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Microsoft

Microsoft Runs Out Of Windows XP Family Licenses 340

Posted by timothy
from the goodness-of-their-hearts dept.
TrAvELAr writes: "'There is a backlog,' says Mark Croft, lead product manager for Windows XP. According to this article on IDG, Microsoft has underestimated it's popularity of the new Windows XP family license. In an effort to slow piracy within single households, Microsoft has introduced the family license which will allow the user to install multiple copies of it's Windows XP operating system at a slightly discounted price of a $10 savings. Croft also states that the savings reflects the cost of Microsoft not having to produce another disc."
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Microsoft Runs Out Of Windows XP Family Licenses

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  • Ooh, Ten Dollars. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Raven (30575) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:32PM (#2607527) Homepage
    I don't think a ten dollar savings is going to stave off piracy on a 90+ dollar OS. Leaving off production costs is the START of sane pricing, not the END of a plan to give a price break for multiple purchases.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Obviously it is when people have bought all the licenses up already.
    • by guusbosman (151671) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:42PM (#2607566) Homepage
      I assume this 10$ discount wouldn't make a huge difference for many people deciding to buy or not buy. However, Microsoft makes a more 'friendly' impression offering a license like this one. I think there are many people who actually don't mind paying for licenses, and they would get a good feeling: 'wow, I just saved 10 dollar!'. So it's a matter of customer friendliness, not so much as anti-piracy policy.
    • by stilwebm (129567) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:42PM (#2607569)
      Instead, pirates will think of piracy as doing Microsoft a favor by saving them $10 per copy they distribute. =P
    • by The Raven (30575)
      After reading it more carefully, I noticed that it is a $10 savings on the FULL copy of Windows XP Home... as in, the ~$200 copy. This is not a savings on the upgrade copy.

      So it is not even a 10% savings... more like 5%. How lame.

      Raven
    • Ooh, Windows XP... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by digitalunity (19107)
      Why bother? I've found Windows XP to be less than 100% compatible with games. For the home user, compatability and useability rules. I've found Windows XP to be easy to use, but has some serious issues with a few games. These issues often require software developer issued patches to correct the issue. That's a lot of work for the casual non-technical home user. I simply don't recommend it. Why not stick with Win98? It is fairly stable, plays games like a champ, has much greater driver support, and is easily obtained.

      Like the article stated, the average geek isn't going to like reactivating XP every time the change 6 components. There certainly could have been a better way to do it. It's just not the preferred OS in anybody's house.

      Just my 2.
      • ...the average geek isn't going to like reactivating XP every time the change 6 components.

        I would definatly consider myself the average geek in this department. I have personally built all of my machines, and perform semi regular updates. However, I do not think that this activation crap is going to affect me. First, it's not just "6 components". You could, say, add a 56K modem, and that is not considered a component. Swapping out your motherboard is, obviously. Here's a scenario that puts this all into perspective (from our friends at Microsoft):

        User swaps the motherboard and CPU chip for an upgraded one, swaps the video adapter, adds a second hard drive for additional storage, doubles the amount of RAM, and swaps the CD ROM drive for a faster one.

        Now, if you ask me, this is a MAJOR upgrade (not something you generally do 4 times a year, or even once in a year). However, this will NOT trigger the activation. You would additionally have to swap a network card or something in order to trigger activation. Now, is this kind of annoying - yes. Do I like it? No. But is it really that big of a deal, considering most people get activated in less than 70 seconds over the phone, or even faster over the Internet (with NO personal information)? No. Windows Activation is annoying at worst, and is definatly NOT a deal breaker - especially when considering all of the (often overlooked on /.) benefits that the OS has to offer.
        • Yes, but what self-respecting geek gets a new computer (if you change the motherboard and processor, that's pretty much what you've done) and just leaves the same OS installation on his hard drive that he had from the previous computer?

          Generally we reinstall at this point, because it is very unseemly and potentially a performance issue if you leave all those old drivers and some of the old registry entries around. Some of the registry entries for some of the old motherboard's components usually hang around in case that component shows up again, bloating the registry and degrading peformance ever so slightly. Old drivers definitely lay around and hog space.

          That's why with few exceptions any hardware enthusiast will reinstall his OS when he gets a new computer. With Windows XP, a clean reinstall means going through the hassle of re-activation. That's precisely why I just downloaded a copy of Windows XP from alt.binaries.warez.ibm-pc.os instead of buying one--because I can't buy the corporate version that doesn't require activation at all, but I can pirate it.

          I hate to make a hollow-sounding excuse, but in this case, as a hardware enthusiast to whom performance is important and who needs the freedom to frequently reinstall from scratch without the bullshit of product activation each and every time, Microsoft left me little choice but to pirate the corporate/OEM version of Windows XP Pro rather than buying the normal version which requires product activation. I could also go ahead and buy a copy of Pro so that at least I'd be licensed and "moral," but why bother--doing so is just supporting Windows Product Activation, and I don't want to do that.

          Sure, I could have gone on using Win98SE--and I still boot into it for games--but not forever. Hardware companies are already dropping support for it--ATI, for example, only officially supports the latest 3 MS OSes, which goes back to WinME. Most ME drivers work under 98 too, but not all. And as soon as MS releases a new OS, that support for the Win9x line disappears from ATI, and from some other vendors as well. Windows 2000 isn't an option for some of us because of its poorer legacy support, and poorer driver support all around.

          What that means is that sooner or later every Windows user will have to be using a form of XP, and that those of us with the inclination to reinstall our OS from scratch every once in a while--hardware enthusiasts, geeks, whoever--are going to ant to bypass WPA. That is leading to more piracy, not less, considering the availability of the WPA-less version of XP via USENET, websites, IRC, etc., and the increasing presence of broadband to make downloading it feasible for larger audiences.

          Microsoft is just shooting itself in the foot, and silly moves like "Family Licenses" aren't going to help it. I wouldn't be at all surprised, BTW, if this "shortage of Family Licenses" isn't just a Microsoft publicity stunt to get their Family License program in the news. After all, how many of us actually heard about it before now?
          • Not wanting to support something you disagree with is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. But the way you go about it doesn't make sense to me. You are still supporting Microsoft--maybe not with your wallet, but by mindshare by using their software. Why? There are many alternatives to what they supply (especially in the realm of operating systems) and while you may not be completely free of Windows, you will go from being a user to an outsider who uses it when he has to. I've been running Linux exclusively for nearly three years and I still boot into Windows to place a few games, but I consider myself independent of their software and certainly don't support them in any way. If you want to protest against WPA then don't use Microsoft's software, period. Otherwise you're not really making a difference.
            • > Not wanting to support something you disagree with is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. But
              > the way you go about it doesn't make sense to me.

              No, but it makes sense to me, and that's what counts. :-) Why else would I do it?

