I administer a large fleet of Linux and Windows servers. Apart from the Linux terminal server, all the Linux boxes are headless and have no GUI installed. To be honest, administering the systems with the CLI is second nature and a lot of Windows configuration is now quicker / easier with PowerShell, once you have a few scripts set up.
I still prefer the GUI for many tasks. But my fellow admin only does the Linux side and only uses a CLI, even his Jabber chat client runs in a text console. He says how crap Windows is, because you have to use a mouse to click checkboxes to set options, as opposed to writing them out long hand with vi in a configuration file... For him having a list of options and checking off the ones you want is wrong, it is much better to have to remember arcane commands in the config files.
But for the average user an easy to use desktop environment, they don't care about how the system works underneath. They just want to get their work done the quickest and simplest way possible. Anything that can help to make their lives easier is going to make the distro more attractive to them and increase your audience.
Linux is like the German Reinheitsgebot (the regulation for brewing beer, only water, hops, malt and yeast can be used), for those interested in brewing, it is great. For those that just want to drink, it is irrelevant, as long as it tastes good. If you want to add fruit juice or something else to change the flavour, then it is no longer beer... For the drinker, they don't care, if it tastes good. The same goes for computer operating systems, most people don't care about what is underneath, as long as they can complete the task at hand with as little fuss and frustration as possible.