All together now!
As a matter of fact, computer problems existing has little to do with what OS you use. I’ve seen Mac owners complain about various Mac problems and Linux users complain about various Linux problems. There is no such thing as “just works.” Windows does not just work. Mac OS X does not just work. Linux does not just work.
The only way around this I can see is a redefinition of the phrase just works. Here’s my new working definition:
Fill-in-the-blank operating system has caused me personally (and no one else necessarily) fewer problems than other operating systems I have used, and when I do encounter problems, they are ones I can tolerate and not big enough for me to abandon this platform for another one.
As someone who works in tech support, I can say that this is definitely true. It’s pretty much a level playing field with regards to the problems you will encounter.
For me, GNU/Linux is free, has a more consistent user experience, and has a great community in which to play a part (e.g. seeking the inevitable support, learning more, contributing yourself). That’s what gives it the advantage over Windows/OS X in my book.
So Windows Vista will come out (when it does) with 7 different versions. My first thought: “[Groan] Oh, that’ll be just great for support, trying to figure out which people are using and why ‘feature X works on my other computer but not on this one…’.” How can Microsoft tout usability and simplicity? Because most people don’t know anything else. For example, since switching to Linux, I use a filesystem that does not need defragmentation. It’s out there, but all Windows filesystems (don’t know about the upcoming WinFS, which apparently won’t be ready in time for Vista’s release anyway) need defragmentation. So, users have to remember, manually, to defragment their hard disk periodically or suffer a performance loss. (Windows does not automatically add defragmentation to their Scheduled Tasks.)
Second thought, from one of the comments at the Slashdot link: artificial limitations. Windows is making all of this stuff, but they’ll only give it to you if you pay more. This doesn’t even sound like a good business model, let alone the fact that GNU software is simply free: Word and Outlook, widely used applications, have limited imitations in Windows by default (WordPad and Outlook Express), because they can’t give away the major draw – MS Office – with the OS. Gosh.