              > You are still supporting Microsoft--maybe not with your wallet, but by mindshare by using
              > their software. Why? There are many alternatives to what they supply

              Actually, there are zero alternatives to what they supply. None. That's what a lot of Linux-only users seem to not "get." Here's what I mean:

              1) Gaming compatibility. There simply is no alternative to using a Microsoft OS if you want to be able to play the vast majority of games that have been made for the PC in the last 20 years. Sure, you can run *most* DOS games in DR-DOS--but not all of them, and at any rate you'd still have to boot a Windows variant to play all the Windows games. Some Windows games will work under WINE, but the vast majority will not. Hence, as someone with a very huge collection of games spanning 20 years, many of which I actually like to play rather than just have sit there, I need to use a Microsoft OS. Linux will never cut it in that department unless the Win9x codebase is opened, which is of course very unlikely.

              2) Application compatibility and continuity. Because Windows has been the dominant platform for many years, people like me are used to using certain applications for certain jobs--they work well for us and we aren't interested in changing to a new OS and trying to find an equivalent which probably is not there in the same fashion. This is especially true since so many Linux apps are enigmatically named (how are we supposed to find them in the first place?) and not geared for GUI users. Most end users like me have no desire to leave a well-mapped-out GUI app with buttons and menus in intuitive places and universal shortcuts (most Windows apps or Mac apps conform to the same shortcut key layouts--Linux apps often do not) for a Linux app that isn't very intuitively layed out because it either caters mostly to CLI users or was coded by CLI users who didn't really put thought into layout for GUI folk. And even if they did, unlike Windows or Mac, there is no real standard layout in Linux. KDE and Gnome are fixing this, but not all the apps I'd need to use are thus GUIfied. Back to the naming thing for a second--why should end users have to learn a whole new vocabulary just to know what their apps do? I mean, Linux apps are very oddly named by Win and Mac standards. Anyone knows instantly what Media Player does--it plays media, like movies and sounds. Great. But how is an end user supposed to know what xanim does? I do, but I'm more literate than the average end user. Even so, I wouldn't know what some things are if I switched to Linux, and my time is too valuable to waste learning.

              See, end users who've been around a while develop attachments to their apps. I need ACDSee for viewing pictures, and I won't even touch that crap that comes built-in to WinXP for doing so. I need Gravity and Agent for my USENET groups--I've tried that thing that comes with Mozilla, and I hate it. It has no features compared to Gravity and Agent, which are the top newsreaders by far among the people who know what they're doing on USENET precisely beause of their features and power. I need Photoshop for image editing--The Gimp is okay, and I can do some script-fu with it that I can't under Photoshop, but it isn't as powerful in most respects, is more clunky and difficult to use, and lacks CMYK color separation which is a must for many graphic artists. Likewise, while thwere are many PDF utils for Linux, none of them is as versatile and useful as Acrobat. Plus, there are a dozen small utils I've been using for years for small tasks which are just indispensible for me, and which I would not be able to find replacements I'm comfortable with under Linux.

              you see, I'm set in my ways and attached to my apps. I'm efficient on Windows because of this. And I'd wager that most computer-literate Windows users are the same way. It isn't that Windows is any better--if I had learned on Linux, I'd probably be attached to certain old Linux apps and be efficient on that platform and find it indispensable. There would just be too steep a learning curve to make the effort worthwhile. I don't have the time. I use my computer; my computer doesn't use me.

              3) Compatibility with the outside world. This isn't important to everyone. Indeed, even Mac users get used to a certain amount of non-interoperability. But to some of us it's damn important. I'm not talking about just the whole Office .doc thing, either--an awful lot of media is Windows-only, for example. There are codecs which will never be available on Linux, but I have no problem finding them for Windows. Why should I put up with not being able to use a film clip, when I could have done so with Windows? Again, not everyone cares, but some of us do. There are some pretty strange and obscure file formats that have been developed over the years, but almost alays there is software for Windows which will handle it. The same just can't be said for Linux, or to a large extent for Mac. That's not to say closed and hard-to-deal-with formats are good--I always try to use open and readily-available formats that anyone can use or view. But there are a lot of people out there who don't do the same and there are also a lot of legacy files to be dealt with.

              > If you want to protest against WPA then don't use Microsoft's software, period. Otherwise
              > you're not really making a difference.

              This is a common sentiment among Linux users, but it's just based on dislike of Microsoft and love of open software rather than logic. The logic is simple: if Microsoft gets my money, I am supporting them. If Microsoft doesn't get my money, I am not supporting them. In the latter case, it makes no difference whether I am personally using Windows or using Linux, as long as whatever comes out of my box is cross-platform. Let's look at it:

              A) Chasing Amy uses Linux. Microsoft gets no money from him. Whatever he produces and sends over the net is cross-platform.

              B) Chasing Amy uses (pirated) Windows. Microsoft gets no money from him. Whatever he produces and sends over the net is cross-platform.

              In either case, the results are the same. Whether I use Linux or not has no bearing at all on anything external to my box. Internally it makes sure that I can use media and documents I wouldn't be able to use with Linux, and it maintains my use of the apps I am familiar with. Externally the world doesn't know or care what I have on my box, as long as whatever I produce is cross-platform--which it is.
              • 1) Gaming compatibility. There simply is no alternative to using a Microsoft OS if you want to be able to play the vast majority of games that have been made for the PC in the last 20 years.

                In other words, you refer to PC games released from 1982 to the end of 2001. You can get 99% MS-DOS compatible DOS from IBM [ibm.com] or from Lineo [8ung.at]. You can get a 90% MS-DOS compatible DOS from the FreeDOS Project [freedos.org].

                Sure, you can run *most* DOS games in DR-DOS--but not all of them

                Name some titles? Do they work in IBM's PC DOS?

                and at any rate you'd still have to boot a Windows variant to play all the Windows games.

                If the game was released before 1996 (that's 14 years of PC games), it probably runs under DOS because DirectDraw didn't come out until 1996, previous Windows versions (without DDraw) lacked the video performance of DOS (e.g. no 320x200x8 mode), and most Windows 3.1 games have free clones by now anyway.

                Or just get a Nintendo GameCube or Game Boy Advance and skip the whole thing.

                This is especially true since so many Linux apps are enigmatically named

                How is it any different on windows? Notwithstanding Microsoft's marketing, how can you tell "Excel" stands for a spreadsheet program? What about "Outlook" for an e-mail and calendar program? What about "Napster" or "Limewire" for a media sharing app?

                (how are we supposed to find them in the first place?)

                OSDN Freshmeat [freshmeat.net].

                Anyone knows instantly what Media Player does--it plays media, like movies and sounds. Great. But how is an end user supposed to know what xanim does?

                xanim: take off the x and you get 'anim' which is one letter away from the 'anime' videos.

                I need Photoshop for image editing--The Gimp is okay, and I can do some script-fu with it that I can't under Photoshop, but it isn't as powerful in most respects, is more clunky and difficult to use, and lacks CMYK color separation which is a must for many graphic artists.

