If we talk about linux then Ubuntu is the best. I do agree that you can turn off those features from Vista however I do not see any major advancement in Vista over XP. Additionally when I mentioned that it asks questions on every step that was by keeping in mind of beginner users of computers and certainly of Vista.
If you dig down to Vista it has nothing much to offer over XP, there are few odd bits which you could compare however they wouldn't make one to seriously think Vista over XP.
As of Ubuntu that is one of the best OS I have seen under linux category.
If something's HARD to do, then its NOT worth doing!