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The End of Naked PCs in China? 221

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-didn't-know-they-even-bought-software dept.
fishter writes "The Chinese Government is calling on PC manufacturers to ensure that a properly licensed operating system is installed on their products before they leave the factory. One manufacturer has already signed a deal with Microsoft to install its operating systems on all its personal PC products. The edict would also apply to foreign manufacturers supplying PCs to Chinese companies and residents."
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The End of Naked PCs in China?

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  • by suso (153703) *
    Well, I guess now only 4.5 billion people haven't choosen their operating system.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Well, I guess now only 4.5 billion people haven't choosen their operating system."

      Of course being able to chose one's OS is sooo much more important than being able to chose one's government. Glad you all have your priorities straight.
      • "Of course being able to chose one's OS is sooo much more important than being able to chose one's government."

        Can one person really choose their government? No, it takes the whole voting population (or at least, the part of the voting population that actually votes). Can one person choose their own OS? Yes.
      • >> "Of course being able to chose one's OS is sooo much more important than being able to chose one's government. Glad you all have your priorities straight."

        Unless you're proposing they negotiate a compromise wherein they will gain a choice in governement elections in return for losing a choice of pre-installed OS, then I'll venture to say your response is beside the point. Or did you intend it to be humorous?
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:45AM (#15112755) Journal
    Well, I haven't had the chance to read the exact Chinese wording but if I were a vendor looking to sell naked PCs, I'd simply use a superior OS [berlios.de].

    That's right, simply burn 17MB CDLinux ISO (with Chinese language [berlios.de] support) to a CD and "install" the disc into the CD-ROM drive. When the computer boots up, it will have a properly licensed [gnu.org] operating system running. Should the consumer choose to install some other operating system *cough* *cough* they won't even need to format the hard drive or write over the partition tables!

    Seriously, I think this is just a laughable edict that the Chinese Government has done to bolster trade with United States software firms. The factories in China are just going to distribute Linux or some other free operating system and even have instructions on how to install windows over it. The government knows this also and that's why it's happy to comply with something the US companies are asking it to do ... because it doesn't change anything. It just makes manufacturing boxes a bit more cumbersome.

    Who knows, if the manufacturers use a nice enough version of Linux, they might cause quite a few people to convert?
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:57AM (#15112815)
      You must be new to The People's Republic.

      Their government doesn't take too kindly to wise-asses getting around the intent of the law. Enjoy your gulag!
    • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:43AM (#15113491) Homepage Journal
      That's right, simply burn 17MB CDLinux ISO (with Chinese language support) to a CD and "install" the disc into the CD-ROM drive. When the computer boots up, it will have a properly licensed operating system running.

      Exactly. And now that we know how to do "live" CD OSs, this could easily become the norm in some parts of the world. The PC vendor has a rack of such CDs, asks you which OS you want, and slips the appropriate CD into the drive. You take the PC home, fire it up, and that OS boots with a screen asking if you'd like to install on the disk (so you can pull the CD out and insert a pirated music CD ;-).

      This does bring up an interesting question, though. That CD is in fact an add-on, which is a small but nonzero extra price. It's more subtle than the blatant "Microsoft tax" of the pre-installed Windows forced on customers that want linux or FreeBSD or whatever.

      The general question is: Suppose I'm a poor person in some poor, remote place, and I'm looking for a cheap but usable computer. What are my options? How exactly can I minimize the price? How can I avoid these extra charges for little things that I don't want?

      The question might be simple, but the answer is probably a large FAQ or maybe even a major web site, because of all the forces (like this MS-friendly "anti-piracy" decree) that want to add their favorite thing to my computer and collect their couple of yuan from me. Why should I pay the hidden tax of this "free" OS CD when I have one sitting on my desk at home?

      One source of this question is the growing population of people running local "internet cafe" sites. It's not just hardware; there's also the question of dealing with internet providers, and cutting through their attempts to maximise income by imposing lots of mandatory "options".

