Re: But you never do.....
"Now you may get something come up to say that there are "restricted drivers" available for your machine. These are often from NVIDIA, and are still easily installed - just for some reason they can't be automatically installed (I've not cared enough to look further into this, I just know message comes up, I click "install the driver" and it's done). That may need a restart (seldom), so if you've used a USB it should be able to load the new drivers, if not or on DVD don't bother."
The main reason is because they're non-free and have strings attached. I think the condition is they have to be explicitly permitted by root in order to be legal, plus non-free stuff in a distro is frowned upon as it goes against the Linux copyleft philosophy.
"As to the programs, that's another issue. I've found many install quite well on WINE, and there's the likes of Play On Linux and other tools to get things going that don't. I cannot recall it atm but there's other WINE-like systems out there, one maybe named "Cross Over" (can another commentard help here please?) - try them and if they work you're done with MS, enjoy a life of peace and running machines rather than stress, multi-hour multi-gig updates (with 10billion restarts) just to make a few bytes of change to a friggin web browser!), and lots of breakage."
CrossOver is simply an advanced, supported implementation of WINE. That said, the newer the software (particularly games), the less likely it'll run via WINE. In particular, support for Direct X 10 and up is known to be flaky. Plus I've personally had issues with graphics support on Linux, running afoul of multiple X crashes and kernel panics.