                Photoshop costs $600. Photoshop Elements (same thing as Photoshop without the CMYK stuff; feature set similar to that of GIMP or Jasc's Paint Shop Pro) costs $100. What's the difference? The royalty for the PANTONE patents.

                you see, I'm set in my ways and attached to my apps ... There would just be too steep a learning curve to make the effort worthwhile.

                Would it cost more than $900 (XP Pro license + Photoshop license) to retrain you to use Free software?

                Compatibility with the outside world.

                As long as you use standards-based file formats, you should be safe.

                Why should I put up with not being able to use a film clip, when I could have done so with Windows?

                Why should you put up with stock film vendors who do not make their collections available to their customers in MPEG or MPEG-4 format?

                There are some pretty strange and obscure file formats that have been developed over the years, but almost alays there is software for Windows which will handle it.

                If a file format is obscure enough, the software that can convert it to a more transparent format tends to be older, and WINE tends to run older software more reliably.

                B) Chasing Amy uses (pirated) Windows. Microsoft gets no money from him.

                Microsoft gets $100,000 from him, maximum statutory damages in the US for copyright infringement.

              • 1) Gaming compatibility. There simply is no alternative to using a Microsoft OS if you want to be able to play the vast majority of games that have been made for the PC in the last 20 years. Sure, you can run *most* DOS games in DR-DOS--but not all of them, and at any rate you'd still have to boot a Windows variant to play all the Windows games. Some Windows games will work under WINE, but the vast majority will not. Hence, as someone with a very huge collection of games spanning 20 years, many of which I actually like to play rather than just have sit there, I need to use a Microsoft OS. Linux will never cut it in that department unless the Win9x codebase is opened, which is of course very unlikely.

                In my home net I have a linux PC and a WinXP machine. I have recently bought several games from Loki, and guess what- now my Linux PC is used mostly for games. Much more than the XP PC which only runs a few older (for us) games that we already completed

                Many game vendors are starting to realize the advantages of Linux for gaming and release their games for Linux as well as Windows. By buying games for Linux, you support the Linux world and fight Microsoft. By pirating Microsoft Windows but paying for Windows software you signal to the companies that they should release their software only for Windows, thus supporting Microsoft.

                2) Application compatibility and continuity. Because Windows has been the dominant platform for many years, people like me are used to using certain applications for certain jobs--they work well for us and we aren't interested in changing to a new OS and trying to find an equivalent which probably is not there in the same fashion. This is especially true since so many Linux apps are enigmatically named (how are we supposed to find them in the first place?) and not geared for GUI users. Most end users like me have no desire to leave a well-mapped-out GUI app with buttons and menus in intuitive places and universal shortcuts (most Windows apps or Mac apps conform to the same shortcut key layouts--Linux apps often do not) for a Linux app that isn't very intuitively layed out because it either caters mostly to CLI users or was coded by CLI users who didn't really put thought into layout for GUI folk.

                Productivity studies have shown that a well-traided CLI user is much more productive than the respective well-trained GUI user. This is simply because it's faster for the brain to type a command than to precisely point and click several menus with the mouse. You aren't typing with your mouse, are you?

                With that said, Linux does have intuitive GUIs and even lets you simulate Windows for various tasks. Learning the names of apps is quite trivial and can be done in a few minutes, and it's always good to learn your tools throughly before using them. You have been using an OS for begginers. It is time to evolve to a more advanced OS, to a system that does what you want it do, and not what it wants.

                Anyone knows instantly what Media Player does--it plays media, like movies and sounds. Great. But how is an end user supposed to know what xanim does?

                Have you tried Mplayer [mplayerhq.hu]? Better name for you? It's also a much better app for media playing.

                My time is too valuable to waste learning.

                But your time is so unvaluable to waste on using your tools sub-optimally. Think on how much time you waste by not knowing keyboard shortcuts, or by rebooting your system and restoring data after a crash, or by reading /. for that matter :)

                I need ACDSee for viewing pictures, and I won't even touch that crap that comes built-in to WinXP for doing so.

                Have you ever tried GQview [sourceforge.net]? It works real well.

                I need Photoshop for image editing--The Gimp is okay, and I can do some script-fu with it that I can't under Photoshop, but it isn't as powerful in most respects, is more clunky and difficult to use, and lacks CMYK color separation which is a must for many graphic artists

                Hmmm.... Image|Mode|Decompose...|CMYK. Was that so hard?

                3) Compatibility with the outside world. This isn't important to everyone. Indeed, even Mac users get used to a certain amount of non-interoperability. But to some of us it's damn important. I'm not talking about just the whole Office .doc thing, either--an awful lot of media is Windows-only, for example. There are codecs which will never be available on Linux, but I have no problem finding them for Windows. Why should I put up with not being able to use a film clip, when I could have done so with Windows?

                If you are talking about "Windows Media Player", then just use Mplayer [mplayerhq.hu], which supports almost all Media Player codecs. If you are talking about Quicktime, why should you use a non-portable codec? If you are referring to RealPlayer, there is a linux version available.

                Again, not everyone cares, but some of us do. There are some pretty strange and obscure file formats that have been developed over the years, but almost alays there is software for Windows which will handle it. The same just can't be said for Linux, or to a large extent for Mac. That's not to say closed and hard-to-deal-with formats are good--I always try to use open and readily-available formats that anyone can use or view. But there are a lot of people out there who don't do the same and there are also a lot of legacy files to be dealt with.

                Actually, quite a lot of 'obscure' formats are supported in the standard apps available on Linux, such as ImageMagick [imagemagick.org]. Which obscure formats have you had problems with?

                B) Chasing Amy uses (pirated) Windows. Microsoft gets no money from him. Whatever he produces and sends over the net is cross-platform.

                But now - Chasing Amy pays for Windows software, which triggers more windows software to be produced, thus making it even harded for people such as Chasing Amy to switch to Linux, and increasing Micro$oft's monopoly. In addition, Chasing Amy finds a job somewhere, and his employer is required to purchase a M$ license for him, thus giving money directly to Microsoft. It's all about market share. By using windows you increase the amount of licenses that will be sold, either by not influencing people not to buy windows, or by using purchased versions of Windows in public places and at work, or even by purchasing Windows software and games instead of Linux software and games, thus dragging Loki [loki.com] to bankrupcy and making game developers think developing for Linux is a bad idea.

                In either case, the results are the same. Whether I use Linux or not has no bearing at all on anything external to my box. Internally it makes sure that I can use media and documents I wouldn't be able to use with Linux, and it maintains my use of the apps I am familiar with. Externally the world doesn't know or care what I have on my box, as long as whatever I produce is cross-platform--which it is.

                Not quite. Your browser identifies itself as running under Windows (I hope you're not using the junky MSIE), which gets counted by web survey companies, and then leads to decisions to abandon Linux as a target.

                The fact that you use non-portable documents instead of banning those who produce them and instructing them to switch to a portable format increaes the Microsoft monopoly, because those who produce those documents now 'know' that it's OK to send you (and therefore anyone) those documents. This will lead to more non-portable documents, and thus more people using Windows, some paying for it.

