This is completely justified on all levels. If everyone in a town pays the $75 annual fee EXCEPT THIS family and the fire department helps them anyways, guess who isn't going to be paying the fee next year? EVERYONE IN TOWN!
Can you Linux snobs possibly be more arrogant or are you really just this short-sighted?
Giving people a familiar-feeling interface is 100% always going to be one of the best first steps you can take to convince someone to move from Windows to Linux. If someone is taken from Windows straight into a unfamiliar Gnome interface can be very daunting and scary (not matter how much better Gnome behaves). The user will most likely feel unsure, insecure and not confident in exploring the operating system. All of this will usually lead to the user simply giving up and going back to familiar old Windows.
I use Linux on a daily basis. The more people that use Linux the better it will be for them and everyone else out there. But when the Slashdot crowd comes across with comments and posts like this, you are simply reassuring any Windows users out there that Linux is a playground for the big boys and if they can't handle it then go home. You will not win over any potential converts with that attitude. Simple as that. If this is what snobby Linux users want, fine. You'll get it. But stop complaining about why more people don't switch from what is familiar to them to a better operating system.