Every time I start work based on the next Debian platform my love of Linux dies a little more... In the early days of AV Linux I had a great setup that used JACK and the kernel aloop (ALSA loopback) module and a python daemon. The system booted, started JACK invisibly and all the User knew was that JACK and ALSA stuff all just worked automagically, routing stuff was pretty much limited to your imagination... Enter PulseAudio which really didn't solve any meaningful problems for AVL Users because JACK and ALSA were already routing everything to the selected JACK Audio device, PulseAudio at first was completely optional and didn't put it's tentacles into places it wasn't needed until Distributions made it a hard Dependency for pretty much every common Desktop Environment and Web Browsers started being built with PulseAudio support ONLY etc. etc. and from there PulseAudio was here to stay and had to be reckoned with even though it really was of no benefit to Multimedia production workflows and I see the exact same scenario playing out with PipeWire.
I went back to Windows (10) a couple of years ago after leaving it at Windows XP in the mid-2000's for Upscaling AI workflows that aren't available on Linux. I installed Windows myself and shut off as much of the ad targeting and data collection as I could and after a couple of years I haven't had one bad update, the system has never frozen or glitched once (it took several Kernels to support my Threadripper CPU without random lockups on Linux) my Windows XP-era Video Toolbox apps VirtualDub and filters all still work, my most ancient of Windows VST Plugins work and every piece of my Audio equipment has an ASIO driver and some sort of useful Control UI and I can run Audacity, Ardour, Mixbus and energyXT (my main Audio apps) all natively on Windows... Kdenlive, Shotcut, Openshot and others are all there for the choosing as well..
Then I look at Debian Bookworm; Sysvinit, systemd, runit, GTK2, GTK3, and (shudder) GTK4/libadwaita... QT5, QT6... Plasma, Gnome, Cinnamon, XFCE4, LXQT, Enlightenment, Budgie (that's the surface only...) PulseAudio/PipeWire...Snap/Flatpak/Appimage... LADSPA,LV2,VST,VST3,CLAP and on and on and on.
I'm a pragmatist and I've run my own business since 1989 to live and I balance that with being a so-called artist and fairly independent thinker so I try to be open-minded but the way things are done in the Linux world under any other sort of productivity paradigm is just ludicrous... like seriously WTF!? I'm getting older and my bullshit tolerance has disappeared with my hairline and I'm teetering on the edge of calling bullshit on the whole thing.. Choice...? Freedom...? GRUB2, SystemD, PulseAudio, and now PipeWire all have a history of being 'new choices of doing things' and since evolved into the only way of doing things unless you want to use Slackware or compile every single application on your system yourself to circumvent all this stuff. Wasn't that the major downside of Windows/OSX? We had to do it 'their way'? Well Linux is no escape from 'their way' it's just different people calling the shots, people who usually aren't accountable to anyone else (ie Shareholders) and decisions without accountability that often lack any reasonable foundation other than getting the publicity of doing it your way instead of making the existing way better..
I LOVE Linux, I've given 15 years of my spare time and effort to it and I used to (and still want to) believe in the altruism and grass roots community it fosters but it's also death by 1000 cuts and it seems more aimless, divided and untethered than ever..
Maybe Lou Reed says it better; 'Set free to find a new illusion'