Why Linux, for the average user?
I've just spent the past 2 months setting up Linux and resolving its many incompatibilities with _everything_. And quite a few still remain.. such as the inability to both scale CPU frequency on my P4 Mobile CPU and play sound. WTF?
I've heard: Linux is user-friendly to the right people, free, stable, and fast.
I've found: Linux is user-friendly, if you like shells better than well-developed GUI tools.
I've found: Linux is free, as long as your time is worth nothing. (fine, I stole that one)
I've found: Linux is stable, if your hardware is perfectly generic, and you don't use any software.
I've found: Linux is fast, if your hardware *happens* to have good drivers for it.
I've found: -> Otherwise, just don't run any benchmarks.
I've found: Linux is nifty in its own way, and has some nice features.
I've heard: Windows sucks. Windows is unstable.
I've found: Windows sucks if you want to run a shell script from a terminal.
I've found: Windows is expensive, if it didn't come with your computer.
I've found: Windows is unstable, if you install it on a piece of burnt toast in a fishtank.
I've found: Windows is slow, if you have several major viruses.
I've found: -> Otherwise, underclock your CPU and re-run the benchmarks.
I've found: Windows is boring. I don't feel l33t when I use it.
In conclusion: I haven't booted in Windows for a couple months now. I really don't know why; it's an excellent OS, which doesn't randomly crash MSN, which doesn't give me grief about playing a game at the same time as listening to music, which has GOOD (read: unbroken) drivers for my radeon card, which supports my LCD's native 1280X800 resolution without tweaking, which actually recognizes a click in time to drag the desired window before the cursor leaves the titlebar... for which all software *just works* after installing, and can be easily uninstalled...
Why am I using Linux right now? I suspect it has something to do with the ability to shell-script, the transparency, desktop system monitors, and most of all, 3d-desktop. I really gotta say though, I've had it up to my ears with bad hardware drivers, incompatible kernel/drivers/software options, poorly documented configs, and insane build processes that whine about missing dependencies that are ALREADY FREAKING THERE, and IN THE CORRECT VERSION. And my old favourite, the lack of commercial-grade software. My gawd, are things rough around the edges! Even OpenOffice looks better and cleaner in Windows than in Linux. And things are *much* more tightly integrated in Windows, as far as the user is concerned, even if Linux often allows you to chain more diverse programs together to make nifty things happen.
Maybe I feel l33t this way. Or maybe I just like to be a survivor. Or, maybe I'm just an idiot. Probably all of the above.