Unless you used an Amiga or MacOS, if you played a sound, that was it - no one else could play a sound (MacOS and Amiga had software mixers so you could listen to music AND hear application generated sounds - you could use exclusive mode if you needed it, though).
FreeBSD 4.x, also from the 90s, allowed you to play multiple sounds simultaneously. It used the same OSS code that Linux used ... but they enhanced it to support features Linux never did. Unfortunately, Linux devs continuted with their NIH syndrome and came up with ALSA as a fix for this non-issue. Even that didn't do all the things OSS did on FreeBSD, and eventually led to the development of the horrid PulseAudio (why fix the foundation when we can just paper over top). Other than a few network- and BlueTooth-related things, PA still doesn't work as nicely/smoothly as OSS on FreeBSD.
Fixing "exclusive sound" issues on Linux shouldn't have required a 10+ year commitment; but nobody wanted to fix OSS-on-Linux.
And your networking options were... single. You either had Ethernet, or a modem, and only one IP per host. And rarely did you move - I mean, if you were on Ethernet, it was assumed you were on the same network permanently, or at least changes were rare.
Been running wireless on laptops since the days of the Orinoco Silver and Orinoco Gold PCMCIA cards (aka before 802.11b). Windows 9x and FreeBSD never had issues with them. Plug the card in, dhclient runs, you have Internet access. Remove the card, connect the Ethernet cable, dhclient runs, and you have Internet access. Moving between networks would (rightly so) drop running connections, but everything worked. It did require a bit of manual configuration for the wireless side of things, but that was all in a single configuration file and easy to manage. And it got even easier in the early 802.11g days with the advent of wpa_supplicant.conf
Again, Linux devs and their NIH syndrome saw them go through multiple different wireless stacks, multiple different ways to configure things, and things were a mess! Each wireless driver included its own wireless networking stack, for pete's sake. And what you configured to work with one driver wouldn't work with the next. There was no centralised configuration file for wireless on Linux, although Debian got close with their wpa_supplicant extensions to /etc/network/interfaces. Once things were working nicely on Linux, the desktop devs came down with their own case of NIH and had to wrest control of wireless from the CLI guys, coming up with NetworkManager. And then WiCD. And a bunch of other alternatives to them. Now you couldn't configure wireless (or any networking) until after you logged into the GUI! (Unless you jumped through some hoops. Eventually, that was fixed.)
Users haven't gotten more complicated; nor have use-cases. But Linux desktop developers have certainly developed more complex cases of NIH and are constantly re-writing everything "just because", thus overly-complicating things. Things are not better now than they were 15 years ago on the Linux desktop. Especially not compared to other OSes out there. Even the other F/OSS OSes.