I think there is a slow consensus building: Windows 7 is a tighter, more focused version of Windows Vista and thought we would therefore have liked it to be Vista we're genuinely quite looking forward to it. So how about getting your hands on it now...?
The first public beta for Windows 7 leaked this week (accidentally? You decide...) on bittorent and has now flown around the various file sharing sites and Usenet servers. Originally intended to appear on 13 January, it is listed as 'Build 7000' and reports are already filing back that it is the most stable initial public beta the company has ever produced.
So what will you get? Well, unlike the initial Windows 7 Developer Edition this version has the new taskbar implemented along with its programme 'jump lists' and quick previews. It is also said to be snappier and users will find the continued proliferation of the 'Ribbon' menu structure seen in Office 2007, wider native codec support, an overhauled Media Center and support for touchscreen controls. Given Windows 7 is also touted as running just fine on Atom CPUs and/or 1GB of RAM netbook owners could be curious to give it a roll too.
Those new to Microsoft betas need be aware the licence lasts just 30 days but that regular updates should follow - not that technically you're a registered developer to receive them. Still, if you want to get an early feel for how Microsoft's new OS handles (it works with 95 per cent of Vista drivers) then by all means give it a spin and let us know your thoughts. I'll be trying it out myself later and I'm hearing it's rather good/competent/a relief...
Not included for obvious legal reasons, but you know where to look.