I have been using Windows Vista for the past 7 months now. My experience of this Operating System (OS) has been very painful to say the least. Prior to using Vista on HP Pavilion, I was dual booting XP2 and Ubuntu (in sequesnce; Breezy, Dapper, Edgy, Feisty and Gutsy) on a Sahara laptop. I still keep it for reference.
One day, I will make time to write about Ubuntu (you can google about it in the mean time).
XP2 has been treating me relatively well, I have come all the way from Windows 3.1, 95, NT 4.0, 98SE, ME, XP and XP1. Unfortunately I moved to Vista before I could use XP3. Obviously, I understand XP3 to be an improvement of XP2
Vista and its sequel Vista1 demands a lot from hardware. This is meant to provide adequate efficiency of the beauty of the OS. In addition, there is a handful of security improvements made which are an improvement to XP series.
However, with the exception of end-users, it is now common knowledge that Vista is a white elephant. It is a very big OS. It literally takes a lot of space in the hard drive. When idle, it consumes about 800MB of memory. Some of its hardware discriminates against XP2
Some argue that a major transition of an OS is usually painful. There is some truth in that, but XP to Vista must be the most painful transition ever. I would not be surprised if some people have committed suicide due to Vista. Especially because some manufacturers, like HP, make it impossible to downgrade by not supporting XP on some of their products such as the HP Pavilion DV6000 I am using currently. This prevents me from dual or tri-booting as I would prefer to do (I have heard of slipstreaming and coding my own drivers, but I do not have time for that. It amounts to coding my own OS).
Hopefully as computers with better hardware to spare come to the market, they will have enough storage and memory to handle Vista and still leave the user with breathing space to develop and use their own applications.
Surely, I would advise friends who are end-users and who have lots of money to get Vista because it is beautiful. It is sometimes also justified to be always at the front-end of technology. But my other friends who have a huge appetite to run multiple applications at the same time, I would say remain with XP. Just ensure that it is XP3.
I have had rumours of Windows 7. It is being developed. If my prayers are answered, it will have a version called Windows 7 workers edition. This version should be less beautiful. It should run on XP hardware. It should be for people who want to work with their computers, not to play games or to admire the looks.