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Microsoft's Guide to Accepting Donated PCs 643

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
An anonymous reader links us to Microsoft's Guide to Accepting Donated Computers for Your School, which contains humorous statements such as "If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC. " It's just an amusing little read that basically amounts to keeping the license with the PC. Also neglects to mention the Naked PC discussed in this slashdot story.
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Microsoft's Guide to Accepting Donated PCs

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  • by tepeka (572431) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:37AM (#3365943)
    ...it'll be a good learning experience for the kids when they install a new OS...
  • What a crock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bobdylan (30598) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:37AM (#3365953)
    MS is trying once again to takeover the minds of the children. Get them using only Windows in school and watch what they will ask for at home. It worked for Apple a long time ago, and now MS is trying to follow suit. In the words of an obscure tech, "Give me linux or give me an apple"
    • by mccrew (62494)
      Actually, it didn't work for Apple. They are still stuck in the education market, and that has not translated into any measurable difference in market penetration beyond their core graphics constituents.
    • MS is trying once again to takeover the minds of the children.

      It's working here in a small rural high school in Canada. They put in modern comptuer labs (about 30 win2k, P3/500, etc. in each class) -- OSS can't match them there and it's kind of sad. But it's happenning here in rural Ontario.

    • Re:What a crock (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mr_Matt (225037) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:10PM (#3366288)
      Get them using only Windows in school and watch what they will ask for at home.

      And the worst part about it is that they're doing it by making vague legal statements that threaten and coerce schools into doing MS's bidding. Schools have a tough enough time getting funding for things like new computers - now they're expected to turn away free gifts because these gifts aren't in full compliance with MS's virulent OS license? Do Macs require you propagate their OS with a Mac machine?

      It just seems like with all the resources MS has, it could do better than making vaguely threatening statements towards schools that are just trying to make ends meet. Oh wait, I forgot, there's a link to MS's Academic Volume "discount" at the bottom of the page. Scare the school admins by making them think "crap, are all our computers licensed?" and then conveniently provide 'em with a link where they can get kosher again, for a price. Very nice, indeed.

      Have mod points, would rather post rants. D'oh! :)
    • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @01:53PM (#3367478) Journal
      In West Virginia, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation just handed the state department of education 16 million dollars.

      In return, the state board of ed sold out the public schools.

      They handed down a memo saying that all students *must* take part in a questionaire administered by the teachers during school time. One teacher I know estimated that it would take 20 minutes per student, given that there are issues with reading ability at the age of the students being given the test.

      This questionaire:

      * Was given online. Teachers were required to have Internet Explorer (not "a browser", Internet Explorer) installed on all school computers used in this. Cute way for a monopolist to propogate their products.
      * Involved asking students the number and type of products such as camcorders and computers they have at home. Many parents are not willing to give out this information, so building profiles of families by asking adults doesn't work very well. However, when students, children, are required to take an questionare like this by a teacher, they don't have much of a choice, though I suppose they could lie if their parents have taught them the importance of privacy. Microsoft was given the go-ahead to repeat this study two and four years from this point in time. All results get sent to Microsoft.
      * Was given during school time. Taxpayers spend enormous amounts of money to pay for *children to be educated*. State laws are put in place to require students to be in school *to be educated*. These resources are supposed to go to education, not to (in my opinion, rather invasive) Microsoft marketing studies.
      * Finally, MS made another coup for those 16 million dollars -- they were given a right to appoint a consultant to conduct overviews and approve or deny technology education curriculum. Now, it's possible that this consultant is a totally objective person who really *will* choose Linux or the Mac OS over Windows, or competing office/database products over MS's offerings if those things are better choices in a given scenerio. However, I rather doubt it. This is traditionally a large Apple market, but in one fell swoop, MS cut the legs out from Apple throughout the entire state.

      I'm wondering whether this is just my state, or whether this is happening elsewhere. Anyone else hear about similar things in their own states? I could be a new Microsoft offensive against Apple, or just something that's been going on for a while, but I feel more than a little uncomfortable with it, and I doubt any letters I write are going to quite measure up to 16 million dollars in terms of legislators' decisions.
      • Yes, this is what happens when drug wars, open-ended wars in the Middle East, and corporate bailouts/handouts/tax-breaks take priority over education spending. Schools end up squeezed and have to go begging.

        Simply requiring Internet Explorer seems odd, but since it's the default browser on both Windows and Mac OS I don't see the problem. It's not like the schools had to go out and *buy* the darn thing.

        I agree, it's odious that students are being polled about their consumer behavior. I'm surprised this action is not illegal (not saying it is or isn't, but it seems like something normally proscribed). And I'm not sure I see the value in demographic information collected this way, it wouldn't seem to be very complete or reliable.

        School time is wasted on millions of non-education related tasks, many wholeheartedly endorsed by taxpayers. Pledging allegiance to a piece of colored cloth. Disinformation about drug use. Abstinence pledges. Etc. In many cases the education value of the material is highly questionable, but the social agenda is clear.

