"You don't have to. So long as anyone, anywhere in the world, has the same need as you do and the ability to make the change, you're set. With Windows and OS X that's not an option."
I don't see the difference.
If you can find someone who knows how to do it and they are willing to tell you (or provide the file/script/tool) you can do it in Linux, Windows and OSX.
Believe it or not, you can even replace Explorer with KDE.
The solution is the same in each case, scour the Internet.
As I implied (in the very 1st post in this thread) the problem is finding a good help site.
I've lost count of the number of times I've seen:
Q - "How do I do X?"
A - "Don't do that, do Y."
After a couple of pages, the OP's question hasn't been answered and the original problem hasn't been solved.
A classic example involved Net Manager; a person wanted to reset it.
"Expert" after "Expert" wanted to know why and suggested that he do something else.
After two pages of "solutions" that didn't work for the OP, the "Experts" all disappeared.
Not one of them told the OP to delete the config file.
"The Windows 7 install disk decided that that was not permissable and it was going to put a boot partition on my primary hard drive without telling me or, in my case, just refuse to install because there wasn't enough room for the boot partition."
You should have been able to do that.
Always pre-partition and format the drive (using GParted) to avoid the worthless boot partition.
Make sure the HDD you're installing to, is the only one connected during the install procedure.
That said, I agree that there are things that Windows just refuses to do.
When I encounter those, I use a Live Linux CD to bypass the restriction.
"Maybe more people would have an interest in that if they knew it were even possible? When a system holds your hand too much you don't grow in your abilities or worse, never even learn there's more you can do than what you're being offered."
Apple sells millions of iPads and IIRC, you aren't allowed to tinker with iOS.
"I have to second the request about what distro you're using! If you're using OpenSUSE and its YaST management tool you can specify where you want a new drive/partition to be mounted without ever touching the fstab file."
Drives/partitions listed in fstab are mounted during boot up.
"THAT'S what we're talking about."
No that is what you are talking about.
How many people want to build their own update packages?
Assuming that every Linux user does that (and they don't), that only comes to 10M-20M users out of 1000M desktop users.
BTW, Metro and WinRT are awful.
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