At Trinity College (where I work), they have abandoned Windows for Linux (Ubuntu) on the desktop. There are a few legacy Windows XP installations left over. People also bring in the occasional Windows 7 laptop, but these seem to refuse to play ball on a mixed-economy network (including servers running Windows variants and Linux). So we have been left with the impression that Windows 7 is a bear, except on Windows-only network topographies.
James Stocks has beautifully blogged his experience in installing Windows 7 on a networked computer in a similar network environment. After four days of messing around, he gives up.
The advent of mobile devices such has tablets and smartphones, running a range of operating systems, means that no operating system these days can assume it is the only player on the block and effectively refuse to co-operate with other technologies. The task for MS, if is to stay seriously in the computing game, will be to ensure Windows 8 is as multi-lingual in the network world as iOS, OS X, Linux and variants such as Android. (All these operating systems talk to all parts of our network without any problem.) Until this happens, Microsoft’s share of the market will continue to reduce, largely through the policy of sticking their head in the sand.
In the meantime, the wisest policy for accessible local networks, with lots of visitors (such as educational, rather than corporate clone environments) seems to be to continue to develop Open Source solutions as a sure way of maximizing access to the full range of operating systems.