Official Kinect drivers and some free-to-use middleware makes it even easier to get started with Kinect.
At first it looked as if the Kinect was going to be an XBox-only closed device. Then open source drivers were released into the wild and Microsoft even claimed that it didn't mind. Now we have the release of a set of official drivers for Windows and Ubuntu from the company who invented the technology, PrimeSense.
An organisation, OpenNI, has also been established to promote the open source use of "Natural Interation" devices. The founding members are PrimeSense, Willow Garage (the robot people) and Side-kick (a games company).
You can download the drivers from github and be up and running in no time at all. Although the drivers are intended to work with the PrimeSense evaluation kit, they also work with Kinect and there is a demo of the skeleton tracking shown in the video below. If you want details of how to set everything up simply search the associated Google groups.
Also available is a free-to-use version of PrimeSense's middleware - NITE. This includes gesture control and game controls. This too You can also download full documentation.
There is also a link that takes you to a page where you can buy a PrimeSense evaluation kit with hardware that has a higher resolution than the Kinect.