I never had any problem with matlab in Linux. You usually need some a little bit old libs, but if you install them its works as it should.
I do not completely agree with the last statement.
I don't want a single distro. I want something like a common core if possible. Something that guaranties interoperability. A set of libraries or tools or whatever in which the people above that layer can do whatever they want.
And not developing with ease of use in mind alienates the person that matters more. The user.