To a good degree I also understand your views. With little difference in life experience and/or at a different age, and with no reference to older/younger, and with no reference of being younger/older being better/worse, I am sure I would have made a different decision I might have very well followed your philosophy. I think this is true, because I learned quite a lot about brain research which helped a lot in my life. "The system" confirmed, that with testimonies. My case could end up in a book some day.
Gnome, Unity. Windows 8.1
As for Gnome 3 / Unity, I personally don't like their new usability approaches either. That's subjective. But I must admit, that I got accustomed. Certain paths are burned into my brain. Therefore I can't be the objective judge if their approach is in fact more effective, at least for people who begin to learn those environments from scratch. I'd like to see double blind usability studies of Gnome 2 vs Gnome 3 vs Unity to get some data what really is better.
Discussing Windows in this mix is difficult, because of their market power. People must change to Windows 8.1, because people get forced to by microsoft. The path of least pain and resistance for them is is to swallow what microsoft is throwing at them. Many people making a living require Windows. Many accounting, tax, graphics is only available for Windows and/or the getting the Linux alternatives running isn't the path of least pain and resistance. (Well, if more people were encouraged to use their brains and had time, we wouldn't need accounting/taxes system anyway, but that's a different story.) Also gamers must use it. So Microsoft has an advantage here. If they think they can improve usability, they are in power to require pain by people to get used to it.