                • you don't get it. he's comfortable where he is. he doesn't want to spend days/weeks learning all new stuff for ideological purposes.

                  it's an OS, not a fsckin' religion, and until you linux people figure that out, it's going to be a joke to everyone but broke college students who still think Marxism works.

                  [TO THE MODERATOR: yeah that's right, -1 troll and -1 flamebait, you bigoted sons of bitches]

          • You're a pirate and a bald-faced thief. You could very well have bought Win XP and THEN pirated it, fulfilling some minimum standard of ethics, but no. I see right through you. Your excuses are paper thin.

            C//
            • > You're a pirate

              Sorry, but the last time I wore an eyepatch and shouted "Aaaargh, mate-eeeeee!" was for some weird sex game my girlfriend wanted. I'm not actually a pirate in real life.

              > and a bald-faced

              Wrong again. Can't you get anything right? I have a beard. While I admit it does make me look slightly more like a pirate--Redbeard, maybe--it still doesn't negate your first mistake, either. ;-)

              > thief.

              What's that they say about three strikes? Oh yeah: "Yerrrrr OUT!" You cannot steal a bunch of electrons--well, I suppose that you could, but I actually copied them over the network. See, I connected to my news server, which I did pay for since they actually provide me with a useful service and don't try to form a predatory monopoly by stripping away all semblence of fair use and first sale doctrine. They had a bunch of magnetic charges that I liked, and so I arranged some magnetic charges on my computer to be in the same patterns as the magnetic charges on theirs. After that I transferred the pattern of magnetic charges into a pattern of organic splotches on a CD-R medium. Notice that in no phase of this transaction did I actually deprive anyone of property. Therefore, I am not a theif.

              > You could very well have bought Win XP and THEN pirated it, fulfilling some minimum standard of ethics

              Oh yes, that makes sense. I want to punish Microsoft for depriving consumers of their rights of fair use and first sale, and for strangling the market in general with their monopolistic abuses, so I give them money. Makes perfect sense to me.

              And besides, either the act of copying those magnetic charges is wrong, or it isn't--paying Microsoft for a burdened copy of Windows so that I can "pirate" something they refuse to sell me--the unburdened copy--makes no sense yet again.

              At least *try* to make sense next time.

              • "Either it is, or it isn't" is a bifurcated argument. It's a fallacy. Look it up.

                As for the issue, one can argue that the behavior of acquiring a legitimate license and then putting it to legitimate -- albeit altered use -- is fair use and protected under very old precepts of common law, such as doctrine of first sale and so forth.

                I'm seeing through your argument again, by the way. You're claim of "punishment" is another lie. You could just as easily (and ethically) "punish" by simply not using Windows at all.

                Curious how your "stand" also happens to fulfill your self-interest.

                C//
      • I've found Windows XP to be less than 100% compatible with games. For the home user, compatability and useability rules.

        Compatibility isn't really an issue. Sure, there are some poorly-written titles that won't run on XP, but the vast, vast majority of titles will run just fine. Some might require that Compatibility Mode is enabled for them, but that's a checkbox in the item's shortcut.

        I've found Windows XP to be easy to use, but has some serious issues with a few games.

        See above.

        These issues often require software developer issued patches to correct the issue. That's a lot of work for the casual non-technical home user.

        Not really, since Windows XP will warn the user about most known-broken software upon installation, and if the user fscks XP by clicking Continue Anyway, they can just restore the system to the restore point created the moment they clicked Continue Anyway. Patches aren't that difficult to find and apply for anyone with basic Web-navigation skills. Go to game's website, click Downloads or Support, look around for the XP patch, click it, run it.

        Why not stick with Win98? It is fairly stable, plays games like a champ, has much greater driver support, and is easily obtained.

        Windows 98 is absolute garbage in comparison to XP. Drivers regularly bring down 98 machines, and if you're playing games, every game you install seems to install a slightly different flavour of DirectX (which, because of its tight integration into Windows, causes all sorts of havoc).

        It may play games like a champ, but even your casual non-technical home user gets fed up with bluescreens after seeing one or more per day, sometimes while working on something important.

        If taking licensing into account, a new copy of Win98 or Me is practically just as expensive as XP, so there's certainly no money saved by going with anything less than XP.

        Like the article stated, the average geek isn't going to like reactivating XP every time the change 6 components. There certainly could have been a better way to do it.

        How often do you change 6 of the monitored components? Did you know that the counter resets itself to zero after 120 days anyway? I'm about as hardcore as they come, and *I* don't even change out that many within that time frame!

        Plus, geeks who want XP will get the no-activation-required Open License RTM ISO floating around the net if they're so worried about activation!

        It's just not the preferred OS in anybody's house.

        It's the preferred OS in mine for my desktop, thank you very much.
      • I've found Windows XP to be less than 100% compatible with games. For the home user, compatability and useability rules.

        Compatibility isn't really an issue. Sure, there are some poorly-written titles that won't run on XP, but the vast, vast majority of titles will run just fine. Some might require that Compatibility Mode is enabled for them, but that's a checkbox in the item's shortcut.

        I've found Windows XP to be easy to use, but has some serious issues with a few games.

        See above.

        These issues often require software developer issued patches to correct the issue. That's a lot of work for the casual non-technical home user.

        Not really, since Windows XP will warn the user about most known-broken software upon installation, and if the user fscks something up by clicking Continue Anyway, they can just restore the system to the restore point created the moment they clicked Continue Anyway. Patches aren't that difficult to find and apply for anyone with basic Web-navigation skills. Go to game's website, click Downloads or Support, look around for the XP patch, click it, run it.

        Why not stick with Win98? It is fairly stable, plays games like a champ, has much greater driver support, and is easily obtained.

        Windows 98 is absolute garbage in comparison to XP. Drivers regularly bring down 98 machines, and if you're playing games, every game you install seems to install a slightly different flavour of DirectX (which, because of its tight integration into Windows, causes all sorts of havoc).

        It may play games like a champ, but even your casual non-technical home user gets fed up with bluescreens after seeing one or more per day, sometimes while working on something important.

        If taking licensing into account, a new copy of Win98 or Me is practically just as expensive as XP, so there's certainly no money saved by going with anything less than XP.

        Like the article stated, the average geek isn't going to like reactivating XP every time the change 6 components. There certainly could have been a better way to do it.

        How often do you change 6 of the monitored components? Did you know that the counter resets itself to zero after 120 days anyway? I'm about as hardcore as they come, and *I* don't even change out that many within that time frame!

        Plus, geeks who want XP will get the no-activation-required Open License RTM ISO floating around the net if they're so worried about activation!

        It's just not the preferred OS in anybody's house.

        It's the preferred OS in mine for my desktop, thank you very much.
    • There's no additional cost to them whatsoever for someone to install another copy of windows, and they already make ten times what they need for R&D. The greedy bastards at MS are just gouging the market because they have a monopoly and many, many people are forced to use their OS. $90 instead of $100 for something with $0 marginal cost is still a bloody ripoff.
      • Yes, and there's no additional cost to them whatsoever if ANYONE installs a copy of Windows (repeat or not). Ditto for Oracle's database.

