From Economist magazine:
FIRST, an embarrassing admission: your correspondent uses an 11-year-old operating system on his work-a-day computer. Sure, his copy of Windows XP Professional—shorn of all annoying craplets and services, and with no silly eye-candy to slow things down—has been updated and patched religiously, purged of all detritus on a regular basis, and reinstalled afresh on a number of occasions. He has four other Windows XP machines humming away on his network, all similarly maintained. They have proved a good deal more responsive and at least as secure and stable as any of the Macs and Linux machines sharing the network.
Windows XP (for “eXPerience”) went on sale in Sepember 2001. Counting all versions, some 600m copies of XP have been installed on personal computers around the world—making it the most widely used operating system of all time. There have been two subsequent generations of Windows since—Vista in January 2007 and Windows 7 in October 2009. Of Vista, the less said the better. By contrast, Windows 7 has proved a worthy successor to XP, and one that Vista should have been but bungled by being too locked down and nannyish.
What success Vista has had in the market has come mainly as a result of being pre-installed by manufacturers of new computers. The same goes for Windows 7, though more and more XP users have tended to leapfrog Vista when upgrading their computers. This month (July 2012), after almost three years of edging closer, Windows 7 will overtake XP as the world’s most popular operating system.
That is happening just as Microsoft would have users believe Windows 7 is coming to the end of its life. Its replacement, Windows 8, is due this coming October. Those keen to try it have been able to download a free preview version. By all accounts, Windows 8 is slick and stable, booting up and shutting down faster than even Windows 7, while delivering a browsing experience second to none.
But Windows 8 is nothing if not controversial.
Read the rest here.