I must say I am impressed with Windows XP. I didn't pay for it (Got it through an MSCA from school), but I stil got Pro to play with. I've been exclusively on Linux for the last five or so years so it was a bit out of character for me to pick up another 80G drive and install XP on it.
A couple of observations...
- Much of the software I use under Linux is perfectly functional on XP as well.
- It hardly crashes at all, and applications can't bring down the system as per 98
- It runs the commercial products that I've been dying to run (Finale, Biab, Snood, Cakewalk, Mathematica).
- My sound chip which works perfectly under linux (onboard SP PCI128) skips and crackles...time to pull out that ol' SBLive in the closet and disable that onboard thing.
- It doesn't have the multiple desktops that make me love X WMs so much.
- XP doesn't demand that you chain your windows CD to the case and ask for it on all driver installs. It also manages to autoconfigure many third party devices without needing their driver disks.
Bottom line is I'm still running Phoenix (Firebird), Thunderbird, Gaim, gcc/bash/etc. (cygwin), apache, gimp, Sun ONE Studio, audacity, xchat, and openoffice just like I do on my gentoo system. XMMS is replaced by winamp (a superior offering anyways), Mplayer gets replaced by Windows Media Player, and I get to use the real acrobat reader. In the end, I'm using essentially the same software and the only thing that's appreciably changed is my window manager (Well, yes the whole operating system, but from the user's point of view, the change is that simple).
All in all, XP is much better than 98 or ME. I like some of the eyecandy better than 2000 but I sense that at the core they're much the same (my laptop runs 2k). Microsoft has done a nice job with this. Hopefully 2003 won't be as much of a bloat as 98 was from 95.
I could see myself actually using this OS...that's a first for Microsoft...