When I compared the startup Windows 7 for x64 memory footprint (1.24GB) with the Windows Vista for x64 memory footprint (1.34GB) on a machine with 8GB of RAM, most of the resulting discussion had to do with Linux, its footprint, and the relative merits of Linux and Windows. Please, guys, try not to step on my punch lines.
On the same machine, Ubuntu 8.10 takes...wait for it...
349MB of RAM. In other words, a whole gigabyte less than Vista. The discussion veered off even farther when it got to Xubuntu, which can run in 127MB of RAM.
One of the issues I knew about when I was setting up a machine to quad-boot Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Ubuntu was the difficulty of backing up the whole schmear. As it turns out, Acronis True Image Echo Workstation can do this without breaking a sweat.
While Acronis is not yet certified to run from within Windows 7or Windows Server 2008 R2, the Windows version I tested from within Windows Vista backed up everything, including the Linux partitions that Windows itself won't touch:
That 74GB full backup to an external disk took about an hour. I imagine that incremental backups will take much less time.
Acronis also makes Linux versions of its software, but I haven't tested any of those yet.
[Update: the incremental backups revealed that Acronis for Windows has a problem with 256-byte Ext3 i-nodes. Sigh.]
Meanwhile, like my colleague Galen Gruman, I've been exploring Ubuntu as a desktop, only my needs are a bit different from his. Connecting to my networked all-in-one HP printer as a printer and fax was a snap. I imagine that to use it as a scanner I'll have to connect to its internal Web console from Firefox.
My MIDI keyboard hasn't been recognized. That's all right, because I don't think there's a version of Finale or Sonar for Linux, so my composing will have to stay on Windows.