My view is that the Linux kernel and 99.9% of all the modules and apps that can be wrapped around it are free money wise. If you can build a better mousetrap then do it. If it is good then it will become popular, much like Mint has done. To an extent FOSS has lost that "two drunk guys in a garage on a saturday night" development model. It is being taken over by Red Hat, Novel, Canonical and others. There is money going into FOSS these days. But you can still create what you wish with the results of other people's labor. That is what is so cool about this.
So in my view you are way off base with this comment:
Now I'm just a simple man, but the way I see it it is no longer up to the developers as to the direction of Mint and other
distros. It's high time that the user base decided what THEY want in Linux, and not be scared to be "immitating".
First off, if the developers no longer have control then who does? The user base? Why? Will you quit BUYING this distro unless they make what YOU want? Maybe you will just go to Fedora/debian/PCLOS/mandribble...Bye! No one NEEDS your business! Now I dont mean that to sound rude, I know it does, but no one needs MY business either! It is not like Linux will sink or swim on its profit margin. I realize this is a hard concept to grasp in this capitalistic world economy, but market share means absolutely nothing. Linux will never take over from Windows, it is unlikely that there will ever be any mass attempt to produce retail software for Linux, and it is highly doubtful that FOSS will ever come under direct control of one group who will guide it in a single, consolidated direction. This business model just cannot compete against retail corporations. Does it really matter? I prefer Linux like it is. It is much more bold and visually stunning than any other OS, the themes and icons and such available for Linux far surpass anything else. Even the fact that we have 3-4 main desktop environments (if you count Lxde as a DE) and well over 20!!! stand alone window managers ensures a level of customization that is unheard of in any other OS.
Highly stable? Hey, honestly, I find Windows Vista Ultimate to have FINALLY reached the same stability as Linux! It is a solid OS. But traditionally nothing has compared to the stability of Linux. You go install debian lenny and get it up and running. Come back a century later and it will STILL be plugging away! Are you kidding?
Easy to use? My 8 year old has been using Linux seriously for 4 years now. I would pit him against an average adult user in any distro. My 4 year old is just starting out. She has barely achieved the finer motor skills required to use a mouse. While she knows her letters and sounds she can hardly read. But she has her own mint computer and is quite capable of booting up, finding whatever game or graphics program she wants, and using it, then shutting down. All by herself. She knows what Google is and her brother is teaching her at an amazing rate. Any grandmother could use Mint far easier than Windows! Could this same grandmother install, tweak, and administer the same Mint as easily? No, she couldnt. But could she with Windows?
It is more a matter of perception than anything else. I like Vista Ultimate. My first Vista experience was with Home Premium that came on a HP laptop. It was badly broken. I did 4 clean installs in less than a year because things would start flaking out. USB would quit working, I would lose synaptics or webcam, once I even lost the LCD. When we bought another identical laptop for me I knew I would be using Linux most of the time. But I got a box edition of Vista Ultimate through my school for less than $20 American. As school forces me to use Office 2007 I figured I would give this a go and when it didnt work I would just install my unused copy of XP Pro. That silly OS has been on this computer for well over a year now! Not one problem. No BSOD, no flaking out, no reinstall every year, no spyware or viruses...I simply run free AVG and the standard Windows Defender. I do NOTHING!!! Everything is set up to run automatically. It has been 0 (zero) work! Hey, my perception is Vista Ultimate rocks! I have the same success with Linux. I know what I am doing, i enjoy doing it, and when I do encounter a problem instead of trolling forums about how much Linux sucks, or being a help vampire, I simply research and find the solution. Is everything in Linux perfect? No, I have a few minor issues, probably always will. But it works and is fun to use.
We all want a highly stable, (fairly) easy to user Operating System. We all want to retain the power of Linux, but if
none of us are brave enough to make bold steps, then how can Linux Distros (Mint included) ever be perceived by
the public as a worthy alternative to Windoze?
Frankly my dear, I dont give a damn.
Seriously, those who want to try Linux will do so, those who like Linux will continue using it. Most people just wont be bothered anyway. I never fully understood the sheer drive some have to evangelize Linux. Let me give you a quote from a Linux troll that I would like you to consider:
first the comment the troll was responding to
they come here thinking that Linux is just a free version of Windows, then they throw a fit when they realise that no, it's a free version of UNIX.
This is the truth
That's because they've been told, over and over, by members of the Linux community, that Linux IS a free version of Windows. So they come here, and then you guys rabbit punch them.
I dont know that we "rabbit punch" them as much as try to argue that Linux is NOT Windows. But the sad truth to this response is many people do go to such extremes to get others to use Linux. I have NEVER done this, in fact, I have argued quite adamantly that some people should just stick with Windows. What do I care what OS you use? If I perceive you are the kind of person who is able to get by with no formal support options, who wants to learn something new, who can feed himself, and may find advantages to using Linux then I am all over it. But I feel the majority of the unwashed masses are better off right where they are. The place where they can walk into Best Buy and buy software, the place where any camera, printer, or doo-hicky will work with their OS, the place where they can take their PLBKAC'd box into the neighborhood computer store and pay the dude $80 to reinstall the OS because they simply do not have the time or inclination to learn this mystic art themselves, and to whom the $80 will not be missed anyway. The place where they can send anyone anything from their computer and read anything from anyone else on their computer. It is a Windows world. Linux is not going to change that, and quite honestly, I dont believe I want it to change. I am happy flying under the radar and enjoying this OS while it lasts.