Re: Sounds good
"It's simply wrong to imagine that compiling software from Source Code should be beyond "normal" users."
I've never thought or claimed that. It does seem that Ubuntu, with the goal of getting people into Linux, tried to remove/minimise the need. For what seemed to be their target audience. As I recall Ubuntu was met with a lot of derision by Linux diehards when it came out. Remember the old "Ubuntu means too stupid to install Debian" jokes?
"Actually, assuming that users are stupid -- as opposed to merely ignorant, but capable and ready to learn -- is a legacy of Windows."
You seem to have misunderstood what I said. As I see it, Ubuntu's target audience has been people who want it to "just work" (sorry for trite phrase,) ideally out of the box. Which would imply no compilation. The assumption that users are stupid is not a legacy of Windows at all - it's the prevailing opinion of the IT community, and one I've railed against before on these forums given how often it's voiced. Glad to see someone recognising the difference between ignorance and stupidity; I hope others here will take note.
"Separate -dev packages make it harder for "normal" users to make the "leap" to building from Source Code, by putting that gap there in the first place -- by assuming that users will not, by default, want to build from Source Code."
To be honest, it looks like you're asking for your personal preference to be made the default. Essentially making the reverse assumption. If you make neither, it seems more sensible to me to go for a more minimal install - avoiding "bloat", to use another trite phrase. I don't agree that stuff should be put on someone's hard disk "in case they decide to use it in the future". They shouldn't have to decide to remove stuff they haven't asked for - another argument generally used against Windows. It's not mitigated by Linux letting you remove things more easily (or at all,) compared to Windows; it seems like a violation of the ideals.
"Disk space and bandwidth are cheap nowadays."
That's a matter of circumstance, really. Throwing silicon/money (even if the latter cost is comparatively small to you,) at a problem is inelegant. And *definitely* not for you to decide on others' behalf. I'm sorry to say that smacks of arrogance - "Eventually everyone will want to do it my way, because they're not stupid." Isn't that the "No True Scotsman" fallacy or something?
One alternative to "forcing additional stuff onto users"
Putting it in quotes doesn't negate that you're suggesting it.
(most of whom, I'm sure, wouldn't even notice it till they double-clicked a .tar.gz file and it just installed itself)
I don't see how that ties in with having the dev libraries automatically installed.
"would be to extend dpkg to include, besides "depends", "recommends", "suggests" and "conflicts", a "dev-depends" category. With a simple configuration setting, installing a package could automatically install its -dev files or not; a database of -dev packages already required / installed would make it even easier to switch routes, by suddenly requiring or de-requiring a bunch of packages which will then get installed or uninstalled automatically at the next upgrade."
Now that sounds eminently sensible to me. I'd get behind that.