I am an arctic bovine.
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My point wasn't that I personally lived an ethical life - far from it, I think that I could do much more than I currently do to make the lives of others better. Rather, my point was that it's theoretically possible to live a life that doesn't depend on the suffering of others. There's nothing intrinsic about pleasure that necessitates suffering.
But surely there's not a 1:1 ratio of the good things that you feel and the bad things that other people feel, right? Put another way, there must be some actions which are both good for you and not bad for others, or even just more good for you than they are bad for others.
Programming and contributing to open-source projects is a hobby enjoyed by many people, but it only serves to help other people by providing them with code. You could argue that they consume electricity or consumer goods like computers in the process, but even those things don't have to cause human suffering (the computer could be made entirely by robots, and could be solar powered).
You only have to stay away from actions which cause a net bad in order to remain an ethical person. You can do that and also enjoy life.
Addressing your points in order...
Configuration on Linux is hard if you don't know how your system works and you don't know how to use the command line. Personally, I have a fairly good grasp of how everything works together because I've been using Linux for a while. In fact, I'd say using the command line to configure things on Linux is significantly easier than configuring things on windows for me, because of things like the arch wiki and man pages, which have no good windows counterpart. As per you examples, what immediately comes to mind for screen tinting is xrandr and for track pad configuration is xinput.
The problem is (of course) as you stated: you don't have an in-depth understanding of Linux or bash, and I agree that simply to use a system you shouldn't need advanced technical knowledge. However, what should be and what is are different things. In this case, the only way you're going to be able to do the things you want to is learning the command line and general system configuration. I'm afraid that it's either that or not using Linux.
- Getting competent enough to actually fix stuff when it breaks feels comparable to learning a programming language (which, I'm sure, is in reality a huge exaggeration.)
Actually, bash is a programming language, so your statement is fairly accurate (if anything, learning to use Linux is more difficult that learning a single programming language). Don't be afraid of learning, though! Even very simple statements in bash can be very powerful, and it's not like you have to learn the whole language - command, flags, and piping work for a good 90% of day-to-day use.
As for the example you posted (as empty explained better than I ever could), the 's/^[^ ][^V].id=\([0-9]\)./\1/p' is a regex and is typically only used with sed on the command line. The rest of the command is fairly simple to read, once you think of it as "xinput list | sed -ne 'regex' while read id" (did I get that pipe right?). Even if you don't know exactly what the commands do you can get the gist of it.
For this, the only good solution is dual booting. Linux support is increasing mostly due to steam's push for steam OS, but it's still nowhere near the level windows support. I dual boot for games and although it's a bit of a hassle to reboot every time I want to play something, it's much better than the alternative.
I actually don't know much about Elementary other than it's supposed to be pretty. Between the two I'd recommend Mint because I know that it's a good OS, but again, I'm not familiar with Elementary.
Other choices you might want to consider: Ubuntu/*buntu, Fedora, Debian (stable or testing)
If you want to use Linux, and want to seriously configure your system, you're going to need to learn. There are a lot of resources online you can use, such as tutorials, wikis, and manual pages, but the number one thing that will make you proficient is time. Alternatively, if you want to not use Windows OR Linux, consider OSX. It's a decent non-windows operating system and requires none of the learning that Linux does.
I'm assuming you're talking about this post, which was an "experiment" done by a normal user counting the amounts of shares on posts. It was only statistics gathering. How would you opt-out of something like that?