The Windows tax usually refers to the higher price that computers cost because of the amount we unknowingly pay for the Windows license. With computers being so cheap these days, we tend to not care; the higher Windows-induced price tends to show itself in the realm of netbooks, which offer Linux as the alternative.
The true Windows tax, however, is in how the bulky operating system taxes computer speed. This effect is clearly seen on dual-booting netbooks, such as my 1GB LG netbook. Presto Linux boots in 35 seconds; Windows 7RC boots in three minutes, and even then continues to operate sluggishly -- in contrast to the snappy performance of Linux.
This line of thinking was sharpened by a press release headline that read, "Autodesk Increases Moldflow Performance Two Fold." The increase stems from hardware: multicore CPUs, and GPUs specific to certain nVidia graphics boards.
It certainly takes a lot of hardware to run today's Windows snappily; I inherited a recent model of a dual-core 64-bit computer with 4GB RAM and a very fast hard drive. Vista runs well on it, but poorly on other computers with lower specs.
I wonder what speed increase could be accomplished if MoldFlow relinquished the Windows tax and ran on Linux?