I've been perusing Eric Raymonds The Art of Unix Programming (and have also pre-ordered the book from Amazon). I have some quibbles about some of his points, but on the whole the book is a powerful argument in favor of the Unix Way of Doing Things.
It strikes me that no one would ever write such a book about Microsoft Windows. Windows has no guiding philosophy behind it. It has grown by accretion over the years, accumulating APIs and technologies without ever really designing them in. It is this lack of guiding principle, rather than any specific weakness, that makes Windows so insecure. There are so many unknown nooks and crannies, so many "dead" APIs (DDE leaps to mind) that must be kept for backward-compatibility. Let's face it: Windows is ugly.
So why did Windows become so dominant? Luck and timing. They bet on the right horse (the PC architecture) at a time when the Unix industry disdained the machines as toys, and they made a lot of canny business decisions over the years (ethical and otherwise) that grew their installed base to enormous proportions. It's maddening to those who see the technical failings of Windows so clearly, but then no one ever said life was fair.
I just hope the worm is starting to turn. As computers get cheaper and cheaper, the "Microsoft tax" is already starting to chafe a lot of people. This is especially true in developing countries -- why pay more for the OS than you did for the machine it runs on? The same is true for applications and utilities.
Linux is now just as good as Windows or Mac OS X for simple office-type tasks like word-processing or spreadsheets; it's actually better in some ways. It can be secured far easier than Windows can, it's not prone to e-mail virii, and it performs far better on older hardware. It's got world-class web browsers, e-mail clients, and office suites.
The great thing is that Linux is even coming along in the "home and enthusiast" arena. Linux has had great sound support for years, but now support for video codecs is coming along nicely. If you're not too concerned about the legal issues, you can already play DVDs and most video formats. You can set up a DVR solution called Freevo to digitally record your television programs. And you can do all this without paying a dime in tribute to Microsoft.
It's not just about being an anti-Microsoft hater. It's about wishing for a rich commons in which we can live our digital lives without getting nickle-and-dimed to death.