        $16 million may seem insignificant to Microsoft, but to a school district that's huge. My local school district (I'm a parent, not a student) is short about $30 million right now. Given the low impact IT decisions have on schools overall (except maybe as an expense item), I wouldn't be too opposed to some sort of quid pro quo in my own district. I'm not so worried about Microsoft products in the schools, the schools canoot be the vanguard in the fight for a new OS-- especially since that's traditional Apple territory. Frankly, I think it would be cheaper for Microsoft to obtain this demographic data by simply paying adults to participate in a good survey or two (or buying it from company's whose main business is demographic data-- since when is market research a core competency over at Microsoft?).

        The worst aspect of this is the consultant role you mention. That seems to be a lock on Microsoft making sure that as much of that $16 million gets spent on Microsoft products.

        Have I heard of this in my area? No. The schools here use Macs and if my daughter said they were using school time to take consumer surveys, everyone from the teacher to the school board would hear about it. That would be front-page news in one of the states taking the hardline against Microsoft in the anti-trust suits.
    • Re:What a crock (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 4of12 (97621)

      What you say is true and all, but from what I've heard, the situation in our public schools is more complicated that just having sufficient free hardware and money to buy software.

      That is, the biggest real, practical problems with computers in schools have to do with

      1. Set up, installation, maintenance.
      2. Training (not the kids, but the teachers)
      so, if I might be so bold, a very good way to do something positive rather than just complain about the Borg is for Free Software advocates to volunteer their time at their local public school to help out with those tasks. Maybe your LUG could help to organize such an effort so no single person gets overwhelmed.

      If you go in with the attitude of being helpful, setting up proxy web caches, and, yes, even helping to filter pr0n, maybe showing teachers how to show students how to setup a simple webpage, etc, you can do more for the sake of free software and the long term interests of the IT industry in general than either donating 50 obsolete PCs or griping on Slashdot.

  • by as400as2 (560825) <as400as2&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:38AM (#3365956) Homepage Journal
    It is a legal requirement to keep the same OS? I'm not so sure....
    • by AngryAndDrunk (574308) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:42AM (#3365996)
      No, but the licence agreement with the copy of Windows that was installed on the PC almost certainly specifies that it can only be used with that PC.

      What MS is saying is that it is illegal to buy a PC with, say, Windows 2000 pre-installed, then later give the PC away but keep the copy of Windows 2000. That would be in violation of the terms of the licence.

      Now, personally I feel that that's a crock, but that's a discussion for another thread...
      • er.. Upgrades... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by burts_here (529713)
        what happens when you have replaced every single component in a pc, but you did it gradually, does the OEM licence not count anymore then??
      • by donpardo (128815) <(matt) (at) (iweb.net)> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:59AM (#3366177)
        What MS is saying is that it is illegal to buy a PC with, say, Windows 2000 pre-installed, then later give the PC away but keep the copy of Windows 2000.

        No. That is not what they are saying. They are saying that you must include the OS that was originally installed on the machine, per this statement on the page: make sure that the hardware donation includes the original operating system software.... it is a legal requirement.

        This is a gross overstatement and misleading. If there is a legal burden when selling a computer, it applies to the seller, not the buyer. The buyer has NO idea what was originally on the computer and cannot be expected to know. The buyer never saw the original agreement, let alone clicked on the Accept button. In addition, if the original OS is Linux, BSD or other Free OS, there is no such agreement.

        You can read your own motives into this.
      • by akiy (56302)
        But what constitutes the "same PC"? If I go and upgrade to a faster CPU, does that make it a different PC? How about a different motherboard? RAM? Upgrade the hard drive (but keep its contents the same through Norton Ghost or something)?
        • Windows XP is actually said to refuse to run on a machine which hardware has been modified since its registration, so if they break the agreement on this point by refusing to launch it then you may prove you virtually changed of PC.
          So, play around with your hardware and when windows won't boot, then you're supposed to be free...
      • by Shagg (99693)
        It's a violation by the company who is doing the donating, not by the school.

        It is not illegal for the school to accept a PC that no longer has the Windows pre-install on it. I have no idea why MS is writing this for schools. Nothing they say in there has any legal basis. If, on the other hand, they had written it as "a guide on how to donate a PC that originally included an OEM copy of Windows" and give it out to corporations, then what they're saying makes a bit more sense (aside from the argument over whether the OEM EULA makes any sense).
      • by Trekologer (86619) <adb@nOSPaM.trekologer.net> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:30PM (#3366456) Homepage
        Yes, the license agreement of OEM software typically ties it to the hardware it was sold with. In other words, if you buy a PC with Windows XP installed on it, the license says that the copy of Windows XP can only be used on that PC (and the recovery discs tend to "enforce" that too).

        This "guide" reverses the statement to say that the hardware is tied to the software. It says that schools should not (the baseless legal threats turn that into a "can not") accept donated computer hardware unless it includes the origial software with accompanying media and documentation.

        That is pure shit.

        Microsoft does have a program that gives a school a site-license for software upgrades, provided that the systems that they are installed on have a license for the original software. In other words, if the hardware has a license for Windows 98, the school can install their site-licensed Windows 2000 upgrade on it. If the system does not have an existing license, the school can not.

        This is pure Microsoft FUD. I actually laughed when I read it the first time. Then I realized that some educator somewhere will read this and actually believe it and get rid of donated computers because of this. Microsoft is not trying to be charitable here by helping to prevent schools from getting into legal trouble. They're trying to take used computers out of schools so that the schools are forced to buy new ones and new Microsoft software licesnes.
    • Yeah, seems like a bit of a scare tactic. I'm guessing, but I think the general idea (From Microsofts paranoid point of view), is that if you have not recieved the OEM copy of Windows that came with the PC, then the person who has donated the PC must automatically be using that copy of Windows on another PC, thus violating the EULA.

