and I don't remember it that way at all
... on the contrary, I remember everybody salivating at the impending upgrade to XP from 95/98/ME/2K ... Vista was also rather highly anticipated, but became widely reviled >post< release, not before. Win7 was held to greater scrutiny from the get-go simply because of the Vista experience, but almost immediately after release it was hailed as the greatest Windows ever.
I've never been an 'upgrade the OS' guy ... I have always just bought a new PC with the most current consumer OS of the moment (Win95 in 1996, Win98 in 99, ME in '00, XP in '03, Vista in '07, and 7 in 09). I've never until now considered purchasing a 'back-level' OS out of concern for the quality of the new, although I've heard of luddites out there still trying to get XP on new hardware ...
There are a lot of people who think Win8 is the shiznits, or maybe they're Microsofty trolls, but there seems to be an unusually large amount of negativity about Win8 being publicized. In large part, methinks, it's due to the greater usage of social media in general, and more people are putting their highly opinionated opinions in public view (every blog / media site in world now links all their guff to multiple media sharing sites, whereas just a few years ago such widespread access was very unusual).
I ain't making any effort to publicize my opinion all over the world, but simply expressing it here it is now visible to far far more people today due to social sharing mechanisms (I'm seeing a Facebook 'like' button and a Twitter follow button at the bottom of this screen as I type) than would ever have bothered to look into these forums a couple years ago. So I think there is simply more exposure to random opinion, as well as more people putting their opinions online nowadays.
But that's just to account for some of the heat in the discussion ... I think that honestly a bigger driver for the ideological wars over Win 8 / Metro is the fact that the Metro interface is a hideous dog dookie.
I've got Win8 consumer preview running in a VM on my Win7 machine right now ... and I -- with 20 years of PC experience -- can't for the life of me figure it out. Never, at any step of the Windows evolution since Win95 have I ever been stymied trying to figure out how to find apps, how to run apps, how to shut down apps. Metro is so radically different from all that has gone before it that in essence it simply breaks the usability of the interface.
If I have to read the effin manual in order to figure out how to use the interface, it's broken. It's garbage. It's trash. And I won't have it. I won't pay for it. I won't use it.
So there. Nyah.