There have been more than one time when an
apt-get update && apt-get dist upgrade on Debian/sid beamed me directly to the Planet of Unintended Consequences, and I wish I could wave a magic wand and get my system back. As it was, I had to go through and manually fix and reinstall packages.
I guess I come at it from quite a different perspective. I have been doing Linux for nearly 22 years, so when I started with Linux, it was far smaller than BSD is now. So I'm used to having to find workarounds. That said, I am sitting on my TrueOS box running KDE, with most all of the stuff I used on Debian/sid before. I did have to put my wife's machine back on Debian because the TV app that she liked didn't work on Free/PC-BSD, because of the differences between V4L and the way BSD does it, and she didn't like any of the BSD TV apps.
That said, I have set up a number of appliances. I am running a FreeNAS box, and a pfSense box, and they are running like tops. I even had a drive fail in my FreeNAS, and it was as easy as it said on the tin. Get the offline the failed disk, replace the physical drive, then click "Replace Disk" and let it resilver. There was also no functionality loss from my IPtables box to the pfSense box. Everything including VPN works for a treat.
Remember that TrueOS was still in alpha or maybe early beta then, and is considered beta now. Especially back then, updates were...spotty. This is kind of a strange time for the project. They rebranded from PC-BSD to TrueOS, and went from being based on -RELEASE to -CURRENT (rolling release), So there is still a lot of churn.
That said, I have still had more issues with Debian and some of their critical and grave bug reports, which seem to have gotten much worse over the past few years...And I have been running Debian since 1999.
Well, first of all, there are quite a few OSX boxes at Linux conferences too...Now that said, I know that both Kris Moore (TrueOS' lead developer and Allan Jude (ZFS/FreeBSD dev) run (or multiboot) TrueOS and/or FreeBSD.
The bottom line is that Mac (and to an extent windows) have infiltrated the open source community. I personally prefer the open source desktop; I used to run Enlightenment back in thhe day, and have been on KDE for years. And I wouldn't say that the developers "aren't interested" in the desktop. You have to admit that more and more of the desktops are making it difficult for the BSDs. For instance, Gnome has a given their undying love to systemd, and made it a hard dependency. None of the BSDs use systemd, which means they spend untold hours making it work for BSD by ripping out that dependency. That said, jave you taken a look at Lumina? Written by Ken Moore (Kris Moore's brother), this is the first BSD-native desktop. I would have to say that it seems that there is at least some interest in the desktop.