> The linux desktop and an android phone are vastly different things.
They _are_ different things, but are not vastly. Unless you are using a very unusual definition of 'vastly', or have a very myopic view of software.
> I'd argue that android has a lot to learn from the linux way of doing things.
I am willing to bet that most of the core Android developers are were very experienced developers and users of the Linux OS. Seeing how Google's core competency relates to using Linux on a massive scale and doing things that very few other people are capable of doing... So it's very likely that they knew very much about the "linux way" and took many lessons to heart.
Could you imagine _anybody_ would have _any_ interest in Cyanogenmod at all if they decided that all users had to use rpm and that the only people that could package software for cyanogenmod users had to go through 2-3 years of mentoring? Week long flame fests on mailing lists about how important it is that users should be able to choose between Meamo, WebOS, and Android UIs at install time and how terrible it would be if users and developers would be able to upload their own packages willy-nilly.
Android has massively more hardware vendor support. Massively more software support. Massively more users. It annihilated Windows and crippled Microsoft's market share and competes head to head with Apple. It's a success in every single way that Linux desktop is not. Of course there is lots to learn.