      Its still a pretty big leap of logic from that to "You must only accept a PC that has the OEM copy of Windows with it" though.
      • Yes, but what about those people like me who build homebrew systems? Hell, I own outright a copy of Windows 98 SE for PCs without Windows, and a copy of Windows 2000 Professional full install. Does that mean the computers I have them on, if donated, must also carry over the software I installed on them?

        FUD from Microsoft, assuming automatically stuff that isn't involved. As much as I'd like to keep using MS products for business purposes, it's becoming more and more of a problem for me to want to keep going down that route. Thank goodness I've also got a Mandrake box and a Red Hat server now.
    • by edrugtrader (442064) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:47AM (#3366058) Homepage
      they are not requiring them to KEEP the OS, they are requiring that if you have windows 95 installed on it, and you donate the machine, you are donating your copy of windows 95 and can't use it anymore.
      • Q. Why should a donor include the operating system with their PC donation?

        A. It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC.


        Actually, they do tell a little fib. You can throw away the pre-installed OS, and not give it to anyone.

    • Remember, Licenses need to be accepted. Any change in ownership does not automatically mean the receivingparty accepts Microsofts terms. Forcing this to the receiving party can never be upheld in court since when the receiving party does not accept the license, there is no agreement between microsoft and the receiving party. It also means the receiving party cannot use the particular instance of the software of course.

      Also, statements like this are on the edgde of criminality. Since Microsoft's website upholds a certain level of authority, customers are thus officially receiving adivisories by microsoft. Where I live, this sort of advice (which is untrue in my country, and unclear at least), statements like these are misleading, which is an offense under the court that governs the laws here.

      In other words, I could sue MS for publishing this advice.
  • by Chicane-UK (455253) <chicane-uk@ntlworld. c o m> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:39AM (#3365961) Homepage
    The way that Microsoft try and put such friendly spin on the areas that they are desperate to control.. when really it has pretty serious undertones.

    They make it sound all smiley like "And remeber kids.. that PC used to come with Windows, so you have to put Windows back on!" - but really its like "You WILL have Windows on that PC. If you fail to comply, Microsoft will submit you to an audit of all your installed products & licenses!"

    Kinda like the teacher in school who you always thought was a witch.. and if you didnt do your homework, she really would turn you into a toad or somthing :)
    • i am going to respond to all of these posts to keep this from getting out of control...

      they are not requiring you to keep MS OS on the system... but IF you have ANY OS on the system, you are DONATING THE COPY OF THE OS AS WELL... donate your old workstation with win 2000? well, you can't use that copy of win 2000 anymore, you donated it.
      • by weave (48069)
        Yo, that is not what the statement on their site says:

        "It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. "

        That's just ridiculous. If the donatee doesn't give me the proper license documentation, you mean I can't just format the hard drive and install Linux on it legally?

        I'd love to see a citation of the law that says I can't toss the OS and license that comes with the machine...

      • "they are not requiring you to keep MS OS on the system..."

        That me be what you think they MEANT, that is not however what they are saying. They are quite clearly telling people that any computer that was purchased with an operating system (they don't even specify MS) must by law keep that operating system when it is re-sold.
        You clearly know better, but some techno-ignorant school administrator probaly wouldn't.

        Cut'n'paste:

        "Q. Why should a donor include the operating system with their PC donation?

        A. It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC."

  • What about HPs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dryueh (531302) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:39AM (#3365966)
    If you feel it is in the best interest of your school to accept the donated PCs, make sure that the hardware donation includes the original operating system software.

    Wasn't there a slashdot story a while back (I think it was here) about how HP now doesn't not ship OS software along with new computers (which is true)? If your computer's OS crashes, you have to go through great lengths to actually obtain a physical copy of Windows XP (since, apparently, the system-restore application is all-powerful).

    A bit self-defeating, perhaps.

    • Re:What about HPs? (Score:3, Informative)

      by DarkEdgeX (212110)
      I had to deal with a relatives POS HP system-- the fucking thing came with a 'system restore disk' (CD-ROM) that had nothing of use on it, or so I thought. Anyways, before I revelation, I tried calling HP tech support and asked them to send me a legitimate copy of the OS, not some hair-brained POS they cooked up some night in a fit of sheer stupidity. The guy would NOT comply. Needless to say, profanities were exchanged and he was dropped. So I poked around the disk, and came to realize that most of the files on the CD-ROM that were extremely large in size (100+ MB) were in fact PKZIP archives. Opened them up and found what appeared to be the root directory of a Windows install CD. From there all you'd need to do is copy the files to someplace on your HD, then burn it onto your CD-R using your burner. The only problem I see with this is the fact that it won't be a bootable CD (El Torito-style).. but thems the breaks when you buy crap.
  • Choice is bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:40AM (#3365971) Homepage Journal
    Quoth MS:
    WHAT IS A NAKED PC?
    Naked PCs are machines sold without operating systems preinstalled. Think of selling a house without a roof...selling your customers Naked PCs leaves them equally exposed.
    Yep, I agree, but it's worse. Selling a naked PC is like selling someone lumber to build a house when you could lock them in to one choice of roof vendor by selling them a pre-assembled frame+roof!