        The marginal cost of software is virtually zero. That doesn't mean it should be sold free of cost - it means that the economic models you learned in Econ 101 are flawed and unable to address the situation.
    • If I am going to pay retail price for software (i'm not but if..) for the ten dollars, I want a box, a book, a cd, and any other fluff that comes in that box.

    • Obviously there are enough people that don't think $10 off is too little that they have run out of licenses. So who exactly looks like a fool now?
  • by T.Hobbes (101603) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:34PM (#2607533)
    The Register some critical coverage [theregister.co.uk] of the same matter. Seems this may be just a PR ploy
    • by anticypher (48312) <anticypher@@@gmail...com> on Saturday November 24, 2001 @08:33PM (#2608422) Homepage
      As the reg points out, these licence packs don't seem to have been distributed in Europe. Which could explain why nobody is currently able to buy one. If the press release were truthful (what, from M$?), it would point out that M$ forgot to print any family pack licenses, and that accounts for a very tiny backlog of clued owners looking for a slight savings.

      Its just another PR ploy to get free press by implying that XP is a strong seller, even though the figures seem to be based on early sales to OEMs and distributors, who were forced to pay for large shipments to keep their contracts with M$. Only the register seems to be looking at the numbers of XP copies actually being sold by distributors to end users, any other press outlet who relies on M$ marketing money is printing verbatim the press releases shoveled at them.

      At one disti I know, the sales channel manager was lamenting the USD$20 million in XP stock they were forced to buy, which may take them more than 6 months to offload, instead of the vaguely promised 3 weeks. They're hurting, but that's what happens when a convicted monopolist is allowed to continue their abuse.

      the AC
  • by ejaytee (186527) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:36PM (#2607543)
    ...in an effort to slow piracy within single households, Microsoft has introduced... Ooohh, I hate all those pirates in single households. I wonder what Microsoft has in mind to stop the pirates in married households.
  • by LibertarianCrackSmok (536453) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:38PM (#2607553)
    From the article: And here's another catch: You can't purchase additional family-use licenses based on a license of a Windows XP preloaded on a new PC. To take advantage of the family license, you'll need to buy a full packaged copy of Win XP. That's always been the plan, because most preloaded discs are already tied to a single PC, and that disc couldn't be used to install the OS on another system, according to Microsoft.

    All this is is M$ once again sticking it to the customers, for corporations this makes since because there are a lot of computers that they would have to load Windows onto but for the home user this is crazy. Microsoft knows they have the home market in a choke hold and that's why they do this, you'll never see a second rate software maker like Apple do this.
    • On the contrary, Apple's liscense is less forgiving in respect to multiple single family installations.

      From the MacOSX Liscense:

      2.A. This Liscense allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-Labelled computer at a time. This Liscense does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time, and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time....

      Apple does not offer $10 off of MacOSX for single families wishing to install OSX on more than one computer. Additionally, if you own a non-Apple Mac clone the liscense does not allow you to install it even if you purchased a copy of OSX for it.

      The major difference here is that there is no copy protection on MacOSX.

      I would also disagree with your assertion that Apple makes "second rate" software. Especially if WindowsXP is considered "first rate" perhaps you meant to say "smaller" software maker.
    • As seen here

      http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/psz-24.11.01-0 00/ [heise.de]

      of course that is in german, so use this babelfish link [altavista.com]

      US Army wants allegedly no Windows XP

      US armed forces are to have decided against the use of the new Microsoft operating system Windows XP. By its on-line registration the Redmonder software company would get too much information about the computers and software of the American Department of Defense into the hands. That again would be a violation of the government regulations to data security. The pentagon is to have cancelled therefore the purchase of PCS, on which Windows XP is installed. How it is called further, the Ministry of Defense wants also in the future to acquire no licenses for Windows XP.

      All this maintains anyhow Charles R. Smith, Cyberwar Cyberwar-Kolumnist of the NewsMax [newsmax.com] appearing in the Web . He sees himself as one of the prominent American experts for Cyber technology and their meaning for the war, the terrorism, the data security and the daily life. Charles Smith says about itself, he has good contacts since the cold war to the US Army, which was he with " Games Programs " supplied. Today he is a president and CEO von Softwar, its own consulting firm, writes additionally for the " USAF information of throwing AR journal " and maintains as a journalist regular contacts to American secret service sets.

      The press department of the American Department of Defense did not want to acknowledge Charles Smith in the fact that Windows XP was generally gebannt in the area of the US Army. Windows XP is new on the market. One must regard that only once. The pentagon became general on the fact however always notes that the software used there does not contain back doors, traps, viruses and Trojaner.

      Manufacturer Microsoft does not take the security doubts of authorities and enterprises on the light shoulder. The software giant has therefore a " Corporate edition " of its new operating system in the delivery program, which does without the on-line registration

  • Big deal (Score:2, Redundant)

    by glenebob (414078)
    You can save alot more than ten bucks if you just install it on all your PC's without telling MS about it.

    Does anybody actually pay the extra lisencing fee when they install on more than one household PC?

    Besides, if you consider Redhat as a price baseline, and considering the difference in functionality, XP is worth what, about $3.00? That means you can install it on 30 PC's before you get your money's worth.
    • Re:Big deal (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fishebulb (257214)
      yes this would save money but with there activation code bs it will become hard and harder. granted that code has probably been cracked or some workaround for it. but they are basically trying to kill the casual copying or loaning of disks. that really is irritating because i hate those Restore disks hp and gateway give you. i just want to install winders on my friends machine (well I would want linux, but they want windows) they dont want all that garbage. they paid for a copy of windows, so why cant i use my install disk, and their legal cdkey?
  • So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m_evanchik (398143) <michel_evanchikATevanchik...net> on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:45PM (#2607579) Homepage
    Why is everyone always bitching when Microsoft tries to milk its customers? The more people get milked, the more they consider their alternatives.

    Let Microsoft double its price for the second installation and make software piracy a capital offense. I assure you that would increase the use of open-source software.
    • The more people get milked, the more they consider their alternatives

      +1, perfect quote.

      I started planting the seeds of doubt with my uncle. He recently sold a tax prep biz which required windows. Now he just surfs and emails. I explained to him how much he should really be spending for his MS software on each PC. He got sircam this year and started emailing out files from his tax directory (not customer's returns that I could tell, thank god) and he left his pc off for weeks until he could be sure it was cleaned.

      I wrapped up the cleanup session with, "now think about how much MS expected you to PAY for this kind of software!" I said, "you let me know when you're really done with your tax work, and I'll load up some much safer software for you to use." I suppose I could dual-boot him and tell him to boot to Windows only to do taxes, but I'd have to see how well he takes to that.
      • This is a great advantage of Linux being superior to Windows. Another is in any sort of server work when the administrator is fairly knowledgeable and competent.

