This is, at best, extreme historical revisionism or selective memory.
Not really. Take a look on this list: maemo 4.0.x is not API compatible with earlier releases, maemo 4.0.x is not API compatible with earlier releases. That's version 4 and 5 - supposedly well-developed, mature, releases.
What killed the whole thing was endless Gtk/Qt switching, requiring everyone to rewrite their apps time and again, thus effectively discouraging anyone from writing any.
This was just a final nail in the coffin. Compatibility problems plague all Linux distributions which are built on top of "normal" CADT libraries - and these libraries can only be used because RPM/APT keep everything together. Worse, RPM/APT masters force "no old, obsolete libraries" (thus "no compatibility with old system") model.
This has nothing to do with RPM/Apt (dpkg).
Not with RPM/APT per se, no. But the attitude of RPM/APT users (distribution packers) when they are confronted with the need to keep bazillion old libraries and kludges needed to keep backward compatibility? Absolutely no for bundled libraries! Old, obsolete versions are not acceptable! Kill them! Kill them with fire! Conicidently this attitude also kills all the chances for the third-party developers support and thus mainstream acceptance.
P.S. I'm not saying Android, iOS, Windows Phone and others are paradise in this regard. They also have compatibility problems, and when compatibility is broken it's "big deal"™. With "traditional" Unix distributions it's something normal and expected - and Linux desktop not only just inherited this poison, it made more more potent.
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