As far as OS usage goes, I'm of the same mind as mbf. Everything I need runs on Linux. I am not let limiting myself in the least. That is, of course, unless you consider games. Prior to grad school I played enough games that I did boot back and forth between OS, but that time has passed. There are plenty of games that either are native or work under a compatibility layer that I have no need for games that run on neither.
I am gunning for a degree in mathematical physics (my current research, interestingly is also in photoluminescence of quantum dots). I use the following programs: Vim GCC TeXmaker LibreCalc Chromium
Tell me, what Windows only alternative would be better? One of the chief reasons desktop Linux is is this state is due to people thinking (falsely) that they actually need Windows for programs.
By the way, mbf, were you by chance at the APS March meet this year?