In response to the suggestion that I shouldn't debate other products here, well it's just my intention to be honest about my opinions and help to push things forward by looking at how VSL can keep up, and stay ahead. I agree that the VI Pro interface is very advanced and helpful.
In response to the question about how the legato is more controllable in HS, it's simply that key velocity controls the speed of the portmento effect, so you have many gradations of slide rather than just 2. Also, you have separate control over many levels of vibrato, and many more round robins and dynamic layers.
Of course there's room for many different companies with different sounds, and I do like many aspects to VI and VIP. I just think HS has moved the technology further forward than VSL at the moment, by exploiting the potential of new fast SSDs and the large RAM now available.I think it's a fair point to mention this and hope that VSL have a new generation of amazing libraries around the corner.
Also, yes I admit that I just said HS sounds better as an assertion. I honestly thought that the difference in sound was enough for that to be beyond question, but I can see how in some ways and for some uses VI strings are still better, so fair enough that was overstated.
In response to DG's point about revolutions and evolutions, yes it would be great if a real revolution came along. I think this needs to build on the techniques of Sample Modeling's brass intruments, where individual components of sound are sampled and separated, and then the performance is put back in through modeling. I would like to see a virtual orchestra where individual real players have their performance styles captured, and the library is built up through playback of multiple modeled performances, using 'look-ahead' software to find the right articulations based on score directions and markings.
But anyway. In the short term I'll keep layering a few players from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with VI and HS, which gets a great better-than-real sound :)