> So if Microsoft forced all OEM manufacturers to only sell Windows (which isn't beyond them (see BeOS' battle to get shipped on PC's)), Linux now becomes a parasite?
No one cares about "force". Everyone cares about profit. Unless you can otherwise show MSFT used some illicit measures to actively hinder Linux (recent 5 years, please) adoption. I rather find the reason is that almost no home users really want to use Linux. What I've observed is people that actively replace pre-installed Linux with pirated pirated Windows after PC purchase.
The Linux on IBM-PC is considered parasite because I cannot find a single IBM-PC model from major vendors that is primarily designed with Linux in mind. Can you find one? Chromebook doesn't count here.
By the way, I've heard that people who bought IBM-PC model with Linux pre-installed get very poor support at end of day. That's no surprise to me as I mentioned no one is serious about Linux prodigies at all.
> Also, all Apple hardware sells with OS X or iOS. Is any distribution which runs on it a parasite as well?
> Whether they get users of their project directly isn't the end goal; getting more phones to use more free firmware *is* and if they don't do the work, who else has made any indication that they're willing?
If end user is not a priority of FOSS project in general, I would seriously whether FOSS is doing any good to the society and whether it is worth to contribute a minute and/or a penny.
If the endorsement of Replicant is just an "indication" that FSF cares about smart phones. Well, any one outside of FOSS-chamber cares? Even if the general public might look dumb from time to time, they are indeed wise in the sense that they value originality and innovation, rather than illusionary freedom.
> So because it's not the most important "battle", we should drop everything related to it?
I was not trying to infer that. But which thing is more important may be something needs some consideration when one wants to donate money but doesn't have infinite budget.