I have to give my 2 cents in this discussion. I come, as most people do, from a Windows world and I ran into the same problems and obstacles that we all do at the beginning. What I did a little different than many other people is - I kept on trying, reading, experimenting, braking, fixing, installing, uninstalling, searching for answers, searching for a distro that I will call my own... I started that in 2004 and now, after 8 years I can say - I found what I was looking for and I have many, many great things to say about my choice (LMDE).
What you all know and not many are saying is that there is a large amount of Windows lovers out there but mostly because they are running pirated versions of Windows. If they were to pay for all that I believe that the numbers would be allot smaller. Secondly, most of the Windows applications and the OS itself is Idiot Proofed. And they should be for the amount of money users have to pay to run it. However, using Windows for years produced another kind of user - lazy user. A user who thinks that there is only one way: exe, zip, msi and everything will be done with a double click.
Along comes Linux with a totally different idea but at the same time - it is "really" free. Some got sick of paying; some got sick of restarting; some got sick fighting with viruses and spyware... some just got plain sick... In any case, many decided that they will give Linux a try...
Many also started princess from day one. What is wrong with this OS - I actually have to invest my time, effort and read instructions - that is not acceptable. I am going back - Windows was good after all... Some tried for a little bit more. Some liked it and could see behind the curtain and now they are happy users of one of the greatest OS out there.
My only regret was, up to last year, not being able to use my Linux for work. I just had to keep a machine with Windows so that I can run AutoCAD. Well, last year I bought Bricscad (for a 10-th of the price) and then I got DraftSight and now I am in business. I can do it all. I am happy like a pig in the mud and I have a stable, fast, resourceful, clever, genius operating system, thank to Mint and Debian and the version LMDE 201204. If anyone would ask me about it I can only say that I was lucky to stick to Linux because now I have it all, the way I want it and for free. Cheers!