davej's talk on why user space sucks was really good. he'll be giving it again at akademy, so definitely check it out.
but to be fair to user space devs, it's not like the kernel devs are imbued with magic powers either. i've been having fun with linux on my laptop for two reasons beyond the usual "suspend working depends on the astrological chart of the day": the sky2 driver and partition checks. perhaps these are both problems with the ubuntu kernel only, but perhaps not ...
so, the sky2 driver was really broken when i first installed dapper on here. it often wouldn't even let me get an ip address over dhcp. it's slowly gotten better and now only dies every once in a while if there's sustained traffic in the 100-200k/s range. after one kernel update it would cause a kernel panic, but now it just stops working and i have to reload the driver. i understand the suse people have patches for this problem and they claim it works perfectly on opensuse. i wouldn't know because the machine i have opensuse on doesn't use the sky2 driver. but if this information is correct, why the hell isn't this patch shipping everywhere? thankfully wireless works like a champ so i'm only occasionally stuck with ethernet and the sky2 flakiness.
my favourite issue is with fsck on boot. currently an fsck is forced on every 30th power cycle. with a laptop, that happens fairly quickly. on a server that can and should be a long time between fsck's, and most desktops are probably similar.
but for someone travelling about turning the laptop off is often required, such as when getting on an airplane. given that suspend usually works, but not always, i also end up shutting down more than i'd like to. this means i get fsck's fairly regularly, which aren't exactly swift on a 100gb disk. i have two problems with this:
it's my computer. it's my file system. it's my data. software should never, ever, ever force something like an fsck on me unless the filesystem is having actual problems. preventative maintenance must be optional. why?
because maybe i need to boot up to find something in my email and i only have a couple of minutes to do so. the fsck comes up and i'm screwed.
or perhaps i need to look something up and i'm on battery and don't have the power left for a full fsck. i often drain my laptop down to <5% battery on the airplane, giving me enough juice for an emergency boot in the airport/cab/wherever in case i need to. an fsck would be very, very bad at this point. i was told by one kernel dev that the fsck only happens when there is power and i believed him. foolishness. =) for just the other day i powered up unplugged at a coffee shop and the fsck started. great way to waste my battery.
so if one can honestly say user space sucks (and it does ;) then at least we have good company when it comes to the linux kernel. =P