I'm a long time Windows user, most of my current machines are Win7, one Ultimate, two Pro, one Home Premium and I still have one old XP machine. But with Windows 8 and the migration to mobile Microsoft seem hell bent on, I think this is the end of the Windows line for me.
I'm with "Cheapskate" Rick, Macs are too expensive, elegant as they may be. Tablets and fingerprint covered relatively tiny screens aren't for me, so I'm revisiting Linux. First encounters, more years ago than I care to count, were encouraging but fighting dependencies and trying to find drivers was little short of a nightmare. But time passes, so I decided to check on the current status.
I decided to use a separate machine for my check out, so I bought a pristine, ex-lease Lenovo T500 Thinkpad for $39 Australian at an auction house here! 15.4" screen, dual core 2.53 GHz processor - are you with me yet "Cheapskate"?
I installed OpenSuSE 13.1 with the KDE desktop. Wow, the Linux train has reached the station! Answer 3 or 4 questions, go make a coffee and 15 minutes later, a fully working Linux system, all internal components identified, drivers installed automatically and a firewall and anti-virus setup and configured. LibreOffice included and installed as part of the setup. For 90% of what I want, that's it, works straight out of the box!
Wired and WiFi networks setup and configured automatically, USB Webcam recognised and configured automatically, Laser printer recognised and a choice of drivers offered. The distribution DVD I downloaded was from December 2013, so there were quite a few updates to install. These were all presented, with any dependencies, for review and the installation took about 15 minutes to bring my system bang up to date. Restart? No, not necessary, Linux doesn't need that.
I still have a few more esoteric peripherals to check out and there are about half a dozen software programs I've still to do but this shouldn't be a problem from what I've seen so far.
Performance-wise, it knocks spots off an equivalently configured Win7 box and they are pretty good. 15 second startup to login screen, less than 10 seconds more to a fully ready desktop; shutdown, less than 3 seconds.
What's not to like? And all for change from 50 bucks! (OK, I was lucky with the auction!) I'm just about at the point that I'm going to switch to my Linux box for a month and check just what there is, if anything, that I can't do in my usual usage.
Points to note. It isn't Windows. The interface is similar but different, so there is a learning curve but likely less than the transition from Win7 to Win8. The learning curve (not yet complete, in my case) for applications will be longer - for example, the transition from Photoshop Elements to the GIMP will take a while! But there are equivalent but different alternatives for most Windows programs.
As Rick said, if you are happy with Windows, great, good for you. But if you are looking for an alternative and you need the power of a full PC, give Linux a try. I'd recommend OpenSuSE but that's just my personal preference, there are lots more to choose from, many just as easily "plug and play".