Steve Ballmer has finally come out and said that it's OK with him if you sit out Vista and stick with XP until Windows 7 ships. But will you wait? And when 7 ships, will you sit out that as well? Take the poll and see how your Vista Avoidance strategy compares with others.
As Jason Hiner pointed out in Tech Sanity Check, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is still pushing Windows Vista but has come to realize that some businesses aren't interested. He's fine with the notion that businesses continue to run Windows XP until Windows 7 ships, hopefully by 2010.
So, you have at least two years to decide what to do. You can sit out Vista and wait for 7. You might even decide you don't want to go with 7 while you're at it. Or it might be a good time to look at Mac or Linux. What do you think?
Sitting out 7
Of course, if you do decide to sit out Windows Vista, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to make the jump to Windows 7 at all. If XP is good today, it will probably be just as good by the time 7 ships. If history is any guide, subsequent versions of Windows run slower and take more resources. And, let's not forget that Windows 7 is going to be built out of Windows Vista code, so Microsoft will have to do a lot of optimizing.
Microsoft is supporting XP until 2014, so there's not necessarily a rush to embrace Windows 7 either. By the time 7 ships, quad-core or better processors will be standard as will 4GB of memory on starter machines. XP will be nearly instantaneous on such hardware. With Microsoft supporting XP well into 7's lifespan, you might be able to wait until Windows 8 or whatever if 7 still has too much Vista in it for your liking.
Moving to the Mac
Momentum for the Mac continues to grow. Apple now is the top seller of laptops, which, even though it doesn't make OS X the dominant portable OS, represents a much larger market share than Mac has on the desktop. As people abandon traditional desktop computers for more mobile devices, there's some opportunity for OS X.
Even though you're locked into proprietary hardware and software running a Mac, most Apple customers don't seem to mind. The OS is solid, and you always have the option of running Windows or Linux on the box as well.
Apple has been lucky enough to double market share since switching to Intel processors. With two more years until Windows 7 comes out, its market share may increase again, making it a significant alternative to Windows, not just a niche player.
Leaping for Linux
Linux proponents have seemingly declared every year since 2000 as being the year for Linux On The Desktop. Linux seems to get better with every iteration, but is it there yet? It might be.
I spend about half my day on a Linux box. About the only time I flip to Windows is when I have to do something that Linux can't -- like working with Exchange's calendars conveniently, for example.
With the new distributions that are constantly coming out, Linux programmers have been consistently moving the ball down the field, encroaching on Windows' desktop territory. As decent as things are now, with another two years of coding, 2010 just might BE the year of Linux On The Desktop.
What are you going to do?
Are you going to sit out Vista? Or have you decided to go with it and see what happens? If you've decided to sit out Vista, what do you view as your best alternative? Take the poll below and let us know in Comments what your Vista Avoidance strategy is: