This might be a shocking statement, but all things considered, I'm very happy with XP SP2. I don't see the need for Vista... Usually, MS only builds on existing Windows versions and only produces a slightly more refined version of those previous versions. From Win3.1 onwards the mainstream Windows OS has been getting increasingly more refined and (IMO) stable. I hate XP's stupid "eye candy" retardo look (so I use the "classic" look) but other than that I think XP does a good job. Unless MS break the boring old mould with Vista and produce something that is radically different and better than XP SP2, I'm going to stick with XP. I'm not going to upgrade just for the sake of it, there isn't any real point IMO. From what I have seen of Vista (and I admit I haven't read or seen much) I don't think it's going to be anything more than yet another refinement of what the current "best" MS OS is.
The whole point of producing many multiple versions of Vista is to squeeze even more money out of the consumer. The "Basic" version is most likely to be the most scaled down and subsequently cheap version available, while the "ultimate" version will be the most equipped and most expensive. Most people who can afford it will probably (unless they require a "business" version) try to get the "ultimate" version, for both the supposed kudos of have the "ultimate" version and because it will be the most functional, flexible and well equipped mainstream version.
Supposedly, the Basic version of vista will have highly scaled down networking capabilities and will be mainly for use with single, un-networked PCs. So, if Joe Public buys this version in an effort to cut back on the exorbitant costs of owning a MS OS, he will have a very inflexible OS, only capable of functioning in the computing environment it was designed for. If later on Joe gets a second computer and decides it would benefit him to Network his two computers, he will find he will need to buy a whole new OS to do it, as Vista "Basic" won't be equipped with the networking capabilities he needs. Now he has to get another (network capable) version and MS has succeeded in squeezing a bit more cash out of poor old Joe.
The problem for MS is that their current mainstream OS (XP) is just too flexible. Even the Home version of XP can easily handle networking and many other tasks that in many circumstances it wont have to. MS will probably try to pass of its many versions of Vista as making its new OS more "tailored to the individual consumerâ€™s needs" or some other such BS, but in reality, the real impetus behind so many versions is money, not any desire to best serve the consumer.
Sadly, because MS is so dominant in the OS market, most consumers will have to put up with being extorted from, or will see it as a better option than changing OS completely to some version of Linux. Greedy MS has found a new way to screw the consumer! Gosh, isn't unbridled capitalism just great! I'm not anti-capitalist, far from it, but World governments need to regulate markets better to ensure that virtual monopolies like MS has don't occur. A properly regulated capitalist society should be very profitable for all and provide the consumer with more and better choice as well as stimulating product development and new invention. Vista most probably wont be anything new at all, just a refinement on a theme, with some extra eye candy to impress the ignorant. Even with all the money MS has, they won't take a chance on anything radically different because one; they don't need to and two; they have a formula that works. They don't need to because they have no real competition to force them to take risks and they have no real competition because they have a strangle hold on the market and have vast amounts of money at their disposal to ensure the status-quo remains. I'm all for money and business and capitalism, but monopolies are a cancer in any capitalism and MS is fast becoming a malignant one.
Anyway.... Sorry about that, I went off into a bit of rant...
. It's all just my opinion anyway