FINAL THOUGHTSWhat I love/hate will very likely deviate from your own particular choices, but they remain the key aspects to what I have taken away from my time with Windows 8 so far. In contrast, issues others have brought up I found less noteworthy.
Gabe Newell of Valve has called Windows 8 a "kind of catastrophe" for gaming, but given the speed and solidity of the desktop along with legacy support for Windows 7, Vista and XP applications plus future DirectX releases I see little reason why it should be and the potential for a smart Modern UI app to navigate the likes of Steam and introduce a slew of touchscreen-related gaming innovations should be a major opportunity. Especially on genuinely powerful desktop PCs which are also compatible with Kinect.
Likewise the complaint about the shift to a heavily touchscreen-focused environment I find redundant. It is needed for Windows 8 tablets, it is a nice method for consuming content with the Modern UI on laptops and substitute mouse and keyboard control is far better than the hysteria would lead you to believe. The raft of new peripherals, such as the Logitech T650 Touchpad, also offer the opportunity to advance our methods of interaction after decades of the keyboard and mouse.
Furthermore Windows 8 is the platform which enables new form factors and peripherals like no other. Some have said Microsoft is taking its Windows user base for granted and the Modern UI is merely a gateway to enable greater take-up of Windows Phone. To some extent that may be true, but I think it is far more about the advancement of computing and combined ecosystems as a whole.
I suspect the motivation for Windows 8 came out of a desperate place as Microsoft watched Apple and Google forge ahead in mobile which, as we are so frequently told, is the future of technology. Had Microsoft been in the running earlier I suspect Windows Phone would simply have been put on tablets and Windows 9 would have been the seminal product for merging the desktop and Modern UI in a more seamless manner. That wasn't to be, however, and Windows 8 is the gamble.
Consequently we now have the most ambitious operating system on the market. It is brilliant yet rushed, slick yet jarring, entirely loveable yet utterly hateable and determined to shake up the status quo. Bravo.