As Microsoft prices itself out of the home computing market, the Open Source community has moved to fill the gap. The absolutely astonishing thing about it is that their operating system and software costs ... Nothing for the individual home user. That is not a misprint - Open Source software is free, always has been and always will be.
How that came to be is one of the most interesting stories in the history of personal computing. The hero of the story is Linus Torvalds who developed the Linux kernel and copyrighted it with the stipulation that it would always be public and that anyone who used it would give it to the world for free - underlying code and all. If you are interested in computer history, you might read Glyn Moody's book, "Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution". It is inspirational in the sense that it proves once again that a single intelligent, dedicated and unselfish individual can make a difference in today's world of mega-everything.