It's always about the apps. That's the reason most given as to why Mac adoption hasn't been higher. It's not really the price of the machines.
Chrome will theoretically do a lot of things. Theoretically!
But no one has seen Chrome yet. So far it's vaporware. Even Google won't discuss details. I'm not so sure they even know what it will be if it comes out.
With at least a year before we see what might charitably be called a beta, we can't even speak to how well it will work.
The Linux guys (some are friends of mine), will say that it's not that hard and it really isn't if you spend the time to learn it. But the problem is the user just wants to get their email. They don't want to learn how to manage their hardware and software and they don't want to spend all day configuring tricky little things.
It was interesting when computers first came out to get into all the little details and build your own etc. I did it myself for years. But today, people want a computer that they can turn on and use. Like a TV. This evolution has happened with every significant consumer product of the last century. Cars, Radios, TVs etc.
No one wants to (nor should they need to) look at configuration files all day long when they really just want to send an email or look at a video clip.
I play with various distro's of Linux from time to time, going way back to the beginning. Quite frankly, I've never been impressed.
They understand quite well that in order to be recognized by those they want to get to use it, that it has to look and feel somewhat familiar. So they copied the Windows look and feel.
So it's clunky, and about two to three versions behind GUIwise, because these guys are always fighting about what to do and how to do it.
That's one reason why Linux will always be the problem child of the OS's. There are an awful lot of big ego's in Linuxland, and they don't agree on most things.
But because of the desire to make it look like Windows they pass up the chance to really create something new and different that they can point to and say; "It's better."
The worst is Torvald himself. The guy has a really big mouth, and has been holding it back for years. His opposition to the ver 3.0 kernel has caused no end of problems, and his opposition to changing the license has caused more.
It's also a joke about the fight between KDE and Ubuntu. Both have together, about a 60% share of the non-business distro environment. The rest consists of, what, 100 or so smaller distro's?
Without a unified Linux based OS, this will never go anywhere.
But thats the one idea that Linux people hate more than anything else, so it's not likely to happen.
Another problem is licensing. Most are totally against that idea of licensing formats. So we get few things that will run on Linux, shrinking their universe even more when compared to the rich ecologies of both OS X and Windows.
The only advantages to Linux for those who use it is that it's cheap, and they can make it act however they want.
But that's just for the geeks. No one else cares about that. I love it when some people write that they've got it working for their grandmas. They don't tell us that (assuming it's true at all) all grandma is using is a browser.
This is addition to all the problems you brought up.