Re: Dear gods...
"... doubt very much a lot of non technical users would welcome it's arrival on their desktop/laptop unless it's skinned."
Speaking as someone who once lived and breathed all things Microsoft, I have real world experience with this and you might be surprised! I've maintained a few Linux desktop networks, both small and large scale.
In most cases that has been either CentOS or Ubuntu (yes, with Unity), mostly stock except for some basic branding and additional shortcuts and things to common stuff like network shares. Sure there are some under-the-hood tweaks for such environments, but they are invisible to users.
Does anyone care? Not a bit. Hundreds of happy users from technically savvy to the most technology illiterate you can imagine. Contrary to what you would expect, folks find their way around documents, network shares, browsing and email just fine with virtually no training.
In fact it's easier to support than Windows because everything keeps itself patched with little intervention, the office suite doesn't dramatically change in look and feel with every version change, and stuff generally doesn't break.
Subtle differences from Windows like the lack of network drive letters doesn't bother anyone non-technical because they don't understand that stuff anyway.
Of course it's not completely perfect, but I've never kidded myself that Windows was either.