      Suppose I'm a small-time internet site in some remote location. What leverage do I have to persuade the local internet suppliers to just give me a connection with a specific bandwidth, and nothing else? Yes, I intend to run my own email server; I don't want to pay for your "smart server" service. Yes, I intend to register my own domain and run my own DNS server; I don't want to pay for yours. No, I don't need a web host; I know how to run my own. I just want IP connectivity with N bits/sec, thank you very much. And so on.

      Is this info collected somewhere? Should I set up a site to collect it?
      (If so, I can see it taking a lot of disk space, so despite the fact that I live in a suburb of Boston, I just might be interested in the answers myself. ;-)

      • Give me a break. You're talking about a cost of roughly 1 Yuan RMB (~eu 0.10). It is lost in the costing noise of any physical computer system, at the retail point.

        Anyhow, I suggest burning a usable programming system into the BIOS, thus eliminating the need for a CD. Hell, with broadband, who needs hardrives? Just mount S3 or (free) GMail.
    • I think Microsoft is willing to make a special price. Atleast untill their marketshare is secure. I am also sure they will have some people question the legality of any FOSS OS, so if you are Chnees and you manufacture computers your best option will be MS Windows, it will be cheap (free?) because the price to pay will be in the future.
      • IMHO, Microsoft used their political muscle to get this trade deal signed over concerns of piracy in China. "WE won't export Windows to China unless you promise to have a legally licensed operating system on every computer that rolls out of the warehouse" and China acquiesces. Microsoft wrings their hands and prepares for a multi-billion dollar windfall, only to hear Chinese manufactures declaring that all the computers shipped out of their factories will have GNU version of linux installed. Microsoft lose
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:46AM (#15112761) Journal
    I don't see anything in this that precludes pre-loading of OS's other than Windows. They just need to be properly licenced. A copy of RedFlag Linux for example should be perfectly acceptable.

    I hate the way this whole 'naked PC' thing is painted as purely a piracy issue. We just bought 10 Workstations from HP that come with WinXP Pro and no way to buy them without despite the fact that they are intended as Linux machines and HP advertises them as fully Linux compatible.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:11AM (#15112881)
      "I hate the way this whole 'naked PC' thing is painted as purely a piracy issue. We just bought 10 Workstations from HP that come with WinXP Pro and no way to buy them without despite the fact that they are intended as Linux machines and HP advertises them as fully Linux compatible."

      You actually bought the machines purely for the Windows didn't you? You love Microsoft, and you love Windows, it's best to confess, you don't want something to.. you know... happen to your home machine's Automatic Updates, now do you?

      - B.G.
    • But it does... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dwandy (907337) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:17AM (#15112914) Homepage Journal
      I hate the way this whole 'naked PC' thing is painted as purely a piracy issue.
      It's all marketing.
      I remember hearing once that McDonald's marketing goal was to make your dinner decision be the question: "McDonalds: yes/no?" as opposed to "McDonalds / Burger King / Taco Bell / ... ?" because they basically have a 50/50 shot at that answer, as opposed to sharing the odds with the others.
      So what Microsoft is trying for here is to convince everyone that the only alternatives are 'piracy' and 'purchasing Windows'. By denying that other choices even exist they push them down in the mindset of the audience, (conversely by adding say Linux in the mix, they legitimize it)

      It's the old "Are you still drowning kittens?" question, either 'yes' or 'no' paints you as a monster, when in reality you've never done any such thing.
      Formulating questions and answers that go together is what marketing is...

    • I don't see anything in this that precludes pre-loading of OS's other than Windows. They just need to be properly licenced.

      The question becomes the wording of the contracts with Microsoft. Is exclusivity a prerequisite for getting an OEM discount? Selling blank machines is probably allowable regardless of the nature of the contract, but selling a competitor's product is another matter altogether.
  • Red Flag Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:51AM (#15112781)
    Well, of course, a "properly licensed operating system" doesn't have to cost money. I'm guessing they will just install linux, probably Red Flag Linux [wikipedia.org].

    Some could even see this as an attempt by the Chinese government to increase Red Flag usage over pirated (American) Windows.
    • a "properly licensed operating system" doesn't have to cost money.

      I'd like to know what it really requires. Suppose my free software distribution does not have serial numbers for "accounting"? It would not be surprising for a country that throws people into jail for visiting the wrong web site to then force one rooted distro or another on everyone. Red tape is mostly about ending freedom.

