I think most of the problems we see are because development of different parts of the system are at different levels of development when the OS is built. What I mean by that is that Ubuntu Developer's include packages that have not yet reached maturity and never update them. For example, Brasero does not work right with DVDs in Hardy and Intrepid. Will it ever get fixed? No. Maybe somewhere down the road Brasero will work right again but not in Hardy or Intrepid.
The version of xorg in Intrepid is terrible! While you are able to change the screen resolution for the desktop there is no known way to change it for the GDM. The default resolution for my 17" CRT is so bad I would need a magnifying glass to be able to read any text! Ok, I will settle down on this one.
The point is that the problem will never be fixed.
Until development is on an even plain there will continue to be breakage and regressions. My way of dealing with problems has been to try and refine what works with my hardware. I am still using Elyssa Main Edition with some fixes and updated packages from getdeb.net. I have a nearly perfect working system other than Brasero, (I use the built in Gnome burning app to work around the problems with Brasero). My hardware for the most part has native support so the Hardy based Elyssa release is a good choice for me. I know I do at least 400 or so updates to have things working well and to have all of the memory leaks taken care of.
Ubuntu development seems to be a roll of the dice. Everything is an "upstream" issue as far as Ubuntu development goes. Ubuntu development seems to be, throw it all together and hope for the best. Did you notice the new features that were added to Intrepid that did not even work? Can someone tell me what Ubuntu developer's actually develop? Fred compared Ubuntu to a "House of cards", and it is the best illustration of how things are right now.
Distributions like Debian, sidux and Mepis to name a few seem to do more actual development than Ubuntu does and they have very few developer's in comparison to Ubuntu. In my opinion, if Ubuntu did not get their packages from Debian the OS would be a complete failure. Have you ever reported a bug in Launchpad? What a joke! The bug report is shuffled around and usually added to a completely unrelated bug. The only way to get any action on a bug report is to get others to help you to flood the report with responses! If you can get a lot of people involved you might see a fix but most likely you will see "upstream" bug throughout the bug report. Maybe I am confused by what the term "development" actually means? To me development means to work on something to reach a level of functionality and quality.
I will stop my ranting and get off my soap box now.
I just get frustrated by all of the bugs and regressions I see.