Remember that most of the people that hang here is not a good representation of the "common people". Common people don't know much about computers, internet or security. And they don't care. They use what's fun and easy, even if it's bug-ridden, insecure, unhealthy and radioactive. They are not computer geeks, they're just people.
And people, not geeks like you and me, is what drives the market. If Chrome OS is easier and funnier to use than Windows, many people will use it. Even if has a security hole so big that you coud fit a truck into it, even if it makes their pictures being naked and drunk available to anyone in the Internet. Because they, and most of their friends, won't care. They just want to play with the damn thing.
Many Debian users like to tweak their systems just for fun, not because it's useful. They like the feeling of control when they know everything that's installed. They like the feeling of understanding how everything fits in their systems. And that's good. It's fun and you learn a lot.
But these things about "ubuntu hiding things" just mean that some of them are becoming obsolete. They miss the times when Linux was simple: kernel, userland, X server, applications. All clearly separated, all easy to grasp. With all these "new" things like udev, hal, upstart ("how do they dare to remove
Ubuntu is great. I've used Debian for more than ten years, and I'm still using that for work. I love it: it works and it's rock solid (usually). It's well thought and sysadmin-friendly. I was a (bad) debian developer. But Ubuntu is good too. It works. And it's still Debian. All Debian goodies are there.
And if many people are switching to Ubuntu, if the level of Ubuntu users is not so "elite" like Debian users, that's a good sign. It's new blood.
We complain for years and years saying that Linux can be used by "normal users" (when, let's face it, we were pretty far from it), and now that it's becoming true, we are fearful of losing our aura of eliteness. We attack the ones that are achieving it because they're not "pure enough". What a band of jerks we are. How much insecurity lies in the bottom of the Linux community?
We can't live in our ivory tower of perfect freedom and simplicity forever. Get out a bit and talk to real people. Ubuntu is Debian for real people.
"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson