I got a stark reminder of just how much Windows used to annoy me earlier. I was repairing a PC for somebody, and they had installed Norton (sigh), it somehow managed to completely mangle the MBR so using the disks supplied with the PC i set to sorting that for them, it took 3 hours to do this and then reported that an error had occurred, please leave CD in the tray and reboot. OK so its not entirely the fault of Windows, but I have never expereinced anything like that on Linux - Oh apart from when i made a typo in lilo.conf
but all the same that took a boot disk and 30 seconds to fix.
I don't think I will ever go back to Windows, they have a very long way to go to reach the quality and customisabliity I am used to, sadly they seem to be going the opposite direction. In terms of your comment that there is a bigger customer base, has it occurred to you that there is also far far more competition? Nearly any program you write for windows you can almost garantee there is another program that does the same thing. Granted its not all that different in Linux. Hardware support is definitely an issue, but then I have never had any hardware I cant access/use through linux. Some took a lot more work to get running, but for example my ATI graphics card not only works, but works a hell of a lot better than it used to in Windows. Similarly I have alexmark printer installed, the supplied Windows drivers made sure that all prints were run through the supplied -oh so slow - software, yet I use it on Cups with no problem. Using Hardware on Linux is more or less all about putting some extra work in, granted for newer devices you have to wait a little longer until a project springs up, or write your own driver, but in the end it is usually worth it.
Oh and I think you are wrong with the way you evaluate the best distro, I think the best distro is always the 1 you feel most comfortable with, I hated windows because it didnt give me enough control, on the other hadn thousands of people love it because it is simplified in this way [/edit]