Registered: Sep 2009
Location: Indiana, USA
Distribution: SLES, SLED, OpenSuse, CentOS, ubuntu 10.10, OpenBSD, FreeBSD
I share your hatered, but...
The truth of the matter is that as you are getting an education for your career you really need to be as diverse as you can. The truth is that Micro$oft controls the majority of the market, and even if you manage to get a job that centers on your goals of working only on linux systems, those systems will likely interface with Micro$oft products at some level.
As a Systems Administrator who dislikes Micro$oft and will use alternative products whenever practical, I still find that parts of my systems are Micro$oft Products. From Micro$oft SQL Server, which is required for the companies accounting and CRM software, to a Micro$oft server for our phone system, it is an evil that can't be realistically avoided in most environments. In our shop we use Novell Netware / OES and Groupwise. I still need to interface with Windows workstations. I still need to interface with Active Directory, even though eDirectory is superior. I use FOSS whenever possible and practical, such as Maia Mailguard (Spam Filtering), Jasper Server (Reports), MySQL. It is the diversity that has allowed me to grow, save the company untold amounts of money and made sure that I am a highly valued, and as a result well paid, part of the organization.
Remember, that many of the things that you will learn for Micro$oft products, such as Visual Basic and Office may well help you either to understand a concept (programming and macros), that can be easily translated to linux or help you secure a job if you are having trouble getting a job you want (linux only). Learning your way around Micro$oft products is essential if you want to have a diverse choice of career options. Linux is a great solution for a number of scenarios, but a company may for various reasons choose to utilize Micro$oft products. You need to make sure that you are labeled as someone who can get things accomplished and not labeled as a smart person who is too short sited to see the big picture.
paulsm4 has good advise. It is one thing to say you are a Linux supporter, but you don't want to be labeled a fanatic. Much better to start your career saying that you are diverse, though you have been using linux for 10 years, than to go in saying "I know Linux". In my case, I would say great, but I need someone who knows Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2005, XP, Windows 7, Office, SLES/OES, Novell Netware, Groupwise, OpenSuse, CentOS, Python, Perl, C++, apache, tomcat, postfix, Samba, Java, FreeBSD, MySQL, Networking/Routing, ... AND can make all these systems play nice with each other.
Do I expect to find many people that know all of the above? No.
However, I couldn't in good faith hire someone that wasn't diverse enough to handle the majority of our systems. Don't know Novell Netware, but have experience with Active Directory? Well you might be usable. Don't know either? Well might be time to look for a more diversified candidate. Likewise I couldn't in good faith hire someone that walked in and said "UGH! Netware. I don't do Netware." There are reasons for the choices, and even though I may need to rethink certain things with the resent sell of Novell, I know it will be around for a while even if I choose to phase it out.
There is a place for a simple pen knife. Sometimes though you need other tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, drills, various saws... If you were a carpenter and you showed up to build my house with a hand saw and a hammer, I would send you packing. Sure you can build a house with those simple tools, but you won't be efficient at it. Besides I may want tile floors and brick, with a slate roof, that is going to be very hard to do with a handsaw and hammer.
Learn as much as you can about everything you can while you are still in school. You will end up with a large toolbox and lots of tools to choose from. Don't limit yourself, especially not with the current high unemployment and job prospects.