So it was that I decided to take the plunge and have a go at using Linux as my primary OS for a while: doing the dual-boot thing, of course. It's been a liberating experience.
Read once more about moving from Windows to Linux
Sometimes, it must be said, you get what you pay for. Being able to run MS Office removes a major hurdle from switching 100% to Linux. Without that ability, I would have been faced with the prospect of having to boot back into Windows any time I needed to just get important stuff done.
Linux does have something of a grungy feel compared with the faux-substance, glitzy world of Windows; but when all the little things add up, I'd rather be grungy than glitzy. I flat-out refuse to grow a goatee, though.