more windows horror; linux (not apple) to the rescue

Click for jumbo graphic showing many odious features of Windows 10. [via] Can't vouch for the accuracy of all this but the marginal notes to the company happytalk amuse.
Microsoft isn't even pretending anymore that you have ultimate control over the PC you bought; it's essentially a little outpost or embassy of their company that sits in your home, gathering data and funneling it back to their HQ in Washington state.
Some of these spyware features are even being added to Windows 7 and 8 computers, under the guise of necessary security updates. PCMasterRace, a Reddit for gamers who favor PCs over consoles (because you have more say about how your programs are managed, updated, etc -- ha!) has a cheat sheet for how to remove "telemetry" from a Windows 7 or 8 PC (hat tip rene).
Microsoft apparently isn't embarrassed by the heavy handed tactics that are losing the "nerd" constituency. They just want to imitate Apple (closed environment, surveillance for your own good, treating users like simpletons) but are doing it with less finesse than the "computer for creatives" does.
If you are ready to make the switch to Linux but are concerned about "driver issues" for your hardware, [PLUG] ThinkPenguin sells Linux-loaded desktops and laptops that work with standard mice, keyboards, monitors, printers (HP, though, not Epson), and Wacom tablets. The sound cards and graphics cards on ThinkPenguin gear also come Linux-enabled. The Mint operating system somewhat resembles Windows XP; Thunderbird, Firefox and VLC come pre-installed in the OS (where they work better than on Windows).