      • it would be trivial for each distributor to implement a serial licensing system, a small CGI application which simply increments a 64 bit integer then prints the full Hex value when called.
  • I've had coworkers from China. They say that the piracy over there is just ignored. For example, just like you can go and buy a hotdog or a newspaper in a 7/11 here, you can buy a "copy" of whatever you want software-wise over there. It's so bad that requiring an O/S is like holding back the ocean with a broom, it will make absolutely no difference. I'm not just talking about making copies of some existing software, I'm talking about full-scale organized piracy as an industry. It goes far enough that you can even buy DVD's of movies there before the movie is released in theaters over here (not camcorder-made either) !
  • by misfit815 (875442) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:55AM (#15112804)
    What's the selling point for this when it comes to Joe User? How does Microsoft or China or whoever justify to the consumer that forcing OEM's to bundle an OS with each product is a good thing? Btw, I'm throwing out any anti-piracy argument because I think that sells to corporations, not users.

    I'm asking because I don't think there is one. And if there's not one, then this plan of attack is succeeding for other reasons. My guesses are:

    1) Joe User doesn't know/care what's going on
    10) China isn't a democracy (to put it plainly)
    11) Microsoft can bully OEM's

    Am I right? Are any of these ever going to change?
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:56AM (#15112809) Homepage Journal
    Will the Chinese still be able to buy parts and slap them together, or will they be forced into buying a hard drive with an OS already installed? What if you have everything but the hard drive, and plan to simply run it off a CD? How about a dummy terminal? There has to be a line drawn somewhere.
  • If that license comes for free, it is ok, no question on this.
    If it is not, everyone should be able to claim money back from that license! (This one is an old battle)
    Of the two I'd prefer the first one, because 80% of the people would like to be able to turn on the PC and start using it without any further delay.
    The issues come only for the remaining 20% people that would like to install a different OS, not necessairly by a different manufacturer!

    In any case my own dictionary call this as "freedom const
    • Of the two I'd prefer the first one, because 80% of the people would like to be able to turn on the PC and start using it without any further delay.

      And how is a law forcing computers to be sold this way the answer? If most users really did just want to "turn on the PC and start using it", this is already an option for OEMs without requiring a law. OEMs could simply provide a choice, "OS or no OS preinstalled" ... the free market is far far better than using laws to force something, in fact, almost by defi

  • So I guess that this means that the Dragon/goodson processor is DOA now.
  • Obscene PCs (Score:2, Funny)

    by malsdavis (542216) *
    Well Good!

    Nakedness is evil, it is unnatural and the work of the devil.
    Hasn't Church taught you anything?
  • DOS rulez (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:59AM (#15112821)
    In Beijing, where bootleg software is the norm, now PCs come with a surplus, legal (possibly) version of MS DOS 6 installed [shanghaiist.com]. It just measn that for a while the bootlegs will be under the counter instead of in the shop window.
    • i'd guess that the copies of dos probablly aren't legal or at least won't be soon, i just can't see there being enough surplus copies still arround to make that sustainable given the massive market growth thats happened in recent times.

      remember that MS didn't have all the fancy holograms or serial number tracking systems back in the dos days so its presumablly easy to make convincing pitate copies
      • remember that MS didn't have all the fancy holograms or serial number tracking systems back in the dos days

        Yes they did. I've got a retail version of DOS 6, it's got holograms, authenticity certificates, etc. Though the fakes in China are very good, and it may well be that there is no way to confirm the serial numbers at this date.

  • What next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:59AM (#15112822) Journal
    Will governments decide that all cars must be sold with properly licensed tires on them? Maybe DVD players should be sold with properly licensed DVDs to play in them.

    Yeah, I get the point, and I can see how this 'should' help MS and others fight piracy... one day, these people will wake up and see that pirates simply don't care and are going to use illegal copies of things anyway. This is why F/OSS has a strong advantage over MS .... no lobby money needed per se, no court costs needed for fighting pirates, no money needed to influence governments... wow, when you think about it, I wish F/OSS groups were given the equivelent of what MS has spent lobbying courts, governments, and other groups and entities. That should give us all a very nice OS.
    • "Will governments decide that all cars must be sold with properly licensed tires on them?"

