Re: Too much OS bling, not enough software substance.
I agree with much of what you wrote, but take exception to a few points.
However, you do seem to have some misconceptions, which I hope I can explain:
Which is perhaps one of the reasons not as many people use Linux. IMHO it really needs to be simplified.
If you really need a particular piece of software, such as Gimp 2.8, then 'the Windows EXE' arrangement applys to linux as well: find an installer or tarball, then install. It's just sometimes a bit harder, as not as many people use Linux.
The last 4 words are exactly what some users struggle with and could be interpreted as an elitist statement.
Some of us prefer a command-line, it's quicker and easier if you know how.
I doubt it's quite that simple. For example, asking a new user to learn code and fix GUIs isn't realistic. But, I do agree that constructive criticism to the devs might pay off.
Bad GUIs. Complain constructively to the developers, or learn to code/design and go fix. Simple as that.
That belief, suggests that Ubuntu/Linux will never be ready for prime time. Unless all apps are commercial and is flawed by the (IMHO) most visible of apps - Firefox. Free and yet is used by many across multiple platforms. The reality is it's flexible, easy to install and has a user friendly interface with plenty of extensions, themes, and is easily configurable.
As Android is a commercial platform, people can afford to spend money developing them, and will reasonably expect it back.
A number of your points appear to be excuses, rather than points of contention. We (Linux users) are self-programed to respond in a defensive posture. The never ending comparisons between Windows and Linux now seems to focus on GUIs, games and high end apps. It used to be multimedia, games & high end apps and often appeared that every user was either a professional video editor or gamer. Now it's so-called substance, yet most users (I know - young & older) do simple repetitive tasks with their PC's (internet, email, pics, gaming, music, movies, etc.). I know very few users who rely on high end apps for daily usage, outside of work. As for memory/speed hogging glitz & glitter, I have often wonder how that relates to "substance".
In the end, these types of threads will continue to question the viability of Linux. Especially, if we continue to react defensively. Linux might be better served by simple statements such as, "sorry it doesn't work for you and good luck". This act alone denies the use of a platform for argument and imparts an attitude of "use what works for you". Instead of feeling the need to defend, one could just point out the obvious - no OS meets the needs and expectations of "every" user. Take note of the OP's final statement in the original post. I believe their assumption is we will respond and defend. What happens if we don't?
I'm always amazed when one compliments Linux here (T&E) based on free, then complains about the quality. It seems every time this occurs, it's followed by an anti-Linux rant. Imagine that.
Just my $0.02 and I won't comment again in this thread. As this isn't the place for debate.
"All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward."