Actually you are on to something with those sentiments.
The progression of time has seen the desktop partially replaced by laptops then laptops replaced by tabs, etc.
The main rub is desktops still remains supreme in versatility followed behind by laptops.
Tabs and such remain relegated mainly to pleasure mobile devices, they can't do what the former are capable of doing.
What MS decided to do was marry down the abilities of serious computing to tab, phones level...or at least make it more difficult to navigate to the heart of the OS.
On an elementary level of computing, tabs and such are close to what W8 tried to achieve....and as you pointed out Linux distros can do the same thing though without support for all that software out there that runs on Windows OSs.
I do wonder what happened at MS, were there any dissenting voices to heard about what the implications of this decision?
Perhaps the negative voices were told where the door was....?
Today wouldn't be too soon for them to put out a patch and put the start button back in.
Yeah, there are ways to reinstate the start program but they are not legit.
As stated before, there are multitudes that won't know how or plain won't install
a 3rd party start program to get W8 look like previous OSs.
They will simply send their computer back where they got it from hence we see
a company like Samsung making a public statement.
I do wish the major Linux distros would work on making more programs compatible
with their operating systems.
I sort of like Ubuntu.....