Word is out that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is in Beta mode. Reviewers mention that it is relatively unchanged, i.e., it is still running as a giant piece of proprietary malware, but, that it is running a little bit faster (one report takes a shot at it claiming that it is almost as fast as Windows 98). Unfortunately, Service Pack 1 still leaves Vista designed to restrict what users can do with their software.
So, my advice is: don't wait for Service Pack 1. Despite the free software worlds constant battle to acquire hardware specifications (often reverse engineering them) in order to develop free software drivers, GNU/Linux still supports far more hardware than Vista ever will. One of the reasons for this is because Vista needs certain hardware requirements to implement Digital Restrictions Management schemes and Trusted Computing schemes so that the hardware and the software can restrict how you can use your software, your data, and all of your multi-media content. I'm not sure you can run GNU/Linux on a shoebox, but you certainly don't need a top of the line machine like Vista requires. Most distributions run on anything from your old 12-pound laptop from the early 90s to the latest and greatest super-computer cluster, as well as most everything in between. When you install GNU/Linux, you decide if you want to stay on the cutting edge and be a "beta tester," or you can choose to run a heavily tested and stable version of an application. GNU/Linux is not designed to restrict the user.
In fact, free software carries freedom to the user. Microsoft claims absolute ownership over their software, but, with free
software, you have all the same rights as developers do to use, to
change, to share (even to sell) the software to whomever, and for
whatever purpose you see fit -- and, as long as you continue to pass along those same freedoms to everyone else, it will always be free software. So, don't wait for SP1, install your favorite GNU/Linux distribution today, and be a part of a thriving and respectful community that values your freedom of choice and your freedom to do what you wish with your software, your data, and your multimedia content.