The Linux graphical interfaces have many interesting features that can streamline the use of the desktop. One useful feature is the use of a laptop touchpad as a scroll wheel. If you stroke your fingertip up and down the right hand side of the touchpad, it will operate as a scroll wheel to scroll up and down a web page. That is very useful if you do not have a USB mouse plugged into the computer. This works with the Lxde Lubuntu desktop and makes the Linux desktop very useful on a mobile device. That feature has been around for a while and is an extremely good idea. The Lxde desktop is nice and usable if you are using a laptop as a mobile Linux computer. I have tried Windows XP, that is more trouble than it is worth. Even FreeBSD works better on a laptop than Windows.
And if a laptop comes with Windows, it inevitably comes with Norton anti-virus and other pointless bloatware installed. Norton 360 can slow down your computer and is not that effective at stopping viruses at all. Using a more secure operating system is the best way to prevent Malware from infecting your system. Ubuntu is very easy to install and you may install updates and proprietary codecs whilst installing the distribution. That is what I do. Linux Mint is another good choice for a secure OS that will not be crippled by online Malware like Windows and Macintosh machines are. Linux is not actually an operating system, it is a kernel; that is distributed with a set of GNU/GPL packages such as Coreutils and the GNU Libc as well as a Bash shell and all of the other parts that make up a usable Linux system. FreeBSD has the same software shipped with it as Linux, but it is using a different kernel.
You could write your own kernel and Libc that was compatible with x86 software and then you could include a host of packages such as Linux does and create your own alternative to the Linux and FreeBSD options if you wished. That is not impossible, that is something I would like to see. Considering the fact that Macintosh machines are infected with virulent malware, it is a good idea to avoid that platform and take up an alternative such as Linux or BSD. There are a host of alternative operating systems out there, like the ReactOS free and open source Windows clone. And Haiku, which is a clone of the BeOS operating system. AROS is a free version of the Amiga OS and finally MenuetOS, which is an operating system entirely coded in Assembler machine code which fits on a single floppy disk. That provides a whole GUI desktop as well. It is amazing how slim you can make an operating system when you are not coding in C. If you programmed an entire operating system in binary code, it could probably be even slimmer, but you would go mad working for a long time at that level.
MSDOS came with the DEBUG command that could be used to program in assembler code. But writing an entire program in binary would drive you crazy. Here is a post about this if you are curious. http://www.programmersheaven.com/mb/Algorithms/106437/106437/binary-programming/. And some information about the DEBUG command. http://www.computerhope.com/debughlp.htm.