    Remember, kids: Microsoft doesn't hurt people. Choice hurts people.

    ;-)
  • by fobbman (131816) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:40AM (#3365974) Homepage
    "It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC."

    What the hell sort of scare tactic is that? Last I checked when I purchased a computer I could install whatever I wanted to on it.

  • by blankmange (571591) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:40AM (#3365975)
    I can understand their point -- that specific PC is licensed with that specific copy of Windows. How many schools will read this and treat it as gospel, however? Hopefully, not many. As a gov't agency, our PC's are completely wiped prior to donation -- it is our policy. Keeping Win in the box does teach kids how to reboot, though...
  • FUD (Score:4, Funny)

    by vrmlguy (120854) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [esywmas]> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:40AM (#3365977) Homepage Journal
    I especially like the bit where they say that schools should decline any computer that doesn't come with the original media.

    "Hey, I want to donate this computer for the school's Beowulf cluster."

    "Do you have the original disks that came with it?"

    "Err, no."

    "Sorry, I can't accept it."

  • Upgraded OS? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by B1 (86803)
    What if the machine had its original OS upgraded? For example, the original machine came with the OEM Win95, but then was upgraded to Win98? Can't you donate the Win98 license along with the machine and its original license?

    Also, what if the machine is donated with a non-MS operating system, or for that matter, no operating system at all?

    • I'm sorry, but you'll simply have to downgrade your OS before donating it. I'm going to go donate a machine today and remove windows and put back on the original DOS I guess. The schools will like that better, according to Microsoft.

      Or maybe I'll go donate a machine and put OS/2 back on it instead of windows.

      Disclaimer: the author doesn't actually have a machine that ever had DOS or OS/2 installed.
  • Alternative guide! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sofar (317980) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:41AM (#3365981) Homepage
    We should write an alternative guide and provide these to schools!

    Here's some ideas:

    - You are under no obligation to accept any software, hardware or other parts provided.

    - You may refuse any (software) licenses donated since you have not accepted them.

    - You are free to reinstall any software to the machines provided that you aqcuire valid licenses for this software

    - etc.
    • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:08PM (#3366269)
      Great idea.

      You could actually use Microsoft's attitude against them. You could say that if a donated PC has a Microsoft Operating system, and does not come with all the necessary licences, the cheapest thing to do would be to install linux and free open source software packages on it Say that Microsoft might take legal action against you if you don't have the licences, so it's safer to install non-Microsoft software?

  • Look at the last question on the list. Can I upgrade the OS on my donated PC? Why of course you can!

    Where else have I heard the expression "First one's free?"

  • Due to security concerns, my present company does not allow hard drives to have *anything* on them when donated, including the OS. They might even rip the h/d right out.

    So I ask you - is this not still a computer? A license was purchased with that machine at one time and the OS is necessary for the machine to run. Why the hell can't the next tech slap on the same version?
  • Workarounds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:43AM (#3366016) Homepage Journal
    If this 'must keep originally installed OS' were a law (and I cannot for the life of me imagine that it is) there would be plenty of workarounds.

    One would only need to find out what constitutes the PC. Is it the processor, the case, the hard drive? Whatever it is - change that so that you no longer have the original PC. Then install whatever you want on it.

    I'm sure there are many more ways around such a thing.

    .
  • It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC.

    This is one of the most outrageous, egregious things I've ever seen Microsoft spew out of its venomous corporate lips. Please tell me this is not true. If it is a legal requirement, then the law must be changed.

    • by Anonnymous Coward (557983) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:49AM (#3366081)
      Of course it's outrageous and egregious! But then, taking legal advice about software licensing issues from Microsoft is like taking airline safety advice from Osama bin Laden.
    • I suspect what is meant is that the OS supplied with the machine is not meant to go anywhere but on that machine. As for force of law, that seems dubious. Why shouldn't anyone be able to move it to another machine, provided they remove it from the first?

      What should be said, rather than what is said, "If you are going to put a commercially licensed OS on a computer, or are given a computer with a commercial OS, you must have a valid license for that instance of that OS." Of course, they didn't say that. They said something far sillier instead.
    • Beat me to it (Score:2, Informative)

      by codefool (189025)

      I also found this statement hung in the air like a brick. It cannot be a legal requirement to include the "pre-installed" OS with the computer. Since, like a lot of people here, the first I do with a new box is wipe it and configure it the way I want it.

      When donating a box, I would also wipe it beforehand, and make sure that all the OS materials (backup CD's, documentation, etc.) went with it. It's really up to the receiving institution to do something with it.

      What this seems to suggest is that it's bound by law that you cannot modify a PC from its factory state.

