Contributing To a Project With a Reclusive Maintainer?
Even supposedly active, sponsored projects like Eclipse's JDT code seem to suffer from decent patches with proper regression tests being ignored for months. My only advice if you can't make the developer(s) take notice is to maintain your own branch / patchset. Forking generally is to be avoided if possible, particularly if you only want to augment the code or change tiny bits of it.
What Should People Understand About Computers?
I think you miss the point entirely. Your post contains vast amounts of fluff. Techies will know all this. Non-techies won't get further than "A "folder" is a container that can contain many files, can contain folders, and can be found in a folder." and people in-between will get bored while trying to find the things they don't know in the cruft.
Don't bore the user with applications - they won't know what Open Office is, or care. If you're writing a book, they'll also be out of date in a year.
Something more like:
Files are like bits of paper - they contain your actual data. Folders are where you keep your files, just like in a filing cabinet. Unlike normal cardboard folders in a filing cabinet, you can nest folders inside one another, as deep as you like.