I have been running Windows Vista for a month or so as my main OS. I have to say that overall I truly like it.
The computer press has been down-talking Vista lately because it doesn’t have dramatically new functionality. I generally agree with that sentiment, but it’s not that black and white for me.
As someone who spends 10+ hours a day at my PC, I find that Vista just ‘feels’ nicer. The Aero interface provides subtle but effective feedback on what is going on. The high-res icons are more scalable and legible for my sad middle-aged eyes. If XP was like wearing sneakers, Vista is like wearing slippers. (For further comparison, Windows 98 was like wearing lead shoes.)
I am running the “Released To Manufacturing” or RTM version. I subscribed to Microsoft TechNet Direct in order to get it, along with test licenses for most other MS products, including Office, Windows Server, SQL Server, and Exchange Server. You get ten license keys for most products as long as you agree to use them ‘for evaluation purposes.’ This is an incredible value if you tinker with MS products at all. The software is not time-bombed or crippled in any way and is certified as “Windows Genuine” so it can get full security patches.
Certainly compatibility is an issue. MS has a tool to evaluate your machine to see if you can benefit from Vista. Make sure to use it.
If your PC and apps can handle it and you can afford the license, I think you will be happy running Vista.