That was a lot of arguing but yet you really didn't say much. Only that everything that disagrees with your view is irrelevant and that Ubuntu and Mint make it easier than Windows and if they could only expand their hardware support and gaming they could beat Windows. It is your experience that Linux is not easier to install when you have a Windows driver disk (yet the point was an OEM install without the driver disk), except MAYBE for Mint, and you again make the point that the only reason why Mint made it that far was because Ubuntu wants to destroy Windows and rule the world. We are all mistaken that Linux is not competing for market share because the fact that Linux is getting easier to use is proof that it is. Linux is about copy-left and they want to permeate society with their values and ideals.
But I don't think anyone was directly arguing ANY of that? The point with the market share thing was that WHILE UBUNTU might have these designs, Linux developers in general do not much care. It may come as a surprise to you, especially considering your 6 years experience in it, but Ubuntu is not the only game in town. Ubuntu is a Linux, Linux is NOT Ubuntu!
If you take someone with zero knowledge it will be much easier for them to learn Linux than it will Windows! I have proven this 6 times now...With my own kids. Get rid of all the Microsoft baggage and Linux is easier to install and use. No matter what skill level you wish to achieve. Take an 80 year old novice and put them on a Linux machine then a Windows machine. They will use Linux much easier! They will not be able to do much beside install packages and use them, but would they be able to do any more with Windows? But if they did want to dig in and learn then they will find Linux easier to figure out. Again, you can argue that till you are blue in the face, but I have seen the proof. So have several others in here who have raised kids with Linux or who deal with older people.
There are aspects about Linux that do put it at a disadvantage to Windows. Hardware support is a big one. It is hard to compare a Windows that comes pre-installed on a computer to an OEM Linux that needs to be installed from an ISO. But when you compare that Linux to an OEM Windows, which was MY point, Linux suddenly gets much easier. Especially if all your hardware is agreeable. If you have problem hardware? Then yeah, Linux becomes harder. No doubt about that.
But this is all just talk anyway. It matters not what your opinion or my own is. The truth of the matter is Ubuntu is not going to beat out Windows anytime soon. It is a Windows world and it will remain one. Especially if Ubuntu cannot tighten things back up like they were a couple years ago. Most people are used to the Windows way and refuse to change even for a free OS. I suppose Linux will continue to evolve in a way that things become easier for these chowderheads. That is fine. Nothing wrong with easy, just as long as they do not dumb it down. So far Linux has taken a couple major hits in the dumb down department but nothing that cannot be bypassed or fixed. Even Linux Mint is still a full featured Linux that does not lack in any functionality. But I think you may be mistaken in what you believe the purpose of Linux Mint is! Nowhere do they say anything about taking market share from Windows. Let me quote from the Mint 9 guide:
The purpose of Linux Mint is to provide a desktop operating system that home users and companies can use at no cost and which is as efficient, easy to use, and elegant as possible.
One of the ambitions of the Linux Mint project is to become the best operating system available by making it easy for people to get to use advanced technologies, rather than by simplifying them (and thereby reducing their capabilities), or by copying the approaches taken by other developers.
The goal is to develop our own idea of the ideal desktop. We think that it is best to make the most out of the modern technologies that exist under Linux and make it easy for everybody to use its most advanced features.
While it would be foolish to put the time and effort into ANYTHING with no desire for people to use and appreciate it, I see nothing here suggesting that Mint wants to take "market share" away from Windows. To the contrary, it would seem that Clem understands that the focus needs to be on the OS, not on attracting people or beating competition. Yes, they want to make Linux as easy to use as possible, but not at the expense of reducing Linux's capabilities.
That is what Linux is about. Each developer creating his idea of the perfect desktop.