Finished reading. Conclusion: rant.
As many have said, the "time" you've calculated doesn't make sense. It is way to much, especially for Ubuntu/Mint. It seems as though you are using something that is designed for advanced user. If you are not, use a simple one, like Mint. We have Flash installed and drivers can be installed with a click. Moreover, once it has worked, it would work on other computers with no much effort. In server environments, if you use, for example, LTSP, you only have to do the tweaking on the server and it is immediately available on every computer. And you've forgot the time you need to spend on Windows. Most importantly, the fact is that you need a technician on call for the whole day regardless of whether you have problems or not.
The "values" you have calculated for the programs are much biased as well.
Graphics: On what basis do you say that GIMP is inferior? I find it a lot better than the default MS Paint and rather similar to Adobe Photoshop.
Animation: I won't comment on Animation since I'm not really in that field.
Utilities: GNU/Linux's utilities are certainly much better than Windows' one. I've used a whole lot of Linux tools, and they provide all the functionality needed. For example, the disk usage analyzer is very useful when I am out of disk space. I've encountered situations in Windows' which forbid me to delete a backup file even if I am admin.
Office: Again, why is libreoffice/openoffice inferior to Microsoft Office? I've got a friend who has both MS Office and Libreoffice, but he chooses to use Libreoffice. It's just different (not much), not wrong, and it supports much more formats than MS Word.
Operating System: I almost burst into laughter. Linux is not stable and reliable? They are used in most server rooms and are used to power the fastest computers in the world. How could you say that Linux is less stable? I've used Linux for more than a year and have never experienced a crash. Windows always crashes. Regarding the WM/Desktop issue, it's the desktop and it has got nothing to do with the OS itself since you can use different desktops for the same OS. As you've mentioned, there are choices. You've chose MATE and it's working. What's the issue here?
Finance Amateur: No comments. I don't use them.
Internet: Windows might be slightly better in that they have better flash support (i.e. supporting hardware acceleration), but other than that, I don't see any reason why Windows is better.
Next section: Bug tracking. I am happy to tell you that your solution won't work, since you don't know when you would keep the reply. Maybe the developer confirmed the bug and after a few weeks someone stumbled across your bug report and already had a solution. If you don't provide a valid email, how are they supposed to help you? If you use a temporary email, when is it due to expire? No one knows. And before it expires, you'll keep getting those junk mail. The whole Linux world is a community
, in that it is for users to help each other.
The responses of the developers weren't that bad. It's better for them to tell you that they don't know than pretend that they know. We are all volunteers, and we probably don't know what happened beforehand. And developers usually aren't interested in changing stable unless it is a critical/security bug because it is meant to be stable. You also need adequate instructions for reproducing the bug or else we won't know what's the problem. They are not mean or arrogant. They are being blunt to get the problems solved.
Forums: First things first: You shouldn't criticize an OS by its users. If I tell you that bin Laden used Windows, will that make you stop using it? He's evil! It just makes no sense to comment on an OS by its users. And most of the user's responses are valid. The formatting issue is certainly valid. If you read the rules of the Debian Forums, it says
use the formatting features of the forum wisely in order to make your post attractive.
Randomly using colours and enlarging text doesn't make your post loot attractive. it makes it look messy and it doesn't sound serious. It might even cause problems for users with accessibility problems if you randomly use colours. Comments like "works for me" ARE useful, in the sense that they are telling developers that it narrows down the problem (it is not a generic problem). Users often have their computer specifications in their signatures, which makes the work even easier.
Giving back the code: of course they are not going to let a random guy upload a "updated" driver since they don't know what might be inside. Could you find an email and talk to them? Obviously you won't want people to mess with your code.
Reading disabilities: I have read through it a couple times, and couldn't follow the logic. If there is poor documentation, then it is difficult for anyone to get through. Microsoft documentations are also weird at some times: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/Windows7/Use-the-computer-without-the-mouse-or-keyboard-alternative-input-devices
. Step one: Click the start button, with a... what? A mouse? But you don't have one. Documentations are time-consuming and not much developers want to do them. They want to develop! Many documentation are by users in wikis. And Microsoft, having a whole bunch of people working for them, don't have good documentation as well.