      When was the last time you saw a new car for sale without tires? And in the US I am pretty sure that they do have to be DOT approved. I am sure most countries have some approval process for tires as well.
      Where is the -1 for false analogy?
  • by MECC (8478) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @08:59AM (#15112823)
    So, will this mean that the Chinese government will officially let MS spy [slashdot.org] on them? This would certainly help. I can't imagine the chinese government being at all comfortable with that prospect. You'd think they'd develope their own distro with wine already set up to run those windows apps they'd think there to be a need for.

  • by yeOldeSkeptic (547343) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:03AM (#15112848)

    At the end of TFA is the statement

    The Chinese president is due to meet US president George Bush later this month when issues of piracy, counterfeiting, and intellectual property are expected to be raised.

    Something tells me this is one of those Chinese Government edicts that will be largely ignored once Mr. Bush leaves China.

    The Chinese President is certainly not in the mood to discuss Microsoft's Intellectual Property Rights when there are more pressing matters to be discussed with the US President. He'll just point to the edict and politely say that the Chinese Government is already taking steps to address problems of piracy. Then he'll quickly change to another topic as soon as he is able.

    • Something tells me this is one of those Chinese Government edicts that will be largely ignored once Mr. Bush leaves China.

      Hu Jintao is coming here [iht.com]. Addressing software sharing is one of the few visible things he can do that will cost him nothing. Currency revaluation is what he is desperate to avoid. Why the US sees fit to give this guy a victory lap I'll never know.

      • Um, because he owns the U.S. economy? You're all working for him, now. As we approach tax time, just think of the percentage of that which is going directly into t-bills owned by the PRC. Think about how many months you spend each year, to prop up the Chinese oligarchy, and send the little Hus and Dengs to Princeton.

  • MS shooting feet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlewan (747328) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:10AM (#15112879) Homepage Journal
    MS may actually shoot themselves in the foot here. A large portion of the PC buying Chinese public is very price sensitive. The vendors are therefore more likely to install Linux by default, which people then can overwrite with pirated Windows.

    However, quite a few people will probably keep the default OS out of laziness, if nothing else, so Windows will loose market share. Until now, there are a fair number of Chinese internet sites (and software) that only work with Windows, but if enough people will use the default Linux system, those sites will have to adapt. This will make it even less attractive to install pirate Windows.

    So, how will this hurt MS? They don't get any money worth talking about from the Chinese market today. Their problem is that if a large portion of the Chinese start using Linux, international web sites that sell to the Chinese, will also have to adapt to Linux. And that means that Linux will be a more viable alternative for the international public too.

    This may be wishful thinking, but I think there is a fair chance that this scenario will take place.

    • Not only that but if the linux market share in China rises could this mean possibly lower amounts of spam coming from that area? I wonder how much spam coming from china is from improperly patched hacked copies of windows running and how much is from actual malicious chinese spam rings.
    • What is more if China begins to stadardize on OSS solutions, and open standards, then the US is at a disavantage when trading with China, as MS standards are often incompatible. [China loans us billions of dollars a month so we can continue to buy stuff from them]

      It think this is why MS is pushing virtualization. IF MS Windows cannot be the OS of choice, it can at least be the OS that is run on servers that run the OS of choice.

    • However, quite a few people will probably keep the default OS out of laziness, if nothing else, so Windows will loose market share.

      If they installed a working, full featured Linux distro this would be true. Past experience shows that whenever Linux gets preinstalled in the U.S. it's some stripped-down useless distro like Thizlinux, [thizlinux.com] Linspire [linspire.com] or FreeDos. [freedos.org]

      I'm not sure who the marketing geniuses are that pick ThizLinux over Fedora, Debian, Mandrake, Mepis, Ubuntu, etc.....but it seems fairly consistent.
  • Does nobody build their own PC in China?
  • How Dell does it (Score:5, Informative)

    by SWroclawski (95770) <<gro.ikswalcorw> <ta> <egres>> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @09:44AM (#15113083) Homepage
    I think this is why when Dell sells a computer without an operating system (their N series), they ship it with FreeDOS.

