I was thinking just this morning how absurd it is that the world of IT, to a large extent, accepts M$ as the font of all knowledge in IT. That is an absurdity. Locutus had the same idea recently. Why do people who suffer malware, slowing down, unbootability, crashes and re-re-reboots keep buying from the same unreliable suppliers? Too many seem not to know there is a choice. The retailers fall into that category. If they know there is a choice they would stock it just like they do tires.
Imagine what would happen if Goodyear started selling only tires for Hummers? Would you go out and buy a hummer? That’s what M$ wants folks to do with “7″. We only sell “7″ so you’ll have to go out and buy a new PC to get it. 90% do not install an OS so they have to buy a PC to get “7″. We would laugh at Goodyear and buy some other brand. That’s what folks should do with operating systems. Buy a different brand. You’ll get what you pay for and not some lock-in to a monopoly.
There are plenty of folks selling PCs with another OS. Just use Google or go to LXer. The most popular brand of GNU/Linux for newbies is Ubuntu on desktops and notebooks and Android for smart-thingies. Ubuntu really makes an effort to produce a system easy for newbies. Once you are comfortable with GNU/Linux in Ubuntu, I would recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it gives much more control over the system. Android is a quite different GUI placed on top of GNU/Linux designed specifically for smart-thingies. It is probably the best OS for smart-thingies because of the huge number of applications you can get for it.
Do not accept the facade of Wintel. There are other platforms out there and they will work for you. You will be able to save money and/or get better hardware too.
One more thing. There are folks who believe “you get what you pay for” in software licences. Consider this. M$ spent $billions developing Vista and “7″ after XP. They recoup all their costs every quarter or two. So you pay for more than what you get with that other OS. GNU/Linux also costs $billions to produce and you get it at no cost for the licences, just the cost of copying and installation. You can do it yourself. Typically, a download burnt to a CD from which you boot gets the job done. It takes about half an hour for a newbie on a newer PC. An older PC might take an hour or a bit more. How can GNU/Linux cost so little? The world needs software and can make its own. There are far more people contributing to GNU/Linux than to that other OS and each gets to use the whole thing. They let you use if for free because they make their living by other means than selling licences. It’s that simple. Developers who are paid to write software do not need to sell you a licence. The employers of those developers need the software their employees produce to run their businesses. They are not in the business of selling licences. GNU/Linux is a cooperative product of the world. Think cooperation, not licensing fees. The licence under which most GNU/Linux is distributed is the GNU GPL (GNU Public Licence) which gives you permission to use, examine, modify and copy/distribute the software. GNU calls it Free Software, not because of the price but because of those four freedoms. It’s just a better way to do IT.