The trade off is often money fortime, and the market reflects that. Tools aimed at “pros” tend to be expensive because they are based upon the money saved by their market. Few amatuers or casual users will fork out thousands of dollars for software in order to save a bit of time–even if it would be cost-effective for them, since many people never bother to do cost-benefit analysis.
The most promising or also often called best Linux free video editor of all, OpenShot has a long history of development and should be mature and stable. I downloaded the latest Openshot from its PPA since the one in the main Ubuntu repositories is, rather perplexingly, a very old and outdated version. Once OpenShot is opened, it appears very easy to use. The default layout is simple and intuitive, and there are even hints that pop up the first time you use it! I drag-and-dropped a few videos I had taken in preparation for this post, and boy, was I disappointed with this so-called best Linux video editing software.
Like you, I’ve never been able to keep Cinelerra open for more than 10 minutes but in my case, the reason wasn’t the ugly UI. The problem is rather that it is a total crashfest! I do not know a single piece of software under Linux that exhibits that many lockups, race conditions, segfaults etc etc. Heck, on my system, it can’t even load a project that it saved 2 minutes earlier without crashing and that sadly ruins the featurewise winner of the competition completely.