I thoughts are, if someone has to learn and operating system. It might be a good time to learn Linux. At least with Linux, it is possible to tailor the GUI the way they like it. Not the way some company "thinks" you should like it. Upgrades are free too.
Learn a OS that lacks mainstream support and has no universal interface? Bad choice
Bad choice in your opinion. In the opinion of many of us Linux based distributions are very good choices for general computing purposes. The ability to change desktop managers in the opinion of many is a big advantage over windows and MacOS. There is a large amount of Ham software. You generally don't HAVE to pay for software and updates, although donations are always welcome. There are a number of forums for support. So.. bad choice? I don't think so.
Anyway, Microsoft admitted they made a colossal mistake with Windows 8 and they aiming to fix the mess with Windows 9. In the meantime I have Windows 7 and while it is overall an OK OS, XP still runs circles around it for compatibility and programs it can run on.
The only Mistake MS made was hanging on to XP interface too long. If they had changed sooner the bitching would have been over now. Without 8 MS would be DOA in tablet market with 7 dah...
And, again, Microsoft has not been able to capture market share in any market that it cannot leverage its Windows and/or Office software. There is nothing wrong with the "XP" interface for desktop/laptop machines... that's non-touch devices.