Re: Nice @AC 12:21
Yup, I'm only reporting what I saw. Several tens of Windows XP machines (mostly aging Dell desktops) running critical systems (the older stuff mostly written in VB6, the younger stuff mostly in C#). They were shielded from most threats by running few applications (mostly, one in-house application) and not having full access to the network (and no access to the internet), never running a browser and so on, but soldier on they did, surviving patches apart from a couple (I exaggerate not, I remember 2 occasions in 5 years across multiple versions where an OS or Antivirus update floored the machines briefly), and better management of the roll-out would have avoided those minor hiccups too.
My own development laptop was a Windows XP machine and never once fell prey to malware in the 3 years of general bashing it took (including plenty of temporary software installations and removals, which left a little cruft as we've come to expect but didn't break anything) and ran absolutely consistently (a few little niggles, nothing serious) until it was replaced by a faster model (also on XP) which performed similarly well every day until I left the job. Obviously as a 'tech savvy' user I wasn't taking risks with it, but I wasn't treating it all that kindly either since I knew I could re-image it in half an hour if necessary. It never was necessary though.
I know MS software has some weaknesses; all the Windows boxes were rebooted hilariously frequently from a Linux fan's perspective, and there were a million little silly faults (the file copy dialog's pointless animation stayed squint for *YEARS* between NT4 and Vista, where it was finally replaced IIRC) and the overall user experience is really quite bitty and unaesthetic in my view, but these are not serious problems. The machines did their actual jobs flawlessly, and the development tools (even lowly old VB6) were great.
I'm still a GNU/Linux fan myself, as I say, and prefer it when I have the option. Usually, when I use Windows, it's for a bad reason (mostly platform lock-in, the Kinect being a case in point), and I don't like the way MS license their software or behave towards other businesses, but I'm not going to pretend the flaws are worse than they are and I no longer gurn when someone wants something built for Windows. Fair enough, it's a perfectly decent target for development and will run what I write just fine.