        In my case I still use Windows because I play a lot of games and use a lot of high-end graphics software like Quark, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (sorry, but Killustrator and GIMP just cannot compare).

        Lastly, I am not a knowledgeable, nor that competent, and Windows '98 is pretty easy to use on the desktop.

        In your uncle's case, Windows is still probably the best bet, as dual booting can be a real nightmare, and Windows is still pretty safe to use for Internet tasks if it is properly configured (updated virus definitions, maybe a firewall, don't use Outlook) and he won;t get confused. On the other hand, if he has to share files in a networked enviroment, then Linux with Samba may be a good alternative provided he has a conscientous administrator.

        Linux still has a way to go before it is as user friendly as Windows. The truth is that Microsoft throws hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars of boring quality assurance work into it's product that the Linux volunteer community is not willing (nor should they be) or able to replicate at this time. It will take someone with very deep pockets to provide this sort of grunt work to get Linux up to the stupid-user-friendly level that Windows is at.

        Making an economic argument for this is difficult. It would need to be someone with deep pockets and other reasons for pursuing this strategy. I can only think of IBM, Oracle and HP/Compaq in the private sector. On the public side, If a major government like Japan or the US or France would commit itself to only using open-source software, there may be a future in such a strategy as well.
        • In my case I still use Windows because I play a lot of games and use a lot of high-end graphics software like Quark, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (sorry, but Killustrator and GIMP just cannot compare).



          Amen to that.



          I'm a raving Linux advocate, but I can't advocate it to the people I work with simply because the software I use professionally (what you've named here) simply isn't available.



          Then again, none of the people I know doing graphic design/layout have PCs, AFAIK, so we could all be using maconlinux anyway (which seems to defeat the purpose of running Linux, but hey, if MacOS is more stable under Linux, as some claim...)



          Unfortunately, I can't test the theory, as I have an AMD-based PC at home, and don't wish to support Apple any more than I have to. :-/

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Get onto IRC and download the Devils0wn release of WindowsXP. Its the corporate release so it has no activation! No more family licenses? Well, who gives a damn...

    HAHA... eat my $#!7 billy
  • What?? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Penguinoflight (517245) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:46PM (#2607589) Homepage Journal
    You mean they actually want you to buy a licence for every computer you put it on? How last-century :-)
  • Most families have 2-3 PCs tops. Why on earth would they want to have a family license when they can actually obtain individual licenses (+discs) for a mere 10-20$ more. Am I missing something here?
  • hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    You know, this may very well true; but you have to wonder: is this true? It would be good PR for Microsoft. People love buying Microsoft even more than people guessed! The average person when reading this will probably think, "wow, people love buying the wonderful new Microsoft operating system! Maybe I should go out and buy it." Many companies have had press releases like that. If it backfires, they apologize and blame a scapegoat, and everyone forgets.
  • by 47PHA60 (444748) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:49PM (#2607604) Journal
    I am not sure why they could not could not have tied the activation scheme into a credit card system to allow you to purchase additional licenses at install time.

    Just tell the SSL web page how many computers you want to install on, pay $10-$15 for each additional license (not $80), and receive an activation code that you transmit to the central server each time you install on a new machine (and will work up to the number of licenses you bought).

    I seems foolish to charge $90 for the upgrade, then another $80 for each additional, since MS only needs to sell one CD per household. With the lower price, MS still makes more money than they would off of a pirated copy, and the customer gets a licensing cost that is only slightly more torturous than the MacOS or Linux.

    Regardless of what one thinks of MS' predatory behavior towards other software/hardware makers, it's in any company's interest to carefully think out and plan their consumer sales channel. MS' scheme looks pretty half-baked, indicating that it waqs not well-planned, and that nobody who actually works for the company has ever actually been a customer, and seen what it's like.
  • Microsoft Rep: "Hi! Looks like your buying Windows XP, would you care to buy a family license?"

    User: "How much will I save?"

    Rep: "Ten dollars. But we just give you the sticker and a piece of paper, no actual box or CD or anything like that. That would cost us something like ... ten dollars!"

    User: "Why don't I just buy the regular version again and get all that stuff including a backup cd just in case one is damaged or lost?"

    Rep: "Because then we at Microsoft dont save money!"
    • ..seems a bit steep for a company that uses prison labor [prisonactivist.org] to shrink wrap the boxes. I can't imagine more than a few dimes for pressing a CD. Maybe those fancy holograms are responsible..

  • I just checked prices at a professional CD manufacturer (acmed [acmecd.com]). They quoted $0.87 per CD at 10000 quantity for CD, jewel box, three color printed label and insert. Microsoft either has a very sad manufacturing process or the statement "that the savings reflects the cost of Microsoft not having to produce another disc" is not quite accurate.
    • Well, I'm not siding with MS, but don't forget to include the cost of packaging (Those boxes are huge!), shipping, distribution, keeping track of 3 more CD keys, etc. It's probably close to 5 or 6 dollars at least.

    • by kimihia (84738) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:19PM (#2607690) Homepage

      So you would have preferred a $0.87 discount instead of a $10 discount?

      Oh no sirree, don't give me it that cheaply! Charge me the full $9.13 difference.

    • But then, as others have pointed out, is the cost of the box, the manual. But those are just the manufacturing costs. You're leaving out entirely the management cost. Somebody at MS, presumably an entire department, has to supervise the manufacturing and distribution (itself another cost) of packaged software.

      I'd guess that it costs MS at least $2M per year to have a small staff that supervises the production of XP boxed software. That's salary, benefits, office space, phones, coffee, scotch, hookers, hush money and everything else that it costs MS to have those people do the job of seeing that someone else makes CDs, prints manuals, shoves them into boxes and gets 'em trucked to the local Microcenter.

      It's those numbers along with the manufacturing costs that gives MS their per-unit numbers.
  • I thought it was not able to be pirated! Man, did Microsoft lie to us?
  • by 1/137 (179946) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @03:59PM (#2607628)

    Here's how it works: You can buy a license to use your existing Windows XP disc to install the software on another PC for up to 10 percent less than the original cost of the program. So, for example, at Microsoft's own Web-based store, if you bought the Windows XP Home Upgrade version for $99, you can buy an additional license for that product for $89. If you bought a full version of the software for $199, a second license will run you about $189.

    Nice math!

