In response to this post:
Agreed (Vista is great if you have the equivalent of a $2000 computer less than a year old). If you got all this fancy hardware, I would hope that you were planning to use it for something. I was fortunate enough to build a pretty fancy machine for myself a bit more than a year ago ( X2 6400+ Black, 4gb ram, 8800gtx, and some other fun hardware ) and I run Ubuntu on it exclusively. It works for me.
I don't see what Vista has to offer that I couldn't get from XP if I wanted to use some piece of software that works best in Windows. Vista has nothing to offer, especially at the price. It is nice to hear that 7 has done a lot of back end clean up work, and if it out performs XP, then awesome, but that really doesn't offer an incentive to switch.
The one application that I find no reasonable alternative for is Adobe Premiere, but all that tells me is that there is an incentive to get a Mac.
Ok, you say Windows 7 != Vista, but Vista == Windows && Windows 7 == Windows, so there many similarities, and some differences. Rather than having an endless list of specifics, how much different is it compared to other possible juxtapositions? Are there more differences between 7 and Vista as there are between Ubuntu 8.10 and 8.04? 7.10? Debian? Fedora? Gentoo? Are there as many differences between 7 and Vista as there are differences between Linux Kernel 2.6.27 and 2.6.20? 2.6.16? 2.4.37? Is 7 as different from Vista as Mac OSX 10.5 and 10.4? 10.3? FreeBSD 7.1? FreeBSD 6.4?
Sorry, but by no measure is 7 a significant leap from Vista. XP was a brilliant merge of Windows 98 and NT 4 as much as Ubuntu was a leap from Debian, OSX was a leap from FreeBSD taking many design principles from OS9.
7 appears to have some significant progress from the original release of XP, but with respect to how long that has been, what has Apple done in the same period of time? Solaris? AIX? Linux? I think the only systems with less progress in that period of time has been OS/2, BeOS, and Debian GNU/HURD.
It is nice they are fixing the Vista problems. It is nice they are removing the bloatware, feature creep and all that jazz, and really taking a closer look at some of the performance issues that may only have been possible to see with a large user base like it has now.
Improvements in back-end performance, AWESOME! Screw the advertising, some of the best empirical data for comparison is the SDK release notes, which is the only think you can really look at after Microsoft's GUIs for everything. This is the only measure I can see as useful for judging what we are really going to see in Windows 7.
If so, what does that say? Some XP people may finally be willing to switch assuming money is not a factor once real software comes out for 7 that will not as well to a significant (even if only perceived) degree over XP. Vista people will be vilified, and thrilled about the new version that "met their attention". If they bought Vista, they will buy 7. Windows 7 user base will certainly pass up Vista long before XP (if that isn't blatantly obvious). The Windows dynasty will continue to live on for awhile longer.
So I think this brings us back to the original statement: Windows 7 != Vista? No. It is Vista done right and is the little step whose name was changed because the marketing department said so.
If 7 is somehow different than Vista after all the above named things, tell me how it is going to attract the Mac OSX user, the Ubuntu user, the Gentoo user, The Solaris User, the *BSD user, the AIX user. By portion, more users of any of those respective systems will upgrade, and if they dual boot, it will be with a Mac. Windows 7 will hope to hold its own users for a bit longer.
On another note, The real back end changed to Vista became a part of XP SP3. While it may be unlikely Windows 7 will be XP SP4, I am sure it will be Vista SP2.
Want to pay for the name change? Be the first one to have it on your system? Patronize Microsoft for their continued support of your favorite OS? Go ahead. It isn't new, its just Windows, sending that collection plate for another round.
But why should you care? You LOVE Windows!