Good topic to post. We need to be discussing these things more, as there are many, many dissatisfied Windows 8 users & the upgrade to 8.1 wasn't exactly thrilling for everyone. Including myself.
UEFI & Secure Boot is here to stay on pre-built Windows computers, even after Windows 8 is kicked to the curb, hopefully as soon as next year. However, MS has done the damage, users are wanting change & now, not wanting to pay for a new OS, regardless of how low the price. Therefore, the days of the traditional Linux install will gradually fade, as consumers will eventually forced into a decision, repair their old, power hogging PC, or buy a new one for $300-500 & have tons more power, using less electricity.
The drawback to a new computer, unless one scores on one of the many Windows 7 computers, back by popular demand, is UEFI & in particular, Secure Boot. As to GPT, there is nothing wrong with that, as one can have many partitions on the drive versus MBR. However, Legacy Boot (MBR) will be needed to revert to in many instances, especially on OEM machines.
One last thing to remember here, before doing anything with your Windows 8 computer, be sure to create your recovery disc set, which will take 3 to 5 DVD's & create a backup image of the drive using your favorite backup software. Be sure to create a recovery CD for backup recovery. I state this because one day you may wish to revert back to a pure Windows system, or in the future you may wish to sell/donate it, in which case the original OS should be reinstalled. In the case of selling a computer, it will have more value if Windows is installed.
Ubuntu is a great alternative to Windows, as long as the user is willing to learn. Actually it's not so much as to learning Ubuntu (or your favorite Linux OS), it's more about letting go of Windows. Had a consumer never known Windows, Linux would be a walk in the park today. For more, read on.
Don't let the UEFI/Secure Boot issues intimidate you. There are only three simple steps on most computers to change it back to the old way. However this is OEM specific & the settings will appear different across brands.