The Panda 3d engine has a BSD license, and you use python to develop the games. They recently released a browser plugin too. Their runtime works in Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and of course the iPhone.
This is the way to go, to get the most platforms covered as possible. Everyone is drooling about their new iPhone/iPad or Android phone or whatever. Mobile is not the next big thing, it's the big thing right now. With a Direct X 11 browser plugin you're achieving very little, what's the use? Halo, the Internet Explorer edition?
It seems he was more happy when EA was the company that didn't create much of new IP or games, but just milked the old ones every year with new versions.
You completely missed the point of the article. Maybe you're a fan of some of the games and you feel that the guy is attacking those, but he doesn't have a word to say about game quality. His main concern is EA's failure to adapt to digital distribution, and the reshaping of a game as we imagine it. In fact a lot a people are failing to see the point, that's the reason there is a follow up post named Packaged Goods to explain game unbundling. It's all about choice. Nowadays instead of spending 60$ on a box and get 40 hours of gameplay, we the gamers, want to select our experience. If I only play on my iPhone during my daily commute I can spend a buck once in a while and I'm happy. The freaks that spend their every waking hour in some corner of a virtual world can pay a monthly subscription and be happy.
Quoting from the linked bug report:
"We've made some changes in the Alpha 3 version of Firefox related to how and where search queries are processed. We've introduced the changes at this time in an experimental vein in order to explore and understand the user experience and usage patterns. We plan to use this experimental code at least until Alpha 4.
Note that we did not necessarily foresee Multisearch as code that we would ship in a stable release. Whatever actions we take in response to the information and feedback will depend on the information and feedback that we collect from this effort."
This is a test feature directed at exploring ways of improving user experience, nobody is spying on anyone. Maybe there should have been a better P.R.strategy, like communicating this experiment on advance, and requesting feedback. That would avoid some moron misinterpreting the whole thing. Now can we all go back to doing useful stuff?
I think your question, and the answers you will get, would benefit greatly from a bit more of context. One important point is if the person that will get the PC has any prior experience with Windows and computers in general, and the intended use for the computer.
If he (or she) has used Windows in the past I would say install the exact same version they used (or the closest you can get your hands on, stay away from Vista) and do a security lockup on everything. Don't leave the possibility for software installation, install Firefox and ThunderBird, and Open Office. Hide or remove the icons for IE.
With no experience on Windows I would say that there are far better alternatives. If a PC is really needed there's Ubuntu. It is extremely easy to get around, easier than any version of Windows, and far more secure. However if the intended use is only browsing the web and maybe using webmail, a Nintendo Wii will perfectly fit the job and also give as bonus endless hours of fun.