On the "What's in it for Intel" section, I think it is important to recognize that the big gains Linux has been making has not been stealing Wintel thunder, it has been taking customers from the likes of Sun, HP, and IBM on big unix hardware. The transition was not complicated, and when you combined a free enterprise grade OS with essentially commodity hardware, your price / performance numbers ( even in the TPC realm ) became a killer way to sell more cpus, motherboards, nics, etc.. etc.. for Intel. This is old news already. I agree with the person above, there is no reason to question the motives of a large company like Intel. They are in it for the money, not because ( and this makes me smile ) they love Debian.
In terms of Alan Cox, it's pretty amazing to review his career so far in various capacities and his impact to the adoption of Linux. Does anyone remember the name/story of the high level guy at HP that had a picture of Alan on his desk? He was massively pushing Linux at HP back then... have to look that up, but it solidified Alan's contribution in my mind above the normal hacking, publicity, critique of intellectual property, etc.. etc.. Glad to see he is not fully going to work in his garden ;)
I'd put up a picture of Alan as well, but it would scare my kids ( no offense! )