Wow, that’s not been my experience at all. I’ve been using PCLinuxOS, with KDE GUI. On any given day, I’ll have Firefox open to FR (of course) and my webmail, several “Word” documents open for editing (LibreOffice), perhaps a spreadsheet also, and an mp3 music program going in the background. Never one crash in almost two years. What kind of and how much stuff did you have open to make the GUI crash?
I was using Gnome, not KDE. As I said, KDE took too much getting used to.
As far as what kind and how much stuff did I have open, this was last summer and into the fall, so memories have faded, but I was trying to get my feet wet a little. I was using Firefox. I was opening files using one of the file opening utilities (don’t remember which one). I was loading new apps to try them out.
Sometimes I had to switch to one of the command-line terminals to do something related to the front end. Sometimes I did this by means of a terminal app, and sometimes I did it by means of F1-F6.
I was trying all kinds of things to try to figure out whether I could make the jump and abandon Windows completely. Believe me, the idea of switching Windows off forever was an appealing one, and still is.
I installed Ubuntu from the Ubuntu website. I burned an installation disk which got the process started, and went through a plain-vanilla install of the latest distro at that time (which was - if I recall correctly - “Oneiric Ocelot”).
Then we began to get more experienced Web development people involved, and they said “oh, you should switch to CentOS, it’s more stable, it’ll be easy to switch.”
It may in fact be more stable, but it wasn’t easy to switch (there were several “small” differences that each took a day or two to deal with).
I’m sure I can install a GUI onto CentOS, but we’ve moved all our servers to a remote colo (in another city), and I control everything through SSH and various consoles (Webmin, SWAT, and Subversion Edge, among others).
For every day stuff I still use Windows, as I said. I like it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good, and is less “high maintenance” than Linux was for routine stuff.
Using Linux for everyday computer apps is like using a high-performance Italian sports car for tooling around town. You can do it, and it’s fun, but you pay for it in downtime, fooling around with tweaks and occasional deep dives under the covers.
You pay for using Windows too, but in money. As long as you stay within Microsoft’s “consumer” pricing model, the price/problems ratio is acceptable.
When you move to their “commercial server” price model, forget it. In fact, that’s why we moved our servers over to Linux (after buying several copies of W2K8 R2 and getting several more “development licenses” from MS, revokable at any time at their whim).