment. So in term of security, the console mode is a bigger risk. Not a smaller one. The biggest treat for the OS is the user itself and memory leaks. Not Internet' virus!
Reasons agains the command line approach:
1 - No Undo
2- Minimalist message of errors
3- Laziness of the users will always prevail over security. For example, I'm sure there is a way to simulate an installation of packages with apt-get, but people don't used it's because it take more efforts.
4- Not everybody are good typist.
Can you create a "wizard" in console mode? Possibly, but there is no "Glade" for NCurse. But what is the interest to create in interface in text mode when it is easier to do is with a graphical interface?
It's not every distro that are without desktop for the root. It's only Debian's based distro. The Debian's team did this stupid call. My other computer with Opensuse still have a desktop for the administration mode.
What did yo use to install all 20 packages? In Mint there's a utility called "Software Manager" which asks once. I don't use it as such myself, I use the command line and
I know that you can always find a command-line to do the job in a nix environment. But the main reason to have a desktop is ...comfort and economy of time. I hate loosing my time writing longs pathnames and spending time in login. I'm too old for this unicorns. I do not regret the Commodore 64 environment. No matter how you look at it, it's simply a regression. As a designer of interface, if you do not want users regularly on the administration mode, you simply create a desktop without access to word-processing , spreadsheet and games. That how Steve Job would have deal with to problem. Not by returning to the Apple II interface ...
The real solution is not no desktop for the administrator mode. But a special desktop dedicate to administration!
The security's arguments are very poor, because if security is my main concern, BSD is the solution, not Linux. I like a lot the Mint philosophy, but my next computer won't use on a Debian base distro. The desktop for the administration, it's a deal breaker to me. No return to the seventy for me!