I consider it my "big guns" word, I use it when I'm seriously annoyed, or have an incredible disdain towards someone, and I dare say if you grew up where I grew up, you'd use it yourself. Apart from those situations, shit and fuck are adequate. Mostly fuck.
Actually that's probably my most commonly used word.
I've genuinely never known someone to have a "physical" reaction to it though. I find that very bizarre.
I have some pretty painful attitudes and physical sensations associated with it.
I know there's a culture difference in some areas where it's not nearly as offensive as it might be here, but we have 50 trillion different word combinations for "shit" and "fuck" and so on, it seems like those would be enough.
People can and do what they want to do, though, and there's no sense in trying to change their mind or their ways, but at the same time I don't have to be party to it.
A lot of the tools I have to use require Windows, so I remain indifferent. Windows is silly in that I'm required to have a write-blocker on my machine at work because it doesn't know how to connect to a flash drive or memory card or hard drive without writing a bunch of data to it. But that's neither here nor there.
You could always run a Live CD of a linux distro without having to actually install anything, so that you can see if you like at it all: