That is a heavy statement, and highly contextual. I expect it to be popular in this forum where people view technology as a way to make life better, but keep in mind that strong control over technology can do amazing evil more easily than it can meager good.
Gates' philanthropy may appeal to you, but only because as individuals we cannot fathom the whole of an industry. Imagine that for every dollar of aid sent to Africa, one thousand dollars have been spent on extravagance and inefficiency. Maybe not by Gates himself, but certainly by the whole of the industry he profited from.
The last ten years of technological progress have largely been run on Linux, mostly as a cost saving tool but also due to the merits of Linux. The efficiency gains are enormous, much larger than if every computer needed a buggy, licensed copy of Windows that automatically updated in the middle of your slideshow (happened in the office yesterday). Compare the revenue that Microsoft would have made to the idea that an operating system could be free-as-in-beer, and you might have a different perspective of the meager billions that Gates has put to good use. We detonate more of our tax money in anger every year than he will ever use to help the poor and needy.
Especially in a discussion mentioning Linux, configuring a piece of software to behave how you want should be a basic sort of thing to do.
The efficiency gains are enormous
It was so much more efficient the other day when I had to cobble together a bash script to poll MySQL to show running queries, then realise it wasn't running fast enough, switch on query logging, find a reference telling me SIGHUP doesn't cause MySQL to reload config files, restart the database, run some tests, disable the logging, restar the database again. I was so pleased I couldn't just open SQL Server Profiler/Tracer and see live database activity in a couple of mouse clicks and no restarts.
The efficiency gains are arguable and situation (and person) dependent.
yawn, welcome to 1995 again.