So I just installed Windows XP Service Pack 3 for the first time.
Despite the reports of last-minute bugs, it was pretty tame. Not as drastic as XP Service Pack 2 (has it really been four years already?), not as nail-biting as Server 2003 Service Pack 2, and not nearly as restart-intensive as Vista Service Pack 1. Just double-click to run, wait a while, restart, wait a little while longer, and then you’re done. Still, there’s no major, desperately needed fixes in this one (like in Service Pack 2), so if you’re running XP, I’d wait until Microsoft gets around to pushing it out as an Automatic Update.
And after nearly seven years, XP has reached its more or less final form, since I rather doubt Microsoft’s going to do a Service Pack 4, given how desperate they are to move people to Vista. XP Service Pack 3 is worlds different from the original circa-2001 version of XP, and Microsoft has vastly improved XP over the last seven years. Despite Vista, the Mac, and the growing Linux population, XP is still the lingua franca of the home and enterprise computing world, and XP Service Pack 3 is going to around for a long time yet.