don't think we're going to get too far with this, mostly as I agree with you on most points as I've already said.
The main point I do disagree on is that using pre-built tools doesn't teach anything. Admittedly it doesn't teach you much about linux (no compile and dependency hell as you mention) but it gives people the opportunity to learn the tools and the processes. Not everyone wants to become an uber hacker, some just need to have the tools available to do a certain aspect of their job.
This doesn't necessarilly make for perfectly secure systems, but if a non-security admin can run db_autopwn at their environment and plug those holes it will enable them to move their environment from the 'low hanging fruit' level of targets. Not ideal, and certainly not 100% (not possible I know) secure, but often this is acceptable risk for the business in question.
Regarding the 'confidence in your tools' thread I'm sure you would have confidence in your tools, so would I; but for someone new to the scene is nmap showing no open ports becuase nothings listening? or because I cocked up my build? I agree that the mainstay of packages can be easily installed by source or package management, but in the later case you'll learn no more than using a live distro, the system handles the 'black-magic' for you.
Possibly I'm coming from a biased basis as I started off using Backtrack, before migrating to the real-deal. I agree 100% that there are some completely n00b questions asked on the remote-exploit forums by those without the prerequisite knowledge for the material in hand, the same as we occasionally see on EH-Net, and I've seen over at LSO. But generally these people don't get the quick fix that they're looking for and go back to the Wii.
As we agree that Backtrack (et. al) is a good tool, but a full OS is preferable and even advisable, can I suggest we agree to disagree on the other points and I'll buy the first round if we meet in r/l?
P.S. Shakuni, sorry for the slight thread hi-jack, if you're still running with your trials let me know how you get on, could be interesting