Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
For those who tire of a Microsoft hegemony on their laptops and desktop PCs, there is another choice: Linux. This open source and essentially free version of Unix has the reputation of being for the über-techie, but if you want to give it a shot, there's a version called Ubuntu (a South African terms that means "humanity towards others") that may be up your alley. The book Ubuntu for Non-Geeks (2nd. edition) claims to be "a hands-on, project-based, take-it-slow guidebook for those interested in - but nervous about - switching to the Linux operating system."
I'd largely agree with this, and at $34.95, which includes a CD with the operating system (you can even try it before fully installing it on your hard drive), it's a cheap experiment. However, depending on what you want to do, it may be a bit trickier, technically, than the book implies.
Trying the operating system was as easy as putting the CD into my drive and rebooting.