Then why hasn't Microsoft realeased any of their DOS versions for free?
Or Windows 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 (which I have, ugly and useless as they are)?
I mean, windows is nice - especially since all the coolest games are written for it, but it's not the end-all-be-all.
Don't let your blinding hatred of Apple convince you Windows is great - far from it, many Windows XP programs CANNOT run in windows 95... perhaps when it's the other way around (95 apps in XP), but I know that anything that has security, transparancies, or other advanced hooks into the OS will simply NOT work on previous versions.
In fact, your whole point about how Apple forces you to upgrade every 5 years is a big PLUS in my book; because Microsoft forces you to upgrade EVERY YEAR now (with License 6.0).
Five years on any computer platform is quite commendable, if it can be obtained. Heck, for home users, many don't have primary machines much older than 3-4 years (and some even less).
I agree about the building-your-own mac. On one hand, I wish it was open so you and I (and others) could build our own; however, having a "dictatorship" over the hardware has given Macs a distinct advantage in compatibility areas. But, nothing is w/o problems, Macs are not the end-all-be-all, either.