I also had major problems, both in my personal computer as in my girlfriend's notebook. I am a Gentoo user (but have another notebook with Ubuntu installed), so I could easily look out for the solutions --- or even report bugs when applicable. However, my girlfriend didn't have the same "luck", so she had to use Windows during a whole day before I could take a look and try to fix her Ubuntu.
Some FOSS projects (especially those sponsored by a company, like Red Hat's Archer project) have regular meetings via phone calls in order to discuss the status of the activities, decide about new features, etc. As a positive side effect, it makes the developers interact more with each other and create a stronger connection between them.