ComputerWorld has a great article about Microsoft releasing a “Ribbon” patch for all Vista users.  This patch will enable people to use applications that have been specifically built with Windows 7 Ribbon on Vista.

“That plan seems to be in tatters now. Starting in October, application developers will be assured that new software they've crafted to include the Scenic Ribbon interface will also run on Vista.

"A Windows 7 interoperability pack, known as the Windows 7 Client Platform Update, is to be released alongside Windows 7 in October of this year," said Karl Bridge, a Microsoft programming writer, in a message posted last week to a forum on the MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) site. "This update provides down-level support for the Windows Ribbon framework and will be made available from the Microsoft Download Center and as a 'Recommended update' on Windows Update."”

A new wave of “Ribbon-ized” applications will likely define a major shift with older applications who don’t use a ribbon.  Office 2007 was the first application to make use of this new UI.  With more applications adopting it, those still on Windows XP will really started to feel dated.  This will likely influence the death of XP-era computing.

The ribbon has been so popular that 3rd party tools developers have started offering custom UI frameworks based on the ribbon as seen in the picture above (courtesy of DevComponents).