    • It is a subtle twisting of the truth. The law says that you should not violate the license agreement of the OS you are using. There are two ways the license agreement could easily be violated in the case of a donated PC.
      1. The person who donated the PC kept the OS that was originally installed on it, and is still using that OS on a different machine.
      This is a violation because OEM licenses specifically state that the OS is only licensed for the original computer it was installed on.
      2. The person upgraded the OS on the donated PC, but did not give you all of the appropriate materials required to legally transfer the license of the new OS.
      An example of this is: Person A buys a computer with Microsoft Windows® CEMeNT on it and later upgrades the computer to have Microsoft Windows® eXPlode. They then donate the computer to a school, but fail to include any of the documentation, CDs or licenses for either OS. At this point, the school is not legally allowed to use eXPlode, and Person A is not allowed to use CEMeNT and violated their eXPlode license agreement by distributing the OS to someone else.

      Rather than giving you the blunt facts and letting you interpret the fact that as long as you have a legal license for whatever OS you decide to use on the PC (such as the GPL license of a Linux distro), Microsoft decided to twist the truth to make schools spend more money either buying new PCs (with Windows® installed) or buying new Windows® licenses for the donated PC.
  • by yintercept (517362) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:46AM (#3366055) Homepage Journal
    This blurb from Microsoft is absurd, but in many cases the software on the machine is worth more than the hardware. Both the donor and the charity should be attentive to the value of the software. I assume you would get an extra tax break if you donate your unused software licenses with the computer. BTW: It is also good to take all of the pictures of nekkid ladies off the computer as well. You don't want your donation to be too educational.
    • in many cases the software on the machine is worth more than the hardware. Both the donor and the charity should be attentive to the value of the software.

      Not if it's Microsoft Software!

      • If it's an old version of something... Word 7, say... you can't open files received from anyone who's running the current version. That's not my idea of value.
      • If you don't WANT M$ Shite on your system, it's not worth anything to you, and is in fact taking up valuable resources in terms of storage space, thereby contributing negatively to the value of the PC.
  • quote:
    If you feel it is in the best interest of your school to accept the donated PCs, make sure that the hardware donation includes the original operating system software. Keeping the operating system with the PC is not just a great benefit - it is a legal requirement.

    Of course, in Microsoft's point-of-view, the only operating system for the PC is Windows, and cleaning the hard drive means you need to pirate a copy of Windows to bring it back to life.

    BTW, Google has automatic spelling correction now. Rejected slashdot submission, go figure ;)
  • Q. How does the PC owner transfer their license rights for the operating system?
    A. The GPL can be found here [gnu.org].

    Q. What if the donor can't find the backup CDs, End-Use License Agreement, End-User manual and the Certificate of Authenticity? Can they still donate the PC and operating system?
    A. It can be downloaded from here [kernel.org]

    - [grunby]
    • by Arandir (19206) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:44PM (#3367976) Homepage Journal
      Q. How does the PC owner transfer their license rights for the operating system?

      Sinple, just sell the computer. You have the right, under Copyright law, of first sale. If the license says otherwise, the license is wrong. Unless the copyright holder has a signed contract with your signature on it, you have not relinquished the rights that the laws guarantees you.

      Too many software companies are preying on the public's ignorance of the law. And I'm not talking about just Microsoft. I'm talking about Sun, IBM, HP, Adobe, Apple, and even several Open Source companies and foundations. The public doesn't know anything, so when someone comes along and pretends to be an expert, they are believed, even if they are telling the biggest pack of lies since Hitler talked with Chamberlain.

      You cannot forfeit your rights just because you use software you legally own, or because you read some words on an install screen, or because you tore open some mylar wrap, or even because you clicked a button that says "yes".
  • A: Keeping the original parts with the vehicle is not just a great benefit - it is a legal requirement. Use of non-GM parts (often referred to as "deadly aftermarket assault parts") or hiring non-GM-certified mechanics will not only void your warranty, but may result in prosecution, injury, or death.

    If you think about using aftermarket assault parts, think again -- for the kids.
  • A quote (Score:2, Funny)

    by techstar25 (556988)
    "Keeping the operating system with the PC is not just a great benefit - it is a legal requirement."

    That sounds nice and all but they fail to describe the great benefits. If they did it would sound something like:
    It will crash all the time.
    It will be insecure and probably allow outsiders access to your network.
    You will need to upgrade every X amount of years, just because we say so.
    You will need to download patches every week, or else deal with viruses and trojans.

    I like my PC's how I like my women - NAKED!
  • Something that looks like the M$ page, except it would describe how easy it is to take the donated computers, ditch the OS, and install Linux.

    I'm still laughing about www.wehavethewayin.com [wehavethewayin.com], although it's only half as funny as the site it emulates www.wehavethewayout.com [wehavethewayout.com]
  • Same thing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Psmylie (169236) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:50AM (#3366091) Homepage
    Keeping the OS with the machine is the same thing as keeping those tags matresses. They are required to be on there if you are a company that sells matresses, but once an individual buys the matress, they can do whatever they like to the tag. It's their property at that point.
    If they then give away or donate the matress, the lack of the tag really doesn't matter.
    I'm really curious what law they are referring to when they saw "legal requirement". If they're going to say stuff like that, I'd like to see where it was written. Anyone can just say that something is "legally required". I can say it's "legally required" to mod all my posts up. That don't make it true, tho.
    • by pangur (95072) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:21PM (#3366382)
      I am a landlord, and I own a two-family house. Recently online I found a guide written by a lawyer on how to be a landlord in my state. It is very well written, and one of the ideas that I got was this,

      If you say that something is the law, and it isn't, the tenant can sue you for treble damages.

