Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has a great post over on Datamation entitled, "Linux...Why is it So Hard to Give It Away?". He addresses the difficulty in getting retailers to sell cheap Linux-based PCs, and decides that the problem is the support burden: It's easier to offload that to Microsoft than to undertake it to save a few dollars:
Problem is, a price difference of even $50 at the lower end of the price spectrum could mean that consumers would be leaping onto the Linux wagon based on how much cash they have in their pockets instead of making a rational choice. Customers would be happy when they left the store but soon feel unhappy when problems bogged down their use of the new PC.
Good points, but I'm more interested in the larger, underlying question: