I totally get what you're saying Gary but I can't see it ever happening. I think the process I outlined in my previous post is considered the 'easy' way to by Linux standards - It wasn't really that hard to figure out with a few pointers, and how often are you really going to need to re-install. The sort of people who think about making re-installs easier/safer (myself included) generally have the competance to follow these steps, and for those whom editing a config file etc. is too complex - they would never even contemplate attempting a re-install whatever the OS!
Did you ever have the bug of the dissapearing Volume Icon in the system tray? On every Win 98/XP machine I had, after a couple of months it would dissappear even though the chekbox "show volume icon in system tray" was stil ticked! You could uncheck/re-check but it would dissappear again at some point. Infuriating! I feel sure there would have been a way to fix this with one simple line in the Terminal if the problem were a Linux one., but as it was Windows we just had to put up with it.
It's swings & roundabouts - we gain a OS that does what we tell it, but we lose the simplicity of an OS that just does things automatically (like re-assign /Videos) without us knowing how it's done (even if we actually want to know what's going on behind the scenes).
For me, the whole appeal of PC's is the open standard - just bcause brand x built my mobo doesn't mean anything else has to be & the same goes for my choices of software .... (ok I know in the real world it doesn't always work out this simply but go with the principle). I see Linux as a contiuation of this concept into the OS. Windows gives me a playground to play in by as long as it's by it's rules (oh, & pay for the privillidge) whereas Linux says here's a playground but if you don't like something then you're welcome to try to make it more how you would like. It's not always possible, but at least we're given the option to try.
I suppose the debate is should Linux (Mint or otherwise) seek to compete/replace Windows by being 'User friendly' enough for the masses ie. Idiot proof but limited, should it be a hardcore nerdy/geek thing where the end user has ultimate control over everything - albeit requiring in-depth knowledge of the OS & CLI, or somewhere in between?
In my opinion, Linux Mint strikes a pretty good balance - almost everything works out of the box, it looks good & comes with everything a basic user needs pre-installed eg. Media players, Browsers, Office etc. For those who desire though, they can chop and change packages & have their system exactly how they like.
Sorry if that went off on a bit of a tangent & thanks to anyone who can find any semblence of sense in my ramblings.