If you are a large corporation and purchase say a 1000 computers or more, and are not interested in Windows but would like to install Linux, you could force vendors to sell their computers without Windows at a lower price.
And in many parts of the world, you can ask for a reimbursement of Windows if you are not using it. IIRC, it can be done in France.
The general public does not know that Linux exists! Once some Linux corporation starts marketing Linux like Apple does it (maybe Canonical in 5 years), things might change. And because corporations are already running Linux on the server side, they already have the expertises in house to manage Linux machines. When the big wigs discover that Linux on the desktop is viable and hip, they might be seriously think to switch their desktop machines from Windows to Linux. All depends of their dependency with their current applications.
What is being pirated now is already lost (or never was there as a market anyhow). However, the customers of Microsoft that are paying licenses could switch to Linux like Munich did. That is a lost of existing revenues, thus the real threat.
$100 for a keyboard that could last 10 years is not that expensive. I paid heavily for some keyboards. I wash the under water once in a while and they come out brand new. This kind of stuff last.
Would I be able to go to the store and ask for a refund for the Windows license I was obliged to purchase when buying my computer?
I bet not...
> but in 50 years we could have outer-space mining.
Yeah, right. In the 50's, that is what they were promising for the year 2000. Here we are in the 21st century and we still do not have practical, fuel efficient space travel. Hey, I am still waiting for my flying car they promised me.
Outer space 'anything' requires a lot of energy and is very expensive. There are no technology gain on the radar that seam to promise that any of this will change in the next 50 years. My bet is that in 50 years, life will be harder, not easier for humanity as scarcity of resources will take its toll. A good example is how slowly more people trade their car for a bicycle or public transport.
The problem with this idea is that there are simply not enough plants out there. Last year food prices increase was caused by higher demand for biofuels, causing many manifestations in poor countries because people suddenly could not afford their food anymore.
Plants are not very efficient solar collectors. I do not remember the numbers, but think of it; the leaves are green, not black. They thus reflect the green light instead of absorbing it.
Thus, you would need A LOT of land for planting enough plants so biofuels can become some major part of the energy pie. But pretty much all the good land out there that could grow plants is already being used by agriculture. There is simply not enough land on the Earth to do this. And as a society, we have to choose between feeding people or cars; both cannot be done because of the scarcity.
They are cheap solar collector to build though, as they grow by themselves.
Since we are on the subject, Toronto did something similar at a larger scale:
Let us know if they do have a firmware updater for Linux. I only run Linux.
I somewhat agree with you, but not 100%. Many of my personal files are ASCII (encrypted with GPG for those with sensitive data). However, submitting a resume in ASCII might cut you off of a few job opportunities. You need sometimes a word processor to project a professional persona.