Here's my two cents, for what it's worth.
Win8 is too focused on touch-screen-ability, from what I have seen. And they have taken away many of the tools upon which computer users have come to rely, most noticably the start menu, which has been a mainstay of computing since there has been a GUI. MS has turned away from desktop development, it would seem. That will hurt them, as millions still want a desktop or laptop, not a smart hpone (although I have one of those) or a tablet, neither of which have as much utility as actual computers.
Mac is far too expensive for most people. And there is a llearning curve with Mac just as there is with Linux. I have not looked into it, but I bet that there is not the forum and community support for Mac like there is with Linux.
Ubuntu seems to have shot themselves in the foot with Unity. I have barely used it, since I did not like Ubuntu when I first used it three years ago, which is why I am on Mint. But from what I have read and seen on blogs all over the web, people do not like Unity. It is, apparently, not as user friendly, and I personally think it unattractive. Feel free to disagree with me on either of those points. One of the great things abotu Linux, in my opinion, is the disagreement. It helps build stronger distros, and expand usage.
ChromeOS may be very good. I have never tried it. I do not like the Chrome browser, so if that is any indication, I would not like ChromeOS. I do know, from what I have read, that ChromeOS is very minimal. It is basically just a browser, it relies heavily on the cloud, and it is difficult, it would seem, to install, for instance, an office program. Many people want to have more control over their data, and I would expect most people would want things like office suites and an email client installed on their own machine, not in the cloud. But I could be wrong.
I do not know if Google ever intended Android as more than a mobile OS. I likew it on my phone, and the tablets I have checked out are great. I do not believe it is ready for the desktop, but who knows. Maybe it could be developed and expanded for more use. I see the same problems as with Chrome, however. It is still Google. after all.
Then there is Mint. Mint was started to be a usable distribution that could appeal to a lot of people. And it has only gotten better at that. MATE and Cinnamon are perfect examples. I never liked Gnome at all, and went with xfce, then LXDE, when I came to Mint. But I like Cinnamon, and t is now my desktop of choice. It made a convert of me, and I only tried it because Mint discontinued my DE of choice. And from all reports, MATE is a great DE, too. So instead of creating an unpopular DE that seems to be more tuned for touch screen, such as Ubuntu did, the Mint developers found and made good replacements for Gnome. Better than the original, in fact. Mint is also noob friendly, as it is set up to be easy to use. I never thougth the same about Ubuntu, even on 9.04. Mint can be used and learned pretty painlessly by new Linux users. So can many other distributions, like ZOrin and Zeven and others, but I have found Mint to be by far the best and easiest to make your own.
I think Linux still has a long way to go to become a major player. That is fine with me, though. I am happy with it the way it is, and I have seen many boggers speculate that too many users too quickly might ruin Linux. But with the misdirections and misfires coming out of Redmond, the price of anything Apple, the cloud and mobile focus of Google (not to mention the privacy concerns that many people have), and the issues with Unity (I also think Ubuntu is still way too brown out of the box and too hard to customize), I think LM is well placed to gain users. And with the great support for this distribution, it can nly grow and get better.
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The philosophy exam was a piece of cake -- which was a bit of a surprise, actually, because I was expecting some questions on a sheet of paper.