"Although you may have heard of Linux--super-stable, free,
doesn't suffer from Windows viruses--few people have used it on the
desktop. Unless you go looking very hard for one, you won't find a
retail machine with Linux pre-installed; Microsoft has in the past
put considerable pressure on PC manufacturers not to sell anything
besides Windows. And for manufacturers, there's little point in
bothering to put anything but Windows on--because that's what the
overwhelming majority of people want (initially). And if you want
to install Linux, you can.
"Of course, the reverse would be true if by some accident of
history Linux were the dominant PC operating system. Except there's
a big price difference: Windows will cost you around £80, but
Linux costs a few pounds for a 'distribution'--two or three CDs
containing a collection of the basic operating system, plus
programs for e-mail, web, writing, drawing, graphing, and so on,
all packaged in a GUI (graphical user interface)..."