      If you don't de-lead your house, and you let children under six live there, and you say to the tenant, "Oh, I'm exempt from de-leading because of this special provision / grandfather clause", then the tenant can sue you for misrepresenting the law.

      So, I'm tempted to wonder if Microsoft can legally dole out legal advise that is prima facie incorrect and misleading. I would suggest the Microsoft's legal department take a look at the FUD for liability purposes.

      If it can happen to me, it should be able to happen to Microsoft.
    • Re:Same thing (Score:3, Informative)

      by crimoid (27373)
      Keeping the OS with the machine is NOT the same thing as tags on furniture! You can ALWAYS take an OS off of a machine, however you can't take and OEM licensed operating system and put it on another machine.

      When you buy a computer from Dell and it comes with and OEM licensed copy of Windows XP you cannot legally put that copy of XP on ANY other machine than the one you originally purchased. Its a package deal.

      Sure, you can put Linux on the box all day long, but whether you use XP or not it follows your machine to its grave.

      This is a HUGE "gotcha!" for businesses that use Microsoft Enterprise Agreements. For example: say I'm buying 500 PC's and they come with OEM WXP. BUT I want them all to have W2K to follow corporate standards. I have a MEA that covers OS/Office/CAL for all my users.

      I've just been double-sold operating systems (since the OEM OS cost was baked into the price of the machine) and I can't even re-use my XP licenses! They can't be transferred away from the specific hardware they were preinstalled on.

      This underscores the need for people that use Windows to manage their licenses carefully. Either use a MEA and order machines without OEM OSs OR manage and track all of your OEM licenses carefully and make plans accordingly.
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:50AM (#3366093)
    This might be a bit offtopic, but while we're talking about Windows "licenses":

    If I were to sell or donate my PC to someone else and that PC has XP installed (which I activated using my name), what must I do to dissociate my name from that activated copy/serial number?

  • Hah! Fat chance (Score:5, Informative)

    by S Nichol (230334) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:50AM (#3366097)
    I've done work for about half a dozen schools (junior highs and high schools) that have quite substantial commitments to computers in the classroom.

    In my experience, whenever donated computers arrive, that's all that arrives. I've never seen a computer arrive with the documentation that probably accompanied it when it was purchased by the donating company. All you get is the computer and associated peripherals if you're lucky (often they forget to send mice).

    At one school, they have about 120 donated PCs, and I think there is maybe half a dozen valid Windows licenses in the whole place. Of course, there are numerous burned copies too, which makes imaging these machines really easy (thank you Norton Ghost).

    I find it rather surprising that some enterprising person/persons haven't started to produce an educational Linux distribution... just pile on a lot of idiot proofing ;-)
  • From the archived NakedPC page:

    "Acquire software from Authorized Microsoft OEM Product Distributors"

    So, can I get Linux from my Authorized Microsoft OEM Product Distributor?
  • Send Microsoft Money.

    Your friendly sales person will tell you how much.

    and remember, if you haven't been sending enough, penalties may apply.

  • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:54AM (#3366138)
    People, out of their good nature, give computers to schools to help educate children.

    Microsoft lie to the schools to try to stop them accepting generous gifts that might make a tiny dent in their massive profits. This makes me so mad.

    It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC.

    Is this true? Even for Microsoft operating systems? They're saying it's illegal to remove an OS from a computer, any computer? F*ck*ng w**kers.

    PC owners have to transfer their license rights to the operating system to your school along with the PC. They may do so as specified in their End-User License Agreement (received at the time of purchase) as part of a permanent sale or transfer of the PC.

    Listen Microsoft. You've made it very difficult so that I, as a PC purchaser, can buy a new PC without buying a Microsoft OS. You know that. So, 99% of computers that are donated to schools are likely to have a legitimate, paid for, Microsoft OS on them. You bunch of complete t*ss*rs.

    The following should be included with the donation of the PC.

    Why? I'll tell you why! To make it difficult for people to donate PCs to schools, that's why. I ***king hate those money grabbing, selfish, **bhe*ds at Microsoft.

    Microsoft recommends that educational institutions only accept computer donations that are accompanied by proper operating system documentation. If the donor cannot provide this documentation, it is recommended that you decline the donated PC(s).

    Why? So Microsoft can profit at the expense of the education of our children? You absolute ****ing *i*si*ng i*i*tic bunch of *uc*ing a**eh*les! *an** *a*s*** of the *i*** *rd***! You ****p** **s** **e*s*s!!!

  • Is microsoft making this part of their EULA? If I have an old PC that had Win95 installed 7 years ago, but since then has been replaced by Linux, and has served as my firewall and gateway for the past 5 years, what would happen if I donated this machine as is as the firewall for my local Leukemia Society? Can MS enforce this? Will they be reminding other organizations that there machines must have Windows on them? Will they not accept my donation unless it has windows?
  • It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine.

    So anyone that has bought a machine from an OEM and wipes the drive is breaking the law?
  • Given: "It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC."

    At what point in the nearly constant component part upgrade cycle my machines go thru, does the original machine cease to be? I have boxes that have only the case as the only remaining part of the original unit, and I have a (mostly) Dell thats in a generic case.

