Re: Linux for the win
I'm stuck in the same boat - though my use case is a little different.
I have a touchscreen tablet that came with Windows Ape, to quote Bombastic Bob. Naturally, I run Linux on it. In touchscreen mode, I can't scroll at all, except if I use the scroll bar ... and you probably know how counterintuitive and frankly awful that is ... especially on a touchscreen, but even with a mouse, once one gets the hang of it.
For about a year I ran Android-x86 on the tablet, with a Linux userland instance in a 'chroot' container. It was tablet heaven ... but the Linux container was an issue, because you couldn't have both X11 and Android's SurfaceFlinger running at the same time! So I (reluctantly) had to give up Android and install Linux + GNOME.
It's terrible. But heck, at least touch scrolling works!
You should definitely investigate how to use GNOME's touchscreen scroll support with a mouse (emulate a touchscreen using a mouse for GNOME). Either that or wait until Linux gets touch-friendly (a few decades after the day of Linux on the Desktop™ comes).
For Firefox at least, there's an extension called Grab and Drag. That does the touch scrolling part, even with a mouse, while Chrome/ium natively supports touch scrolling, hold-to-copy, and back/forward gestures.
 I still don't understand why people hate Windows 8.1. For the times you are really, really pressed into using Windows, it is quite the best version of Windows ever. Very stable, no slurp, very light, even lighter than 7.