A valid question has been raised regarding "Why should I try Linux (or any other alternative opsys, requiring some level of learning curve when I'm happy with Windows?" There are actually many reasonable answers such as "one can learn to get absolute control over one's computing environment, impossible in windows" but the most compelling answer has to do with the future both of computing and probably the very future of mankind. I don't want to digress here and now by getting deeply into that last part apart from suggesting that man's endeavors of virtually ALL sorts will increasingly depend on computers and that shapes our world to a tremendous and fundamental degree. It's not likely that computing is going to go the way of tape recording. It's far too fundamentally important and capable of evolving through all manner of techno development. Just because we may be using quantum based computers in 10-20 years doesn't negate the "computer" part.
Have you noticed how relatively inexpensive truly awesome Intel CPUs are nowadays? That fact is because AMD managed to convince enough people to try them out that they managed to survive and finally flourish against the 90% market share giant of Intel. Had AMD not hired the DEC Alpha boys (who created the Guinness Book of World Record holder back in 1995 or so for the Dec Alpha Processor which ran at 500MHz w/o a fan when Intel's best efforts couldn't exceed 200MHz) who helped AMD develop the Super 7 platform and Slot A, which was when Intel tried to kill off all competition by creating the Slot 1 platform, but most notably create the Athlon/Duron family of processors culminating in the first usable 64-bit processors, which software has yet to fully utilize but is getting there, just considerably slower than the adoption of 32-bit computing over 16-bit computing. AMD succeeded in a quantum leap of processing power which scared the beejesus out of Intel causing them to fire hundreds if not thousands of employees and to gear up bigtime to reclaim the crown they'd lost for a few years. It is possible to track CPU value per dollar levels over the years and see that it exactly parallels effective competition.
Also, aside from price, it is important to see that and how monopolistic power not only creates price gouging but also complacency and laziness. Necessity IS the mother of invention after all. When the Pentium IV first came out besides being abnormally hot due to wasteful processes designed by Intel to maximize mere clock speed at the expense of just how many instruction per clock were possible (Yes, Marie, it is possible for a 2.6GHz processor to actually be faster in operation than a 3GHz processor) in order to dupe non techie buyers into buying Intel - lazy. Intel had fought an uphill battle for the better part of a decade trying to get 64 bit working. AMD succeeded to such an extent that it was cheaper and ultimately smarter for Intel to swallow their pride (and hope non techie's wouldn't notice or understand) and simply adopt AMD's protocols. It is perhaps most important to recognize that although an Herculean effort and laudable success, AMD had it easy because adopting their product asked nothing of the end user. Many non techie users didn't then and don't now know what brand of CPU they have because they are all playing Intel's original game which is X86. It is Apple that took the more difficult route by using RISC processors (quite different from X86 in how code is written for them and what they can do) and dumping many legacy basics such as how much memory can be addressed by the CPU, certain bit limits and other restrictive boundaries. Microsoft chose to bet that people would be unwilling to part with old software just to get a better computing environment and that it would be easier to sell this idea than expect average users (especially back then in the dawn of the computer age) to even begin to understand why what Apple was attempting (and succeeding at, btw) was actually a huge quantum leap forward that would affect Computing (capital "C") for well over a decade and that the ripples would be actually felt for all time, sort of like the way child abuse affects the child for his whole life.
Now stay with me here because I swear I am truly not off topic here rambling on about Intel vs AMD or Microsoft vs. Apple. Because of what can easily be seen as pandering to the lowest common denominator (as well as a concerted campaign of FUD) Microsoft has enjoyed near monopolistic status for many years now and has in fact already squelched a number of substantially better alternatives. I don't mean that statement in any way to in "one swell foop" castigate Microsoft with the "broad brush" because Microsoft has admittedly created some truly admirable code on it's own and could not likely have persevered and flourished for so many years if it was all just brute, evil power and actually had no redeeming value of it's own. Even the Mafia might cease to exist if it did not provide services and simply acted as a sinkhole which is why the Mafia increasingly entered into legitimate business instead of just relying on gambling, contraband, and prostitution.
The ultimate point here that I am trying to make is that as consumers it is in our best interest to support competition and the whole system of checks and balances. Monarchies and monopolies always end up, if they last long enough, taking more than they give. I accept this in both directions in that I must admit that as great a concept is Open Source and even given all it's growing number of successes, it is worthy of note that breakthrough products like the IPod and the IPhone came from the most proprietary closed shop possibly in the world. So the case can be made that we need both extremes, closed and open. In this case, the case for trying Linux, it asks more of users than AMD did in it's CPU efforts, so the job is harder both for the Linux community and for end users. Even though it is possible now for non techie people to install and get some usage out of Linux, if you really want to get at its' deepest values you have to be willing to take some time to learn it's way of doing things. If it were just exactly like Windows then there truly would be no good reason to try it out. Some of you may have read my earlier post pointing out that a stick shift car ceases to have it's inherent advantages once you make it more user friendly by making it shift automatically. Then it simply becomes an Automatic. If you simply want ease of use and are willing to compromise on gas mileage, price, and depth of user control then just buy an automatic but also realize that if enough people did that, soon stick shifts would cease to exist, like vinyl disks and turntables and perhaps finally all analog devices of any kind furthering the distance between consumer and product much as guilds did in medieval times, especially during The Dark Ages.
It may be a pita for us spoiled Americans (and many other so-called "1st world societies" as well) to be asked to take some responsibility for the future we are helping to create, but it is true whether we recognize it or not. You just have to ask yourself "Do I want to be an Ostrich or an Eagle?" This question exists in politics, business, religion, science, philosophy, society and yes, in operating systems, too.