I have to say I sympathize with the author's frustration. Having used linux exclusively as my desktop OS for more than 10 years, I can work around the kind of issues he describes. But trying help new users make the transition to desktop linux is often heart breaking.
Current example that illustrates the article's point:
My HP DV1000 laptop has run Ubuntu 10.04 since it was released. However I had to follow Kernel Backports for about six months before it stopped having display lockups. Opensource driver, Intel chipset. Anyway now I would like to upgrade to 12.04 LTS, so I've been testing the beta releases. Imagine my disappointment to learn that the Intel chipset wireless (ipw2200) doesn't work with 12.04. Apparently I've been bitten by bug 908380, as have many others, since it is marked as a duplicate of more than 40 other reported bugs. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/network-manager...
You'll notice if you look at the linked page that this bug is marked as "Fix Released". The fix is that Network Manager Applet doesn't crash while NOT connecting to WPA secured networks. This is a "cool new feature" as opposed to the nm's old behavior of not crashing while connecting to WPA secured networks.
Yes I can work around this. Simply by removing Network Manager and installing WiCD. But why should I need to when this hardware has worked with previous versions of this same distro for years. And how can linux newbies be expected to jump through this kind of hoop to make friends with a new OS experience.