It seems to me that if you're going to run a Windows netbook, it would help to learn something about how to use Windows. Victor Keegan apparently does not.
Why would he think a Windows netbook would include OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office competitor? If he wants OOo, he can download and install it. It doesn't cost anything. Same for Skype and Google Docs.
He can get rid of any annoying prods he doesn't like. When I run Windows (which is not often), I never get bugged for Windows Live anything every time my computer starts. It does appear in Windows Update under Recommended Updates (I think it's called), but if Keegan knew anything about using Windows he'd simply check a box that says "don't show me this again." Voila--no more Windows Live appearing in Updates.
"when I tried Word in Microsoft Works it kept asking me to sign up for another 45 days (or whatever) after inputting a key number I was supposed to have but didn't." Does this guy ever bother to read anything? You don't get a free Word with a netbook or just about any other computer. Most Windows computers come with a free Microsoft Works, which includes simple apps for word processing, spreadsheet, database, and calendar. If he wants Word, he has to pay for it and then he'll get the key number he is missing. If all he wanted to do was write a note, the Works word processor would be more than adequate. It is fine for the word processing many people do. I assume he could have read the terms of usage and discovered that he'd have to pay for Word. If he didn't, he won't get sympathy from me. Or even simpler, he could have used Wordpad or Notepad. Are we really supposed to take seriously a guy who can't even write a note if he doesn't have OOo in front of him? And should he really be using big, lumbering OOo Writer for a simple note? Wouldn't a light word processor or text editor be more appropriate in Linux as well as Windows?
If he doesn't want the phishing filter to be turned on in his browser, he can turn that off. If he can't figure out how to set up the system the way he wants, he can do a Web search just as we Linux users do when we can't figure out how to do something.
The most likely explanation for why Asus abandoned Linux in its netbooks was that Windows netbooks outsold them substantially. I've heard in many places that stores that sold Linux netbooks had high rates of return when the buyers found out that they weren't running Windows and the software they knew and wanted to use did not work under Linux. We have discussed on this list how hard it often is to get our friends and family to give Linux a try. People don't like change, especially if they're not particularly interested in computers and just want the machine to do what they want in the way they know how.
As for early success of Linux netbooks, I suspect that the happy buyers were mainly of "the geeky class" and that "just folks" were the ones returning the netbook or installing a copy of Windows on it. Once Windows became available on netbooks, Linux was doomed--at least this time. Whether ChromeOS with the Google name can succeed where others didn't remains to be seen.