    What constitutes a PC?
  • by CaptainPhong (83963) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:56AM (#3366163) Homepage
    Some of the statements are factually wrong (unless you live in a Microsoft world where there is no such thing as a free operating system). Others are wrong even in the Microsoft world!

    If I build my own PC and install Windows on it, I can give it to someone else and keep the copy of Windows as long as I remove it from the PC. This article implies that it is illegal for me to keep my copy of Windows if even if I give away the PC without it. If I install Linux, I can keep my copy and give away the PC with the OS still installed. Their statement is only true for pre-installed Windows (i.e. Dell installed it) where the license is tied to the particular PC.

    All copies of the software on original disk or CD, including back-up and/or recovery materials
    Manuals and printed materials
    End-User License Agreement
    Certificate(s) of Authenticity

    This is misleading, and encourages institutions to only accept computers where these items all exist (i.e. MS operating systems). Such is not necessarily the case if, say for example, I installed Linux over the Internet.

    Yes, once the machine and installed operating system is transferred to your school or institution you own the PC and the licensed software. You can upgrade via Microsoft Academic Licensing Programs...

    Oddly, they neglect to mention that this also only applies to Microsoft software. What if the donated computer is a Mac?

    These sorts of things are like Halloween documents that MS makes public INTENTIONALLY! You'd think they'd raise some eyebrows at the DOJ.

  • by Sheridan (11610) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @11:59AM (#3366178) Homepage
    ...send them a correction. e.g.
    Dear "Microsoft Education",

    Regarding the page:-

    http://www.microsoft.com/education/?id=DonatedComp uters

    This page contains absolutely incorrect information.

    The relevant portions are quoted below:-

    "...make sure that the hardware donation includes the original operating system software. Keeping the operating system with the PC is not just a great benefit - it is a legal requirement. "

    and

    "Q. Why should a donor include the operating system with their PC donation? A. It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC."

    There is no such legal requirement. The only legal requirement is that the OS on the donated PC at the time of the donation must be a legally licensed copy and that the licence (and any media etc.) are transferred with the PC.

    It is perfectly legal to deinstall the pre-installed operating system and replace it prior to donating provided that the donation includes any necessary license for the OS (and other software) included on the PC. Your page is (deliberately?) misleading on this point. I presume that this is to discourage the use of non-Microsoft (since who elses OS currently gets pre-installed by OEMs?) operating systems within schools.

    I look forward to the page being corrected.

    Regards

  • by pubjames (468013)

    Now that I've calmed down, I've had an idea.

    Why don't we set up a web site which tells schools how to accept donated PCs, but specify that if it does not come with all the necessary licences, the cheapest thing to do would be to install linux and free open source software packages on it?

    Say that Microsoft might take legal action against you if you don't have the licences, so it's safer to install non-Microsoft software?
  • by mark_space2001 (570644) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:00PM (#3366190)
    Q. Why should a donor include the operating system with their PC donation?

    A. It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC.

    *sigh* More Microsoft FUD. I don't remember that requirement being stated when I bought any PCs, I wouldn't have bought them if it was, and I doubt I'm bound by it now.

    Let's face it, 50% of the pre-installed software doesn't last 5 minutes after I get it home (AOL, etc.) And after about 2 years, I've usually removed it all anyway and upgraded. I don't keep original install disks after that, they just clutter up the place. How could MS infringe on my right to use the computer in the very reasonable manner, when they themselves sell every kind of software updrade immaginable?

    Sure, I can't go buy a copy of Windows XP, install it, then "donate" the computer but keep my purchase to install again. But that's not what MS is saying here. This article is just another bad PR story waiting to trip MS up. What are those guys thinking? Not much, is my guess.

    If you want to donate a PC, my recomendation would be to erase the HD(s), then remove all the drives from the system. Then donate the parts to a school. Tell them it's parts, and you don't know where they came from. If the teachers can't put it back together, then I bet the students can.

  • by Kupek (75469)
    It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine.

    Wow. I mean, wow. I can't believe they actually said that with a straight face. (Then again, maybe they didn't.) Using this logic, I could not donate my little e-machine to a school because it has Linux on it, and not Windows 98, which was the pre-installed OS.
  • Great to see how riled up MS can get the slashdot readership. For those who haven't figured it out, "legal requirement" refers to the OEM Windows license agreement. It's not a law, but it is a legal document.

    MS is letting these groups know that, if they are planning to use whatever OS is on the machine when they receive the donation (and they probably are), then they should make sure they are getting the license for that OS. This is the kind of thing that businesses are very aware of, but the same isn't true of non-profits, schools, etc.

    Yes, MS is trying to sell more copies of Windows, but it's also trying to keep good people from unknowingly breaking the law because of a sloppy donation.

  • The Windows 98 EULA states:
    The initial user of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT may make a one-time permanent transfer of this EULA and SOFTWARE PRODUCT only directly to an end user. This transfer must include all of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT (including all component parts, the media and printed materials, any upgrades, this EULA, and, if applicable, the Certificate of Authenticity).
    Therefore you can only give your software away if you are the one and only previous owner and have everything that came in the box. Don't have the certificate of authenticity or the registration card? Bought the machine used or got the computer as a hand-me-down? Now you can't even GIVE it away. Maybe this is a good thing.
  • by kindbud (90044) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:05PM (#3366240) Homepage
    Q. Why should a donor include the operating system with their PC donation?
    A. It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC.


