Mint's inclusion of licensing questionable codecs would keep it from being shipped to the US market by a hardware manufacturer and that's a huge market to give up. This is also one of the rasons Ubuntu can't ship with codecs in place even if Canonical dropped the apt-in for non-free licensed software.
It would be awsome if a hardware manufacturer did give the choice of several software platforms but even in the server world where some choice is the standard, you'r still only seeing three or four total; no os, windows server, red hat, suse, vmware. To HP's credit, they officially support Debian though they don't provided it as a factory installed option. (which reminds me, I need to fetch the Debian 6 software packages now that HP's had some time to produce them)
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