what some people see as fragmented, i see as choice. this is the beauty of linux, and not a detriment.
you want an easy distro, packed up and ready to go? go for something like Mint or Ubuntu.
you want to roll up your sleeves and build the whole thing from scratch? go for Arch or Gentoo.
this is not a bad thing. this is Linux being flexible enough for all kinds of users, unlike Windows and even OSX.
the idea that Linux is somehow deficient and needs to be more like Windows in order to "make it" or "catch up" is, frankly, absurd. that's just buying into the proprietary system of controls that Microsoft helped define. if anything, Microsoft's proprietary control system does nothing more than consolidate power and money into their hands while breeding the kind of lowest common denominator conformity that is holding operating systems back.
GNU/Linux is the progressive OS. it forges a different path, and people should really start to consider what it means to be free to live and create, as opposed to living in someone else's gilded cage.
as for hardware compatibility, look at my sig rig. that's high end hardware built for gaming. i run solely Linux, and i love it.
take some time, think about what's important to you. try the Linux challenge. most of the accusations against Linux in this thread are nothing more than poorly formed, outdated myths.
and just fyi, my 64-bit Flash works fine (for, ya know, Flash)