a parallel universe. I don't know what Linux distro you're using that you're having so much problems with your hardware, but I do know that I'm a happy Debian user for 8+ years. My family has 3 laptops and 2 desktops (built by me from parts bought at newegg.com) all running Debian Linux testing and one person has a mac laptop.
I've got 30,000+ software packages available to me from Debian's repositories, all of them tested before I install them. I don't have to deal with downloading funky software packages from questionable websites. I just do a sudo apt-get install and I'm good to go. Debian was so stable that I decided to upgrade the software on my workstation every day with a sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade for 3 1/2 years without problems.
I use KDE on my workstation an LXDE on my 7 year old laptop. Everything "just works" for me. Either I'm missing something or you folks must be using some really sucky Linux distro.
Maybe it's the hardware. I always check to make sure the hardware works with vanilla Linux. Are you folks using hardware made straight from Redmond? Are you using those funky windows drivers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NDISwrapper)? I wouldn't trust that steaming pile for anything. Don't ever use a windows driver on your Linux machine. That's just insane.
If you've never heard of Debian Linux, do yourself a favor and check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian_Linux
Ubuntu Linux is based off Debian, except Ubuntu is about the bling, Debian is about the stability.