because they turn off A/C over weekends and whatnot to "save money" where it's probably cheaper to just maintain the temperature rather than start having to cool everything again.
Is it? I am not a physicist, but from a quick energy balance it looks like it should never be cheaper to maintain a low temperature (rather than let it get hot for a while and then cool it down again).
shortcuts contain a lot more information than just a path: they include the path to the destination file, an icon, the set of command-line arguments to pass, and some other flags. For example, I used to have a load of different shortcuts to the WinQuake (and, later, GLQuake) executable that all had different -game flags, for launching different mods. Many of them also had different icons, if the mod came with its own icon. You can't do that with symlinks.
Wrong. You can. Several UNIX executables change their behaviour at runtime depending on the filename of the symlink they are being called from. For instance, in a normal installation of Busybox, many system commands such as ls, mv, cd, cat... are symlinked to the same busybox binary.
You are ignoring a factor: UI. Jolla has a very characteristic UI look and design, based on swipes and gestures more than on button, and quite different from the one of Android. Jolla users look for native apps when they are available and they don't suck, so developers have an incentive in writing them.
And, also, people don't choose a Jolla phone for the apps. It's *mostly* the freedom. So your argument "oh, yes, and there's the freedom too" does not apply.
Frankly if I was the CIA I would be intercepting traffic to the small oddball servers more than Google.
Frankly, at this point, if the CIA cannot access and intercept data from Google they are utterly incompetent in doing their job. For the cost of (at most) giving an employee a suitcase full of money, you get an incredible bonanza of data. Which secret service wouldn't do it?
The best things in life go on sale sooner or later.