>I think user expectations on what distributions can accomplish with resources at hand are not calibrated to reality that the open desktop related software is going under heavy development.
Insert upstream projects into that statement.
This highlights a fundamental problem with the desktop.
If you look at server applications, for the most part when they are stable, they cover the use patterns of many, and people are content to stick with what works. New feature requirements are there, but the pace of implementation is slower. The software usage corresponds more to how a desktop application uses a library. Stability stability stability.
The desktop is much different. If I run across some new gizmo, I may be the one informing the developer of the need. And I want it right now. Or I am anxiously awaiting the ability to do something that another platform does with ease. I will use code written yesterday for that reason.
A stable LTS release is useless for the desktop unless there is a very limited usage pattern.
Of course, when I am that close to the edge, things will break.
It isn't a management issue. It is simply that the desktop isn't done, and every improvement is important. Reality forces developers to throw stuff away from time to time to get to the next level of capability.
And the very odd thing is that for a number of years, I've been running KDE from svn. Build every few days. Other than the very early KDE4 time, it works very well.