    That's a legal operating system. It comes with a CD of FreeDos and a printed copy of the GPL.
    • Can anyone tell me why on earth they include some piece of shit like FreeDOS instead of one of the large plethora of much, much more useful GPL OSes?
      • by hab136 (30884) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:19PM (#15114801) Journal
        Can anyone tell me why on earth they include some piece of shit like FreeDOS instead of one of the large plethora of much, much more useful GPL OSes?

        FreeDOS will work with BIOS update disks. It's also considerably simpler to support.

      • This is wild speculation here, so make of it what you will, but:

        Seeing as, by modern standards, FreeDOS does absolutely nothing, it's a doddle to support. It's probably an awful lot easier to get decent pricing from Microsoft when you're shipping boxes with an alternative OS which isn't linux. The boxes are sold in the full knowledge that there is no way they'll be running FreeDOS within 10 minutes of being first switched on.

        On the other hand, shipping something like Ubuntu would require rather more suppo
      • Besides the other poster's insightful comment about BIOS updates, you also want to remember that Dell sells various distributions as add-ons that they charge for. They don't want to compete with themselves.

        Most of the other Free OSes either compete with the product they're selling, or aren't ready for mass use yet (sorry Syllable).

    • That's a legal operating system.
      As opposed to the other kind of operating system, popularly represented by CrimeOS, Stealix, Terror/2, and Advanced Murder 386 (Server Edition).
  • IBM/Lenovo? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brother bloat (888898)
    Now that IBM/Lenovo is a Chinese company, does this apply to them as well? How many computers/parts are actually made in China?
  • From the article:

    This mirrors comments from Microsoft, which has long criticised sales of "naked PCs" as helping pirates.

    More arrogance from MS, even in the face of there being multiple perfectly good operating systems to choose from. Just because a sold PC doesn't include a purchase of their OS doesn't mean it is guaranteed to have an unlicensed copy of it installed instead.

  • by gone.fishing (213219) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:46AM (#15113508) Journal
    Oh, the irony, the "People's Republic" bowing to capitalist pressure at the expense of it's people!

    Imagine the officers of a Chinese computer company in a meeting where they are trying to decide on the best way to meet this edict. I am sure that it isn't much different than the meeting and decision making process here (in the United States).

    ****

    Overview is given: Gentlemen, a new policy has come down from Bejing, we are going to be required to install an OS on all of the computers we build! This meeting is to decide what operating system we can install that will be the most profitable for our company. There are many OS'es to choose from; Microsoft has several different flavors of Windows, there is of course a number of flavors of Linux, and then we could also consider BSD or perhaps a commercial version of Unix.

    Rep from MFG: Our perspective is that we would like to limit the number of options. It is expensive for us to have too many different options available in our generic boxes.

    Rep from Marketing: The lion's share of computers in homes and offices have Windows installed on them. It would be much more difficult for us to sell something that does not have Windows.

    Rep from Support: My people could rise to the challenge of supporting anything, they are geeks and like to learn new things but let's face it, right now they already know Windows and it's idisyncracies.

    Rep from Development: Every O/S has different drivers. Some companies only offer Windows drivers. We can not find an inexpensive modem that will work with anything besides Windows. If we offer multiple O/S'es, our development costs will skyrocket!

    Rep from Shipping: We have not got enough warhouse space to stock more than a couple of different options. Each different configuration requires at least one storage bay! I barely have enough room already!

    Moderator: So we can all agree that we have to limit options to one or two different Operating Systems then?

    Everyone: Murmurs agreement.

    Moderator: Linux is free, Windows XP costs us a lot of money and Windows XP Pro costs us even more.

    Marketing: I can not agree to Linux, I do not know how many boxes we can sell like that. People who have to go out and buy retail copies of Windows would need to spend a lot more! They will mentally add that cost into the cost of the computer and I am just not sure we can overcome that!!! I will not sign off on anything other than Windows, it is as simple as that!

    Moderator: Anyone else have an opinion?

    Everyone:

    Moderator: Everyone agrees then that we will offer Windows XP?

    Everyone: Quietly mumrmer agreement.

