For what you say you use it for you could pick either, I would check that if you have printers. scanners etc that there is Vista drivers for them and the same for any programs you have that you must use. If theres a problem get XP.
If you do get Vista then make sure you have 2 gig of RAM, XP can happily trundle along with a lot less.
Of the 4 people I know that have Vista 2 are happy and 2 are unhappy, the 2 that are unhappy think its slower than their old computer, one has in my opinion too little memory and the other has too little memory and a slow processor. All 4 PCs run perfectly it must be said its just the speed thats an issue for them.
I have an XP desktop and my wife has a Vista Home Premium laptop.
I shall *not* be upgrading my desktop to Vista (unless the promised SP1 solves a lot of problems)! It's been troublesome from the start, it's resource-hungry, and so far as I can see, if you strip out the slightly fancy graphics, offers no real advantages over XP.
Then I would chose Vista, after-all you will probably be using it for more than 2 or 3 years and I feel that XP will start looking like Legacy Ware by next Christmas.
p.s. Many Digital Cameras, that are over one year old, appear unlikely to have Vista Drivers written for them. The reason, I am told by my tame Tech Writer, is that the market is changing so fast that the manufacturers are focusing all their Development Staff on keeping up with the game.
MAC OS X Leopard; XP Pro; Ubuntu or Suse; Vista. In that order. So unless you want to buy a Mac - which you should consider, actually, and not just for that OS - then it's good old XP or Linux if you're feeling adventurous.
Hi, new computers from PC World etc come with Vista installed. Its best to learn from Vista rather than using XP for a couple of years before it goes out the window. Otherwise learning Linux, yes Ubuntu is good, I have used it myself. It depends if you want Microsoft products and pay a lot of money or buy a custom built PC with Linux and save a lot of money. The ubuntu forums are a great place to learn about it. Or ask someone, who has experience of it.