writes "For the past several months, Microsoft has engaged in an extended public mea culpa about Vista, holding a series of press interviews to explain how the company's Vista mistakes changed the development process of Windows 7. Chief among these changes was the determination to 'define a feature set early on' and only share that feature set with partners and customers when the company is confident they will be incorporated into the final OS. And to solve PC-compatibility issues, Microsoft has said all versions of Windows 7 will run even on low-cost netbooks. Moreover, Microsoft reiterated that the beta of Windows 7 that is now available is already feature-complete, although its final release to business customers isn't expected until November."
As a data point for how well this has all worked out in practice, reader The other A.N.Other recommends a ZDNet article describing rough benchmarks for three versions of Windows 7 against Vista and XP
. In particular, Win-7 build 7048 (64-bit) vs. Win-7 build 7000 (32-bit and 64-bit) vs. Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 were tested on both high-end and low-end hardware. The conclusions: Windows 7 is, overall, faster than both Vista and XP. As Windows 7 progresses, it's getting faster (or at least the 64-bit editions are). On a higher-spec system, 64-bit is best. On a lower-spec system, 32-bit is best.