Thanks for the input.
I understand what you are saying quite good.
However, the fact of the matter is there has been a computer paradigm shift.
Mainly due to the danger of the Internet to computer OS's.
This brings about the necessity to make a more secure OS on several levels.
This is what SELinux is doing, the newer GNC 4 compiler, etc.
Now one could compare the big 4 or 5 OS' and to see what that means.
Windows XP SP2 – a complete new system on a new compiler with NX (software page checks for code in data pages, less free buffer usage errors – they call them buffer overruns now a days. In my day they called it lazy programming, global variables, slack bytes in data definitions. It all amounts to bad programming.)
MAC OS X – Darwin on the BSD with all the things similar to it as above that Apple has added.
Solaris Unix – well who knows what is really new or old there but it is a major system.
Now we have FC3 – it now has new File Systems with added security attributes, better over all file protection for start up recovery. It even has rollback checkpoints for installs if one were to set that up. Yet to come will be shadow copy backup, snapshot backup and restore.
The old paradigms, of say Win 9x, where you could grab any old program off the net and install and run does not always fit into the new systems. The programs must meet security, driver, install, etc standards.
So we have the old and the new crashing into the end user's mind, and the thinking comes out like you have presented. But from my view, it is not the stability vs. the bleeding edge or security restriction vs. tinkering freedom, it is a leap to a new understanding of how all these need to work together in the new paradigm.
I do not consider FC to be bleeding edge if only using binaries and using up2date. In fact it is quite the opposite, it is the most stable, secure, reliable system on the planet (with the exception of being occasional mishaps with the system software but mostly related to the applications. Even so, these are fixed faster than Microsoft, Sun, or for that matter, other Linux Disto's (especially considering the fact that there is now really only 2 distos, RH-FC, Damian – which is really old, and then BSD = which is really old, too.)
So the confusion for the masses, not the experts or hobbyists, is what happen?
It easy to understand if you just realize that the computer world has made a technological leap, and the base systems need to be adjusted to that paradigm. After that, you can choose you modus operandus.
But hanging behind on the new or trying to keep going on the old? Now that is what I call bleeding insanity.
FC3 with all the updates is as solid as a rock. It's secure. It's has applications that work well. I can be fiddled with to no end. And you can always turn on the repros or roll your own.
FC4, FC 5, etc are the growth of the new paradim. I can only imagmine where it will be in 2 or 3 years. But I know where a lot of old OS's and programs will be. In the past.