    • Do you buy the second copy frrom the retailer, or directly from Microsoft? If you buy Windows for $99, Microsoft doesn't see $99, they see maybe $40, once you count packaging, shipping, and retailers fees. I believe to sell a product retail profitably you have to be able to manufacture (in software, that includese paying programmers) it for 25% of the retail price. This means Microsoft is making at least two if not three times as much money when you buy the additional license.
      • well, i'm not sure if it still applies, but when i worked for staples back in highschool (about 2 1/2 years ago) they only marked up software about $10, if even that.

        so they'd sell a copy of Win98SE for $89.95, but they paid $80 for it. (actually, for 98se, i think staples payed $82.25 for it, but i don't recall exactly).

        now, i'm not sure how much of that $82 MS actually sees from the sale, but staples only sees about $5-10 for each software sale

    • So microsoft admits that it only costs them $10 to make another CD, and basically you are giving them the money for nothing. The $89 or $189 are pure profit, after all, they dont have to do anything except give you an activation code.
  • How on earth do you run out of a (presumably) auto-incrementing license number? So you sell 10... give the next guy #11!! It's not that difficult. Heck, you could even do it with... MICROSOFT ACCESS! Wow! But does Microsoft know how to use its own software? Of course they do. So this can't be a software issue... it must be spin of some kind. I went to a popular electronics store, and they seemed to have a whole lot of Microsoft XP's sitting around... right next to the x-box'es. Go Nintendo!
  • PR Stunt? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pen (7191) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:05PM (#2607638)
    Does it seem weird to anyone else that MS would have a limited number of licenses on an OS? Isn't this just a serial number generated by a script/program within a few seconds?

    "Wow, Windows XP is so popular, Microsoft ran out of licenses!"

  • by cornflux (168139) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:05PM (#2607640)
    And for the rare home users who do make major hardware changes, such as swapping out six pieces of hardware or installing a new motherboard, they simply have to call a toll-free number at Microsoft. The technician there will ask about the hardware changes, and then will reactivate the software over the phone, he says.
    This just makes me feel all itchy and paranoid and claustrophobic and ...

    So, I guess I'm one of those rare people who would dare do such a thing. I can see it now:

    MS Tech: Hello, sir. What can I help you with today?
    Me: Hi, I just upgraded my machine and I need to reactivate XP.
    MS Tech: Okay, sir. *clickety-clack* And why were you upgrading your machine, sir?
    Me: Oh, I bought a new motherboard and CPU and a few other things.
    MS Tech: *clickety-clack* Mmm, hhmm... and what motherboard?
    Me: Uh... do you really need to know that?
    MS Tech: Yes.
    Me: Hmm... Gigabyte GA-7DXR.
    MS Tech: Oh... *clickety-clack*... you really should have gone for the Tyan Thunder K7.
    Me: Excuse me?
    MS Tech: I'm sorry, sir... *clickety-clack* I'm going to have to get manager approval on this one. Please hold.
    Me: But I was already on hold for 20 minutes! I just want to use my machine!
    MS Tech: *clickety-clack* Sir, please be patient. Remember, this conversation is being recorded. *clickety-clack* Me: Oy, vey!
    ...another 20 minutes later...
    MS Tech: *clickety-clack* Sir, you'll notice the knock at your door.

    • Wow, your ignorance on this subject really shows through! But this this is Slashdot, you can always expect people to be ignorant about things Microsoft.

      Having actually been through this process, I can tell you that it involves placing a call to an 800 number, waiting about 1 to 2 minutes for a rep to answer, reading them a number, them reading you back a number, and you're done. No questions asked. I'm not saying I like the process, I'm just telling it for what it is.

      But of course, having *never used* Windows XP you wouldn't know anything about this.
  • by mindstrm (20013)
    Strictly speaking, if I have windows XP, legally, and I then disable all the product-activiation stuff with some kind of crack.. I'm within my rights, yes?
    • Strictly speaking, if I have windows XP, legally, and I then disable all the product-activiation stuff with some kind of crack.. I'm within my rights, yes?

      Well, you see, that's what the DMCA fixes.

    • Strictly speaking, if I have windows XP, legally, and I then disable all the product-activiation stuff with some kind of crack.. I'm within my rights, yes?

      Strictly speaking, I can take the source code for Linux, make all kinds of modifications to it, and then sell it without releasing my mods, yes?

      After all, we're just talking about a license violation.

      Ummm yeah...
    • Not anymore you can't. If you live in US, there is this law called DMCA that is designed to prevent you from doing just that. I'm just waiting for the DMCA virus to spread to other countries. Looks like it will happen soon...
  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:16PM (#2607676) Homepage

    In other news, Sony has announced a new Television Family License which allows all members of a family or household (up to 5 individuals) to watch the same television, without violating the Sony Home Electronics License Agreement.

    "Unauthorized television piracy has been a real problem for us.", says Steve Smith, the newly-appointed Director of Licensing Compliance at Sony. "Families would buy a single television, and then would sit together and watch programs without any regard for our license agreements. Sometimes they would even invite other people over to watch programs, without even purchasing a Single-Use Event License. We estimated that we lost over $500 billion in sales last year to this problem. This [license activation] is just a way to recoup sales lost to theft."

    So how does the system work? When you first plug in your television, a string of numbers representing the body shape of the person standing in front of the TV is sent to Sony via the HumanaLicense(tm) dialup system. At that point, another string of numbers is sent back allowing the television to view broadcast stations. Without the code, the TV only plays Sony promotional material over and over again. After initial activation, the TV needs to be re-initialized whenever a different person sits in front of it for more than 25 minutes. The TV can be re-initialized up to four times, after which it needs to be returned to Sony for repair.

    Some TV enthusiasts are concerned: "How can Sony get away with this?" says Rick Rayman, a self-described "videophile" who often invites friends and family over to watch movies and sports programs on his high-end setup. "I already paid them for the TV, why should it matter what I do with it inside my home?"

    However Sony executives dismiss these criticisms. Smith explains: "That's exactly the attitude we're trying to fix: this weird hippy idea that once you pay the money, somehow the item is 'yours' to do with as you please. First, these pirates invite their wife into the room to illegally watch TV together, next thing you know they're shoplifting flat-screens from Wal-mart."

    But already hackers have tried to break the system. A hacker group calling themselves "Television Freedom Fighters" have discovered that cutting one wire inside the television removes the protection system. The group of six kindergarden students have been identified and are being prosecuted under new anti-terrorism legislation. In addition, because the information was released on the internet, Sony is recalling the televisions and solving the problem by adding a second wire that needs to be cut.

    To help ease the transition to license-based TV viewing, Sony is starting a new advertising campaign entitled "Compliance is Cool" featuring an animated talking dog named Larry. Sony plans to extend the system to other types of home electronics soon.

  • They will let you install a copy of XP on more than one computer, as long as you pay the discounted price of $189?!?

    Oh, yeah, that will stop piracy.

    Get a clue Microsoft. If you are going to charge people to install XP on more than one of their own computers, How about an "Add-on" license of say $20? That would make sense.
  • other OSes (Score:4, Funny)

    by s20451 (410424) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:46PM (#2607791) Journal
    I like this family discount idea. If I wrote to somebody at freebsd.org [freebsd.org] and asked for a family license, do you think they would give me $10 to install FreeBSD on each additional computer in my home?
  • Great.... (Score:4, Troll)

    by gillbates (106458) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @04:53PM (#2607816) Homepage Journal
    And for the rare home users who do make major hardware changes, such as swapping out six pieces of hardware or installing a new motherboard, they simply have to call a toll-free number at Microsoft. The technician there will ask about the hardware changes, and then will reactivate the software over the phone, he says

    So what this means is that I can only install hardware which Microsoft approves. I'm sorry, but having to get a company's permission to upgrade my own hardware is just too much.

    And the sad thing is that we will have to deal with these systems in the future - face it, the average computer user is going to use whatever OS is put in front of them. So yes, I personally, won't have to deal with this on my own system, but my relatives will. And guess who will get called to deal with 'computer problems' every time their system crashes.

    Worse, I'll have to maintain two systems - one for professional use, running the latest version of 'doze so I can communicate with my employer; and a personal system, so I can maintain some semblance of sanity. Regardless of whether or not I run a free OS, I have to pay to use a proprietary one simply because the rest of the world believes that there is no alternative...

    • So yes, I personally, won't have to deal with this on my own system, but my relatives will. And guess who will get called to deal with 'computer problems' every time their system crashes.
      You're not obligated to do Windows maintenance for your relatives. I made the decision to stop fixing computer problems for my family and friends a couple of years ago, if they're using Windows. It was a little rough at first but now they know better than to bother me. Except for my mother-in-law -- she runs Linux on her home computer, and not surprisingly she doesn't bug me much because it doesn't break!
  • by NatePWIII (126267) <nathan@wilkersonart.com> on Saturday November 24, 2001 @05:03PM (#2607845) Homepage
    At least that is what I call it, ok what are you really getting here, your getting the "right" to use their OS on another machine. Wow...

    Come on, if your going to pay another $80.00 bucks at least M$ could provide you with a nice box, CD and manual and perhaps some little stickers etc...

    I can hardly think of any industry where you pay 90% full price of a product and you see really no tangible "product". Granted this is the software business, but who is really saving money here, not the consumer really, only microsoft. The consumer is actually not saving anything, M$ is jacking them out of the CD, box, etc... so yeah... the price should be $10 less. Personally, I would rather pay full price for a totally new copy so I can have another backup CD of the OS in case I damage the first one.

    I'm sticking with Win2k for now.
    • I can hardly think of any industry where you pay 90% full price of a product and you see really no tangible "product".

      Really? Nothing at all comes to mind?

      Nathan P. Wilkerson
      OpenSRS Reseller -- Hosting -- Colocation


      Still can't think of anything? Here's a hint: domain name registration
    • "I'm sticking with Win2k for now."

      I've seen this type of statement a lot over the years. It's like if I'd bought a Ford Escort, and was upset because Ford gouged me on service and parts, and then proclaimed loudly that I was never going to purchase an Escort again, but would, instead, buy a Taurus.

      But then, with cars, there are lots of other brands available.

  • by Princess Firefly (530989) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @05:15PM (#2607878)
    Especially for a monopolostic company, you need to understand how consumers use your software. As usual MS missed the boat. Back in the day (before I was enlightened) and I actually used Windows, one of the important things was that I could share it with my family and a few things, or vice versa. Or that when windows totally screwed up I could bring over a windows disk and fix their system. Even if I was still uninitiated into open source I'd be looking for a new OS if I had to phone MS to "activate" my software everytime I tried to fix it, reinstall it, or whatever (or else I'd be pirating a cracked version like crazy to everyone I know). Piracy allows a whole bunch of people to use something right away, if they like it, they give it to their friends or tell them to buy it or their friends just hear about them using it all the time. It builds up momentum and sets up this environment where a bunch a people are using the software and more people see that and then buy it. Some nice priates even choose to buy the stuff they pirate and like. I dare say a large number of games have gotten enormously popular riding fame based partly in piracy (unreal tournament?), not just making sure no one at all can use the software without paying. pf
  • by Eric S Raymond (234230) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @05:45PM (#2607960) Homepage
    Instead of buying three copies for $580, why not take advantage of the low airfares, hop a plane to China or
    Japan or Taiwan or Hong Kong and get a pirated cd with Windows XP and thousands of dollars of other
    software for only $20 !!!
    I am not kidding, you really can! Software EULA's cannot be strictly enforced like
    in the US. I bought cds from a couple of different street vendors while on
    vacation. One had Windows XP with a tons of utilites and antivirus program,
    another one had softimage xsi, 3ds max 4 with 500 plugins, photoshop 6 and
    scads of plugins, lightwave 3d 5.6, a bunch of professional ocr software,
    maya 3, adobe illustrator 9, freehand 9, hundreds of fonts, macromedia flash,
    fireworks, adobe after effects, adobe premiere 6, quicktime pro 5, media studio pro 5.0, etc...
    easily $20000 of software!
  • by kfg (145172) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @06:01PM (#2607999)
    The family pack license is ONLY available on the full retail version of Windows XP. It cannot be purchased for the upgrade version.

    Thus, to buy a family pack for two seats you must spend a minimum of $388.

    Compare this to buying two over the counter upgrades for $198.

    The family license itself, and the so called demand for it, is a pure marketing and PR ploy. It wasn't too hard for sales to be greater than expected, MS didn't expect too many people to actually go for this bugger at all!

    Also note that demand isn't *consumer* demand, it's *retailer* demand. No telling how many of these are sitting on back room shelves, unasked for, and unloved, by actual retail customers.

    As someone else has already pointed out The Reg has a good article on this.

    KFG
  • The major vendors each have their own unique key, and the key is tied to the BIOS of the PC, he says. So when a company such as Dell ships you a Windows XP PC, the company has pre-activated the software for you.

    So, I need to fire up a pre-installed copy of WinXP on systems by two manufacturers, using a hardware debugger to spot where the instructions diverge, check out the BIOS differences that are triggering the branch, and then use VM software that intercepts the instructions that check the BIOS to ensure that it looks "right". I'll get right on that!

  • I'm a bit confused at the concept of "running out of licenses". It seems to me, that m$ has a virtually unlimited qty of these "licenses". A "license" is a completely arbitrary item. I didn't realize a "license" was something tangeable.

    So, to help me out a bit, are we referring to the physical medium the "licenses" are printed on? Or, are they distributed on a CD? (I'm really out of the loop on m$ products). Do "licenses" come in a physical cardboard box?

  • So, if it actually costs $10 to produce a copy of XP, and they plan to give $1.1Bn "to the children", is that 110,000,000 copies of XP?
  • people might be willing to accept license compliance as reasonable. However, at nearly the cost of a new box, it's pure greed. Only the self-righteous will walk out of the store with an armload of WinXP boxes for home and crow about it on Slashdot. The rest of us morally flaccid mortals bow our heads in acknowledgement of the fact that we sometimes commit acts of greed and convenience--such as installing that Windows CD that came with the laptop on other machines, or taping a CD for the car, or photocopying a chapter of a book for a friend--all in the name of saving a bob, and because we can.

    -
  • So there is a backlog, eh? They've run out of family licenses? I think Microsoft only had about 5 family licenses total, so they could say they're out, and cause people to run to the nearest store to pick up copies of XP in a panic that they won't be able to use their computer.

    Microsoft sucks. Windows sucks. Free software r00lz!

    Oh well.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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