Distros: While some of them are rather redundant, many aren't. They appeal to different user bases. That's choice. There is no one single distribution that suites everyone. Everyone have their own preferences and needs. What's wrong with choice, anyway.
Software/Packages: What's wrong with GIMP/Inkscape? They might be a bit different from paid software, but they are as easy to use, and I say that for functionality, they are superior.
Flash: Adobe is not ending flash support. They are just not releasing new versions. Flash will be supported for 5 more years. After that, it will be a whole new world and no one knows if anyone will still be using flash.
List of rooms for improvement:
1 No testing: we always have a lot of testing. For example, Debian testing is by definition a testing (it is not really meant to be used as a production site although many use it as so). Mint also goes through a lot of testing before it is released.
2 Debian Stable is outdated: it is outdated by design. Stable not only means that it doesn't break, but it doesn't introduce much changes. Unless those are necessary like security upgrades, they will not be provided. Remeber - Debian Stable is for servers, and anything that changes is a possible source of breakage.
3 Basic stuff like video/drivers: they are well implemented in Mint and I have no problem installing with one click. Again, there are different distros for different people. Gurus might think that they can do it themselves and install Debian. Newcomers might want Mint.
4 Too many compilers: Really? All I (we?) use is gcc. That's one. On the contrary, Windows has got tons of compilers they use.
5 Replication of outdated things: If you search the web, you'd obviously going to find things in the past (I'd be shocked if I find things from the future!). Of course they are going to be outdated. Well, that's Google's problem! It's the same with Windows problems. And if you have different people at different places having the same problem, then obviously you are going to find similar solutions. It's, again, Google's job to filter those. You are blaming the wrong person.
6 Many distributions: I believe this is a strength, not a weakness. See above
7 Poor documentation: That's over-generalisation. For example, Arch has a decent wiki for users, and large distros like Debian also have their own distros. They are really updated and I find them useful, even on non-debian machines. And since most programs are cross-platform, if it has no documentation for Linux, it has no documentation for Windows as well.
8 Constant breaks in automatic updates: Updates aren't automatic. And kernel upgrades couldn't break your system since if something is wrong, you can choose to use the old one when you boot. Again, different distros have different stabilities. Debian Stable doesn't have updates, while Ubuntu has regular updates yet doesn't break.
9 Disabling legacy hardware with no easy way to reverse: Obviously they are not disabled for no reason. Often the developers have no time to maintain such supports and are dropped. Are you sure you can run Windows 7 on a piece of hardware, like, 5 years old? That's possible on Linux.
10 Limited driver support: that's not ours to decide. The people who create the hardware are usually responsible for writing drivers since we have no idea how their hardware work. I'm not trying to blame them, but it's catch-22. If we don't have enough support, no one will use it. If it is not used no one will write drivers!
10(again) Lack of respect: Put it this way - they are giving out something for free and you are criticizing them. They have no responsibility to respect users. I'm not saying that they shouldn't. They should. And due to the open source nature of Linux, if something is done wrong (e.g. GNOME 3 according to some), someone will fork it and fix it (Cinnamon).
11 User intuition: I don't find anything counterintuitive. The idea of running a KDE program under GNOME itself is probably the source of the problem you mentioned. Personally, I find Windows even more counterintuitive. Neglecting to common joke that you need to press the start button to shut down the computer, the User Guide often has problems. It always tells me that the user guide is not compatible with the OS. How can that be so? It's a user guide. What has it got to do with the version of Windows?
12 FLOSS software owned by corporations: Well, they have to belong to someone, right? They are still in the hands of the users, since they are registered under the GPL license, which says that anyone can take it and do whatever changes to it they want. Openoffice was forked into Libreoffice by the same process. There is still freedom. You might want to read the definition of "free software".
Conclusion: You have overlooked many aspects of Linux. It is indeed suitable for small business corporations, because they are small! It costs a lot to buy a Windows license for each computer. And since it is your business environment, you can buy compatible hardware. Again, you can choose a suitable distro for the purpose of your corporation. For example, if you don't need bleeding-edge technology, you can install Debian Stable and won't need to mess with it for 2 years. You won't need support. And packages don't break. And there is great documentation.
NOTE: I don't usually compare Linux with Windows, but since you ARE making the comparison in the article, I'll make this an exception.