Most of you reading this probably have a lot of broken harware after smashing screens, keyboards and god knows what. Setting up the User Profile stuff in SharePoint 2010 is hell. But after tips and tricks you actually might succeed! Look at this to get details of how it really works http://www.harbar.net/articles/sp2010ups.aspx
Followed it by the numbers but still, things got stuck when starting the User Profile Synchronization Service. ULS said a lot of strange stuff, like a service was too busy or that the proxy for User Profile Service application couldn't be found.
A few broken keyboards later I found a strange thing in the event viewer for security. An audit failure for the user profile service account. A classic NULL SID, and the DisableLoobackCheck trick in the registry did not solve it. A closer look at the failure reason: "The user has not been granted the requested logon type at this machine.". The logon type here is 4... googling... Aha, found it! A lot of posts out there says that the farm account must be able to logon locally and that it is set via the local security policy. But logon type 4 does NOT mean "logon locally". It means "log on as a batch job"!
Looking in the local security policy shows that the Performance Log Users group is allowed to logon as a batch job. A little reminder in my head rang a bell. I recall seeing that somewhere out there (wouldn't surprise me if it is the microsoft documentation :) ) Another reminder told me something about the default schema set in the databases (Profile DB, Social DB, Sync DB). Some people out there say something about a bug and that the default schema should be set to dbo.
Trying all this... I can now feel safe to buy a nice keyboard!
That stuff about the Performance Log Users group seems to be important for other service applications aswell. Have no idea why these things aren't set correctly in the current farm though.