Yes, it was a pain to install Linux compared to the out-of-the-box experience with a Windows PC. But look what you got in return. I feel that Linux has received very little credit as an educational tool for computer scientists. It was the only way you could take a look into the internals of a full-fledged operating system. All those who managed to boot Linux from floppies know in detail all the issues in bootstrapping up to a fully running OS. Changing the scheduler or writing a serial driver became standard assignments in OS courses. I got used to UNIX permissions, system processes, inter-process communication. I appreciated memory management when I learned about compiling kernel drivers as modules. I can't think of how students saw all of these concepts implemented in a working system - you would just have to imagine it from the descriptions in textbooks or work with simulators.