    Ok, that sounds pretty dubious, but let's accept it for the sake of argument. Now on to the contradiction:

    Q. Can I upgrade the operating system on a donated machine?
    A. Yes, once the machine and installed operating system is transferred to your school or institution you own the PC and the licensed software. You can upgrade via Microsoft Academic Licensing Programs: Microsoft School Agreement Subscription, Microsoft Campus Agreement Subscription, Microsoft Academic Open or Microsoft Academic Select. Contact your preferred Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller for details.


    OK, so which is it? Does the school license the software on the used PC, or do they own it?

    If they own it, what was the status of ownership by the donor, prior to the donation? Did the owner own it? If he owned it, then he does not have to transfer it with the PC, since it is his property to do with as he sees fit. If he did not own it, how come the school becomes the owner when they accept transfer of the license from the donor? Does this mean we can "launder" EULA's by donating each other the PCs we wish to buy? Seems like receiving a donated OS with a donated PC is the way to own the OS instead of just becoming a licensee.

  • "Legal requirement"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:05PM (#3366243) Homepage
    It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC.

    Which law states this? A state law? Federal law? Decree of the UN?

    What if I donate PCs that I built myself without an OS "installed"?

    A "legal requirement" sounds very much like a scare tactic. If anything, you'd think they'd want the opposite - they'd want a school to get a bunch of PCs, but then REPURCHASE more Windows licenses 'just to be sure', upping MS' sales.

    They pretty much get a sale for every PC in the US now anyway. I'd be interested to know what their license sales are per year vs the number of PCs sold that year. I've a hunch Windows license sales may be higher than PC sales.
  • Site licenses? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:12PM (#3366299)
    I'm sorry, if my educational institution is site licensed for all the MS OS's we use, I'll take any machine thats useful, OEM OS with it or not.
  • Hm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zapfie (560589) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:14PM (#3366323)
    Hold on.. so Windows sold on Ebay (e.g. transferring your licence to another user) gets Microsoft pissed enough to start demanding they be pulled off the listings, but giving your Windows copy to schools (e.g. transferring your licence to another user) is fine by them? Am I missing something?
  • by smoondog (85133) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:15PM (#3366332)
    Microsoft recommends that educational institutions only accept computer donations that are accompanied by proper operating system documentation. If the donor cannot provide this documentation, it is recommended that you decline the donated PC(s).

    Says:

    We like the idea of you donating, but we really don't want to donate ourselves. We do care, we really do. But remember an undocumented computer is worse than no computer.

    -Sean
  • by HiyaPower (131263) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:32PM (#3366483)
    Consider the following:

    1) Take a machine install windows on it.

    2) Take machine of #1 apart, evenly divide parts into two piles.

    3) Put enough extra parts into each pile to make a complete machine.

    4) Reassemble the 2 machines.

    Now, which machine is the origional one? The one that got the hard drive, but not the processor? The one that got the floppy? Or have you just created 2 liscenses since each machine has equal claim to being the origional machine. This posture on the part of M$ is legally dubious, counter-productive and a total crock.
  • by PoiBoy (525770) <`brian' `at' `poiholdings.com'> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @12:34PM (#3366506) Homepage
    Hi,

    I have a question. A couple of years ago I purchased a computer with Windows NT preinstalled, and the first thing I did was reformat the hard drive and install Linux instead. I have purchased a new computer, and I would like to donate my old machine to a local high school's computer club.

    I noticed on your website (http://www.microsoft.com/education/?id=DonatedCom puters) that you state, "It is a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine. If a company or individual donates a machine to your school, it must be donated with the operating system that was installed on the PC."

    I do not even have the backup disks that came with my computer. I deleted Windows as soon as I received the machine, implicitly rejecting your EULA. Moreover, the computer club wishes to run Linux on this machine.

    Therefore, can I not donate the machine that I own to the computer club? As far as I can reason, by completely removing Windows from it and destroying the associated documentation I have removed any Microsoft-related control over this machine.

    Please clarify this for me.

    Sincerely,

    Brian Poi

  • by Wansu (846) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @01:10PM (#3366994)
    These could be assembled into a computer which could be used to pirate software.
  • by neo (4625) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:12PM (#3367683)
    Didn't any of you read the Terms of Use at the bottom of that page?

    "PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE LIMITATION.

    Unless otherwise specified, the Services are for your personal and non-commercial use. You may not modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any information, software, products or services obtained from the Services."


    If I'm not mistaken, you guys have copied parts of that page and pasted it here. You are in soooo much trouble.

    oh crap... I just pasted part of the TOU here...
  • by Spud Zeppelin (13403) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @04:14PM (#3368670)

    Y'all missed the point. What Microsoft is saying is that if you give away a PC that came with a Windows license originally, you have to give away that Windows license along with it; as a practical matter, this means that people won't be giving away PCs with Windows but no license, and trying to keep the license for another PC -- by doing it this way, Microsoft insures that people who DO upgrade have to make a conscious decision to buy a new Windows license, or not to buy one and run another OS instead.

    Try it this way: Every machine running an unlicensed copy of Windows is a missed opportunity to have that machine running something else. If the school districts are given the Windows licenses with the machines and choose not to use the licenses (by running something else), even better!

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