As I wrote in my last blog, I pimped my XP desktop. It looks and acts pretty sweet compared to the stock xp desktop. The green and blue start bar is no more and the skin has an Apple flavor. And with RKLauncher, it is a efficient looking, yet very sporty desktop. My Ubuntu Linux desktop looks almost the same but is a little more polished. Microsoft doesn't like you messing with their software. So, without 3rd party add-on software you can't change it very much. Then there is the problem of 3rd party software not being compatible with the security updates, which is why I can't use FlyakiteOSX.
Got a chance to fuss with a laptop with Vista on it. I had to go hunting for all the functions that were up front in XP. I wasn't very comfortable using Vista. People will be glad when there is an arm load of programs to load on it to do regular stuff. My friend who had the laptop was saddled with MS Works for free. This is not even an Office compatible suite. You can change some files to Office file format but it can screw you up. But it beats the trial version of Office I got with my desktop. So I loaded Open Office 2 on the laptop until they could obtain a copy of MS Office. I myself will not buy MS Office for myself. I am very happy with Open Office. So my immediate advice to anyone getting Vista is to go to the library, get the books. Vista is different than XP by a long shot. It looks and feels different and things are in different places. I have witnessed the new boy gleam of a couple of new Vista users. I don't plan to be around them when the wants and needs kick in. The pre-installed OS always gives you a "I don't want anything else" sleep. It will be a while before there is a boatload of hardware drivers and utilities that are Vista compatible. And don't have a 64-bit processor, you will be waiting a long time for support.
Well, that was my small Vista adventure. Did discover Oxygen Office Premium. It is a version of Open Office that has extensions, clip-art, extras and I think Visual Basic programming. I got the MS Windows version running in XP and Vista, but I could not get the Linux version to run because it is 32-bit and I have a 64-bit processor. But I still have Open Office in 64-bit. Yes, there are 64-bit problems in Linux too. Also I discovered the famous Linux program Evolution, which is a email/calender/PIM program, has been ported over to MS Windows. The package installer works in XP and eariler only. So Vista users will have to deal with Outlook and security holes, I mean patches.
So, is there any big differences between MS XP/Vista and Linux that stick out? I know you can add a very slick, graphic intensive, 3d, moving display in Linux but Linux has always had a little program called a pager. It can be assigned any number of desktop spaces. You could open programs in one space, switch to another while the original program is still running. Plus you get a tiny graphic of each desktop in the task bar. It is very handy and practical. XP doesn't have this and Vista, if you get the higher priced fancier versions, has the 3d rotating stack of windows. Sorry, but it is not very much advanced over a non-rotating stack of over laying windows. In Linux you can move open windows between desktops. I just don't think MS has created something cool enough to warrant a new operating system. It may take a while for the tweak geeks to take Vista off-road. So, again, if you buy a new computer you most likely are saddled with Vista, good luck and have fun. I am still dual-booting XP and Ubuntu Linux. They are neck and neck in many aspects but I like and prefer the look and feel of Ubuntu Linux with the latest KDE desktop. MS XP is very workable in its older state, except for the security patches. Vista is too new to be practical yet.