Sadly, the most common work-a-round for folks is to buy some "on sale" laptop with a Windows sticker on it, followed by formatting and installing Linux onto it. Then a few hours later they take to their distribution's forums complaining about some random compatibility issue. Until people start buying from vendors who actually verify component compatibility carefully, I don't see this problem changing anytime soon. These vendors will remain online only, which is truly unfortunate.
Speaking for myself, I only buy computers built for Linux, assembled by Linux users. Extreme as it may sound and it may even cost a touch more, I've found I have never had any issues with compatibility since taking this stand.
Video drivers – It's 2014 and we're still relying on proprietary video drivers. Open Source AMD drivers outshine NVIDIA's Open Source driver, whereas the reverse is true with the closed source drivers for the same cards. The video driver situation is still a mess and it's such a pain, even Linus himself has expressed his displeasure.
My solution to dealing with video drivers is to use the Open Source option whenever possible. While gamers may have to give in to have a decent gaming experience, most people can do anything they need to with the Open Source video drivers, which often present less hassles than those closed source in nature. Far from perfect, it's a work-a-round that has provided the most consistent results overall. Someday, however, new and inventive efforts to re-invent the video driver strategy for Linux could take root.
Setting up gaming mice – Despite the fact that modern USB mice and touchpads are automatically detected in today's Linux distributions, sadly, setting up a specialty gaming mouse is hardly plug-n-play. In a Windows world, one would simply run the included software to set up the mouse. For Linux users, however, it isn't this easy. One of the better howtos for setting a gaming mouse illustrates how this issue would mystify most casual users. Unlike a standard mouse, gaming mice have a multitude of buttons that require configuration. And since Linux on the desktop lacks software for this, it presents an interesting challenge.
At this point, you're looking at button mapping if you want a fully functional gaming mouse. Certainly not an impossibility, however it's still a challenge that most of us don't want to bother with. Speaking for myself, the last gaming mouse I owned I simply remapped the buttons to suit my needs. It was a pain, but with some practice, it's not as difficult as you might think.
There's likely something I'm forgetting as I list off my top Linux frustrations. Thankfully many of these issues are either being worked on or simply have usable work-a-rounds to prevent me from pulling my hair out.
Despite any challenges I face on the Linux desktop, it's still the best desktop computing experience I've ever had. Perhaps best of all, anything that crops up won't require me to wait on some multinational corporation to release a fix for it. While bug fixes happen all the time, Linux is flexible enough that the end user can usually make a go of it, without too much trouble.
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