Linux is cool, but Microsoft isn't always that bad. Sure they try to muck-up standards and abuse their monopoly to suppress competition, but I think Apple is worse. Oh you wanted to watch videos on our free video player in full screen? Pay up. Windows media player may suck but they don't do stuff like that to you. Last time I tried to watch a DVD on linux it was horrible compared to PowerDVD on Windows.
I've been completely Windows-free and it is do-able if you're commited to it. But the truth is each system has flaws and annoyances, and also strengths. They're just tools, it's better to try to evaluate your needs and use the tools that are best suited to what you are attempting to do. I try to do my sensitive stuff on linux where I feel more secure, and gpg is built into KDE so it's easy to encrypt and decrypt things, and I'm not so worried about key-loggers and trojans. Windows has a lot of fun stuff like Stardock WindowBlinds for example which make it look really good. If you want to write music, the PC with VST plugins is a much better choice than Linux. If you want to run a reliable network service, then linux or BSD is definitely the way to go.
I tried to go all Windows again based on some of its merits, but I just couldn't do it. I like linux ideals. It's cool that you can get down to the source code level and custom compile everything with all the options you want and none of the extras (I've done this). It's cool that they work for open documented inter-operable standards so different systems can still exchange data, and if someone gets angry they can't take their toys and ruin the party for all the other kids. The other problem is the "IP intellectual property" legal thing and software patents which are allowed in the US. So a company can get a patent on something retardedly obvious and simple like a one-click checkout shopping cart for a website, and sue anyone else who does it. So there's things like that which linux has to dance around trying not to step on the tows of people who try to lock up ideas and be the gatekeepers demanding money etc. That's why Fedora doesn't ship with an XMMS player that can play mp3. Sure it's a quick fix to find a version compiled with mp3 support, but the legality of it is grey in some places.
You can do pretty much all the basic desktop stuff in linux no problem, browse the web/email, etc. The new installers for distros like SuSE, Kubuntu, and Fedora might even be easier than Windows now. So things are coming along. I'm hoping eventually it takes over because the basic platform gets advanced enough and is out there for free that everyone decides to build on it. And that seems to be happening. Embedded devices is one example.
Another cool thing is the concept of a linux "live cd". If you're curious about trying it out, you can download and burn a cdrom "live cd" of linux. What that means, is that once the disk is burned, you can reboot your computer, and boot from the cdrom drive with the live cd, and linux will startup, all the way to the desktop and you can play around, all without affecting your harddrive or (presumably) windows install. So to get rid of it, you just shutdown and restart the computer like you normally would and you're back in windows.
It's a great way to experiment with linux, without actually having to go through the trouble of re-partitioning drives, or reinstalling windows or anything. And with these little USB flash storage devices, you can actually get away with storing your data there. And take your O/S and data anywhere. So if you were traveling and wanted to use a friends computer, you could reboot on your live cd, and download and read your email to a flashdrive, without having to use their insecure/unknown state windows machine, worry about the security of it, besides physical keylogger devices, and keep all your data on an encrypted partition... well now I'm starting to sound paranoid. But the point is there are a lot of possibilities that you can custom taylor with a little work to your personal needs/taste just because you can.
http://www.knoppix.org/ they are one of the popular livecd distros if you want to check into it more.. or go see http://distrowatch.com ...which brings me to another thorny problem, there are so many distros. which one to try/use? all this flexibility has led to many ways of doing things and lots of fragmentation. Different package managers and philosophies... But lately [k]ubuntu has been a linux darling. http://www.ubuntu.com ... oh yeah on linux there are 2 major desktop environments, KDE (Kubuntu), and Gnome (Ubuntu). There is no war between them. Just different choices...
"Ubuntu is an age-old African term for humaneness - for caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation. As an ideal, it promotes co-operation between individuals, cultures and nations."
"Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are". The Ubuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.
Leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy, vs the big cold corporate monopoly fist... So I'm definitely a fan of linux, but it's not all roses, but it is getting better. Depending on what you do with your computer, it does some things much better than the competition... okay rant off. sorry I rambled on and the grammer errors ...