Hey guys, before I go ANYWHERE with this, I want everyone to understand that I'm as much of a Mac fanboy as anybody else on this forum. I just got a white macbook, and as I needed to re-install bootcamp, I had the option of using either XP, or my RC2 that I downloaded free from Microsoft. I opted for the RC2, and these are my initial impressions. Is it as bad as I thought it was going to be? No. Far from it. The installation was pretty speedy, and couldn't have been that intrusive. (I put it in, clicked through a few initial windows, and went to watch Anchorman. When I got back, it was ready to create a new user.) I allocated 10GB of my drive for it, and there's only about 300MB left after the standard installation, so it's much more space-consuming than I thought it would be. Graphics? I'm honestly impressed. The buttons and theme aren't nearly as confusing as the still pictures make them out to be. I don't think this RC2 has that weird flip thing, so I can't comment on that, but I don't think I'd like it anyway. Programs? I'm running firefox now, and I've got my Ruckus music player installed, both which are working great. The OS actually does seem pretty speedy, and more responsive than XP. I exited the sidebar, it seemed pretty lackluster compared to dashboard. I don't have too much installed on here yet, but the search that shows up at the bottom of the start menu was pretty fast, faster than spotlight has been. (But again, I don't have much installed on here besides FF and Ruckus.) The networking was easy, I clicked the "Home" preference (between Home, Work, and Private) and everything just worked. It was awfully scary considering what you usually have to go through. The ethernet is what I'm assuming it's using now, I haven't checked out the wireless capability yet. Improvements over XP... Speed for sure, and I like how there's now a button at the bottom, in that "quicklink" thing or whatever it's called, to show the desktop. Speaking of desktops, the pictures are pretty badass. There are a whole bunch of them, and they're not nearly as sappy or as horrible quality as the ones in XP. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post any of them so I won't, but they're very cool looking. (I think I might toss a few over to OS X to use...) So those are my initial impressions, given I haven't really done that much with it. It is certainly worth installing over XP, Vista actually feels like a somewhat-modern operating system. That windows "safety" thing they've got that checks for program access is very annoying though, it warns you about opening its own control panel. Better than OS X? Hell no. Not even close. Though my review thus-far gives Vista a pretty good reputation, much of it is a very clear rip-off of OS X, which would explain why it works so much better than XP. My opinions are largely based on my experiences from previous versions of Windows, so don't think that when I say something is "good," I mean it's superior to a similar feature in OS X. I'm simply stating that compared to XP, it's not a half-bad improvement. Flame away if you with, but I hope that if you do, you at least understand that this is meant not to offend, but to be a completely honest opinion from a college kid who was going into this expecting something very awful. Also, it would help that you at least give it a try before you jump to conclusions based on screenies you picked up from Ars Technica.