I'm a bit different from most as MS-Windows is the strange system to me. I've been running the same Vector system for about three years and consider it hightime I got a bit more into the userbase.
My first experiences with a non-trivial computer system were in the mid 80s as a CAD draughtman on a Unix network. This system used shared a '286 CPU amongst its dozen terminals. I studied those manuals when I could hoping to be allowed to become an administrator but was never given access to the root password. However, this stood me in good stead for future 'nix experience.
At about this time I remember examining an IBM single user system running a system called DOS. Also a GEM type GUI that the makers called Windows. My nerdiness took me in this direction as these weren't secured and I could explore and tweak to my hearts content. So I settled in the MS groove until the internet became established in the mid to late 90s. At this point the lack of security in the MS platform became a severe weakness and I started looking back to Unix. However, I discovered that in the intervening years a lightweight 'nix system had become available called Linux. It had the Unix security and would run Unix software including X-Windows.
I played with trying to get a usable Linux system for a few years but it wasn't until Mandrake brought the required skill levels low enough for me to admin my box. I am still a lazy administrator and this has, in general, dictated my choice of OS since. When Mandrake released a very buggy version I moved to Ubuntu as the most grief free system at the time. When Ubuntu got hasslesome I moved to Vector.
I describe myself as a gamma tester. I take the view that a computer user should not need to know anything about the system, only how to ask for and run the applications they desire. This ideal system should only ask superficial maintenance (e.g. emptying trash) of the user and keep running for years in this way. In short I expect my computer to fulfill my demands and not make demands of me. Not quite there yet but almost.
So my ideal OS would be built on a good solid base such as Slackware. Add some easy to use GUI admin tools. Place this on an installation CD that you start, select your choices and wander off to put the kettle on. While sipping your tea you discover that you have a full working computer system up and running with most of the apps that you want already installed. Sound familiar? Many thanks to the VL crew.
BTW Work requirements have had me occasionally work with this OS called Windows XP. What a slow painful installation process, much rebooting and hunting down drivers - 'insert this', 'insert that', 'can't find this'. And even when eventually installed the problems keep on happening with having to be permanently on the defence against intrusion. I'll stay with a good solid 'nix system, thank you.