You do, of course, bring up an interesting point; shipping computers without OS.... if the average user was interested in and knew how simple it was to install a common Linux distro, they wouldn't care if it shipped with no OS. And this, of course, leads to a new level of conspiracy theories; WHY IS msevil such a PITA to install and set up? Might it be because they WANT the average user to be afraid of installing an OS? To build a market for pre-installed OS? To force hardware vendors to preinstall THEIR MScrapOS? Because the average user will just use *what it came with*? This is, of course, illegal anti-competitive behavior. Also difficult to prove.
It would be nice to see some freedom-FORCING legislation rather than the more common freedom-BLOCKING legislation (i.e. DMCA)... I would like to see something along the lines of "general purpose computing equipment must not ship with any software included or preinstalled", and "vendors of general purpose computing equipment must not distribute or recommend software of any kind under penalty of being tortured to death".