> As far as “Joe Average” is concerned Linux desktop is bunch of distributions and GNOME as separate entity does not exist.
Nope. As far as Mr. Average is concerned Linux is just like Windows, colors on the screen. Most (say 75%) of the people I interact will recognize the word "Linux" (25% will not). Maybe 50% would recognize "Ubuntu" as an alias for Linux. Only a handful know what Fedora, Debian or Redhat are.
So no, for average Joe, Linux is not a distro. It's the pixels on _my_ screen, and the reason I do not run pirated copies of Photoshop, Office 2010 and Call Of Duty on my laptop like the rest of my friends (don't even try to explain to them that I could if I wanted).
The problem with the Linux desktop is that it has _nothing_ that Joe may need or want that justifies the pains of changing the defaults. Even today, trying a live USB image requires curiosity and good predisposition. Desktop Linux still lacks a killer app.