g++ is the best
Well so far it kicks ass on MSVC++6 for metting the C++ standard. It appears that the only test will be against VC++7 which almost nobody here is using yet. I have a feeling that g++ will take VC++7 however, when it comes to templates and generic programming, we'll see.
as much as i like G++
both are excellent compilers.. but the VC++.net IDE is the greatest part.. and templates and the STL seems to actually be done right (I use pretty heavy STL too).
Also the VC++ debugger is a lot better than any free debugger I have ever seen. There are even change + continue options that dont require complete recompilation :) If you have the money + you like IDEs.. I really recommend it. (just to let you know I'm not MS junkie.. I hate VC++6, and I've used every compiler/ide from G++ to Borland to Digital Mars, VC++.net is by far the best I've ever seen)
I don't know if I would trade Emacs for anything. I have the VS.net IDE as well, but it is only okay if you like IDE's. I am finding that the man and info pages on linux are much more detailed than any Microsoft documentation.
I am still getting accustomed to Emacs but I might use it for the rest of my life. I also want to learn some of the linux command line programs like sed and awk. Linux is not as flashy, although they are adding more IDE's for example Kdevelop or so I hear, I have not used it yet. The GNU Emacs has special programming modes, it is the classic korn gold feel and it doesn't get drastically changed from version to version like Microsoft IDEs. I can depend on Emacs for the next 3 decades being able to do everything and not turning the tables on me.
you're completey right about emacs being great and a staple.. but i just prefer the .NET IDE over it, personal preference i guess