I don't like the idea of simply posting links to other blogs, but in this case I'll make an exception due to the quality of the articles.
These two articles from 2008 discuss the lack of adoption of linux based on the notion that windows is de facto free (gratis) to most people:
I find them well-written and well-reasoned.
And they address the basis of one of the more disparaging (although to some extent true) remarks by people who don't see what the fuss over linux is all about: That we can't get people to use Linux even by giving it away for free.
Anyway.From a more personal POV:
* Having lived in China I definitely agree with the idea that piracy of windows is one biggest problems when it comes to the adoption of free software in the developing world. Not only windows of course -- I could even buy SPSS, Origin and Matlab in my local computer software street stall or my local DVD store (all pirated, of course).
* Having lived in the developing world I also agree that Windows is free in the sense that you can hardly buy a computer without getting a copy of a recent windows version included (whether you want it or not).
* Working at a university -- and having worked at five in total -- I also agree that it's easy enough to get free access to most pieces of proprietary software and since the distinction between Home and Work is a bit fluid in academia, for all intents and purposes I have free access to Office, Windows, Photoshop, SPSS etc.
* And finally, having bought my first computer in as a teenager in 1993 (a 1.8 MHz 386SX, 2 Mb RAM, 28 Mb HDD -- second hand) I also grew up swapping floppies with windows (3.11 FTW!), DOS (the box had 5.0, but got DOS 6 from a class mate), and various pieces of free/shareware that we ordered via mailorder...(or bbs -- but anything over 100 kb took forever). I don't think teens of today look at things much differently from how we did back then.