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actually, apple got to the scene first. ibm/microsoft managed to gain ground after a series of supendously expensive machines comming out of apple (lisa, first mac). what many people dont realise is that microsoft has never competed (until now with linux) on the strength of their product, they competed by undercutting the competition, while offering solutions that were "good enough". the truley ironic thing is that is the way that linux is spreading now. microsoft is being forced to justify the cost of their product for the first time ever, which is why we have seen so much improvement in the last few years.
my point with that statement is that the origional poster seems to be talking about 1990 linux. things have changed alot, and i think you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesnt think that most of the art in linux is inferior to that of windows. we have some very talented artists now. look at the oo.o iconset jimmac did, and compare it to words. compare the crystal iconset with the windows one. compare plastik to luna (personally, i have never been a fan of industrial, but hopefully gnome will be getting something a little nicer as the default look sometime in the near future).