> 1) Random documentation (poorly cross-referenced, often out of date etc;
> the amount of crap still kicking about for Dapper is depressing)
Well, the documentation in Debian is one of it's strong points,... So I wouldn't say Ubuntu's problem (according to you) is consistent across all the distributions..
> 2) Obscure/Poorly explained architecture (GDM, X11, decorators,
> gstreamer, pulseaudio...ARG! What is all this crap?)
Eh? The X11 stuff is an industry standard and has been for decades. There is also tons of documentation specific to Xorg's X11 implementation. GDM, Window decorators etc are pretty simple things in comparison to X.
> 3) Needing a degree in computer science to get networking going
You can't operate <insert some network manager frontend here>???
>4) Needing a PhD in computer science to try (note the word "try") and set-up a firewall!
There are literally hundreds of iptables scripts that simplify the process, there are even GUI tools. I suggest you look up firehol which is a very good example of an iptables script.
> 5) Terrible printer support
Do a test print from a recent version of CUPS and read along the bottom where the copyright notices are. Look out for a certain type of fruit.