Oh, I understand that, I just have practical in-field usage of 2000, XP and Vista across over 700 users and over 1000 systems of diverse origin, not just my own opionions.
And I internally keep track of what I see, starting a little over 6 months ago. The fact that I don’t link my numbers or even give 100% precise figures is that for legal reasons.
However, suffice it to say that over 40% of the machines I see are XP, and over 40% are Vista. The remainder are split between Windows 2000, Mac OS X, and a very few Windows 98 and ME machines.
The fact of the matter is, Windows Vista is much more hardened and is more secure for your average user. Of all of those machines, approximately 30% of the XP machines are infected with a short list of particular nasties, and over 60% had at least one piece of spyware or adware. Fewer than five of the Vista machines were infected. Even accounting for time in service and virus protection, Vista is more secure.
In terms of BSODs on each machine, the XP machines had more than double the rate occurance of non-malware related stop errrs on a per machine basis.
On the flipside, Vista has more issues with fluky hardware, and its issues with some hadware are far more numerous – secifically with USB devices and some networking issues, items where XP has virtually zero issues unless faulty or poorly designed hardware is underneath it. Also, power management depends absurdly much on the hardware underneath it, and the list goes on.
How does it comapre to other current operating systems is up to debate, but how it compares to XP is, based on my numbers, not.