It must have been a slow news day today. I can't think of any other reason why the fact that an ex-Microsoft employee is considering installing a Linux box would be news. Imagine the articles if they realized that, right at this very moment, a whole slew of current Microsoft employees are probably using Linux at home. And, imagine the headlines if it got out that a Microsoft employee admired OpenBSD! Oh, no, wait, that already happened.
There is nothing wrong with investigating the best way to meet your needs. My current needs are to watch On Demand (note that I did not say "record," or "copy and sell," or "steal"). I have a perfectly normal digital cable connection, not even HD, and I can't watch it through the Media Center because something went south with the DRM and it does not seem fixable other than flattening the box and rebuilding it.
Beyond this current problem, I've actually been quite impressed with XP Media Center Edition. My box has been humming along, 24×7, for over two years. It's been rebooted only about two dozen times in that period. Once it ran for over six months without a reboot. As the machine was used only for viewing TV and not for surfing the web etc, I saw no reason to patch it. By any account, that's quite impressive for a client operating system.
So, while it is Windows that is currently giving me the problem, it is specifically the DRM component that is causing it. I could almost certainly fix the problem by flattening the box and reinstalling the OS, resetting the DRM. If it has to come to that though I'll look into options, including the Linux options and Windows Vista.
I am also not advocating any kind of violation of intellectual property rights. The same child that currently wants to watch On Demand is fed using proceeds from the sale of intellectual property. Stealing and redistributing intellectual property is no different in my book than stealing money straight out of someone's wallet.