I am mainly a Windows user and I am not at all interested in the next version of Windows, Vista. Don’t have a clue what will be changed or added, but I heard rumours that they changed the audio driver’s model again. Sure, most professionals are using ASIO instead of WDM, but even then: Vista probably might not be compatible with the current ASIO-drivers.
This means: patience and huge upgrade procedures. Why would I do that?
XP has it’s faults but I can do almost anything with it. Again, I don’t have a clue what Vista has to offer. I don’t think Microsoft’s marketing machines are doing any good work here.
Also, the web is changing things quickly. I can imagine Google doing a ‘light’ OS based on Linux, 100% webbased. Something you can put on an USB-stick.
Sure, for audio mainly latency demands for low-level system calls. A webbrowser is an interpreter and maybe too slow. But that might change. The cool thing about web applications is that you can use it anywhere, from any studio or home. Also changes to the interface can be done in a simple way, you could even let the users change it with a stylesheet or something like that.
Linux sounds like a better option for the future, just because it is an open system. Support will continue and in my experience Linux fans are happy to help each other. One of the cool things happening for musicians is the Ubuntu Studio version. Check out the WIKI and the forum. It’s a full installation but it might be just right.