Re: And if I actually USE Linux..........
"One of the problems with Linux is it's probably a hell of a lot harder to insert spyware, if you're any sort of a halfway decent admin."
Ummm - no actually it isn't. Where did you get your distro? How do you update it? Which repos do you use? Are you /certain/ that last update was completely free of any /deliberate/ trojan? Are you /certain/ that last update didn't contain any remotely exploitable vulnerability?
"If you look at the Windows processes list, you have no idea what half that shit is. They could probably run xkeyscore.exe and I sure as hell wouldn't find it."
Thay just says that you are not a windows admin. It does not mean that no-one else understands the windows process listing. But see the argument above. The same applies (but worse because the software is proprietary.)
"However, on my Linux box I know what every single process in pstree is doing and why it is there. I also know what's going on in the network activity bar of xosview and the netstat listing. Anything reporting back to NSA HQ would have to be pretty subtle."
No you don't. You just think you do. And even if you did, your pstree could be tojaned and not show processes it wanted to hide. So could netstat, or wireshark. That cupsd may not be just listening for print commands you know.
The point is, unless you have an external monitor (say a /known/ /provably/ clean network monitor running on a /known/ /provably/ clean OS) sitting on the wire between you and your ISP you have no guarantee whatosever that what is going in or out of you nice safe secure linux box is all it should be.
And even if you have, you could still be stuffed unless you /really/ understand network protocols in depth (Ever hear of DNS being used as a wrapper for file exfiltration? Or long time based UDP to call home?)
Don't be complacent. The only secure computer is one not switched on, not connected to anything and buried in a lead lined box in concrete.
And even then I'd worry in case it was exhumed and disk forensics run on it......