    Moderator: Should we offer XP Pro as an option?

    Shipping: I think I can make space for it...

    Moderator: Are we all agreed that XP Pro can be an option?

    Everyone: Quietly mutter agreements

    Moderator: OK, that settles it then.

    *****

    People, you know how this works. While the scenereo I have given is pure fiction, I have been in a thousand meetings just like this and in a nutshell this is what will happen.

    I see this as something that makes society much more chocolate and vanilla. Other flavors aren't as favored so things like butterscotch fail to compete for shelf space in larger stores and are eventually discontinued by the manufacturer because he can't sell them to the Walmart's of the world. In the end, we all loose because the fringe flavors are simply no longer available and all we have left to choose from are chocolate and vanilla.

    This is why naked PCs are important. They provide something that you can make any flavor you want without extra expense or hassle. Most manufaturers of naked PCs already make Windows boxes too. I suspect that the "copyright issue" is way over-blown. But this way, Microsoft wins because they are now sticking their software on every box made in China! For many naked PC buyers, this just significantly increased the cost of a computer.

    I'll say it again: Oh, the irony, the "People's Republic" bowing to capitalist pressure at the expense of it's people!
    • Marketing: I can not agree to Linux, I do not know how many boxes we can sell like that. People who have to go out and buy retail copies of Windows would need to spend a lot more! They will mentally add that cost into the cost of the computer and I am just not sure we can overcome that!!! I will not sign off on anything other than Windows, it is as simple as that!

      First, sales is the one who cares more about the price of the system and what the end user will pay. Second, do you really think anyone would c

      • The lion's share of all computers manufactured in China are sold outside of that country. This is a rule foisted on manufacturers and it is not limited to computers SOLD in China but rather MADE in China. This is a significant difference.

        While I know that there are many who may disagree with me, my opinion is that this is a rule that is there to stay. The reason that I believe this is because I suspect that the politial powers have discovered that they can charge import fees on every copy of licensed sof
  • by OwlWhacker (758974) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @10:52AM (#15113565) Homepage Journal
    The company I work for sells networking software. To prevent piracy of our software, I'm thinking of contacting Microsoft and telling them to add a copy of it to their Windows Server operating systems.

    This way, Microsoft can buy the software from us, charge slightly more for a copy of Windows to compensate, and it should prevent piracy - not to mention make my company plenty of money!

    Well, if Microsoft can do it, why can't I?

  • heh heh. He said "nekkid". heh heh.

    MjM

  • Anybody here remember back in about '96 or so, Bill Gates made a statement to the effect that he "doesn't mind people pirating his software - he just wished he could find a way to make the Chinese pay for their copies"?

    A reference, I'm sure, not to the Chinese per se but rather to how numerous they are (probably implying that at that time he'd settle for getting a higher percentage of customers in the paying category).

    Regardless, looks like he found a way!

  • by grumpyman (849537)
    I couldn't imagine a 'bigger' evil complying to a 'lesser' evil lol.
  • ... for one, welcome our naked Chinese overlords.

    Oh... wait.
  • Well, have the Debian or BSD foundations print out a bunch of 'licenses'.

    Or is their definition of 'proper' that it has to be something where actual currency changes hands?
    • If declare that the BSD license or the GPL are not "proper licenses", that'll really put the cat among the pigeons... and it'll be pecked to death. Later versions of Windows Server 2003 already ship with Interix included, and Vista will include it as well. The majority of the programs shipped with Interix are open source applications and tools distributed under the GPL or the BSD license, and most of the libraries are from OpenBSD.

      If they can't use FreeBSD or Linux, then they won't be able to use use Window
  • China has been saying one thing and doing another for as long as there has been another country to do it to. This most recent action allows foreign companies and countries to claim that China is moving in a positive direction, in this case against software piracy, making their investments in China more palatable to a gullible public.

  • by fh8510 (967845)
    Look at this announcement, under the Intellectual Property Rights http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_ 1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2006/04/0125.xml [usda.gov] I am sure Microsoft is behind this.
  • ..is that you could also preload party-sanctioned spyware.
  • Just enable booting from LAN in the machine BIOS, and sell it as a remote-boot terminal with local data storage.

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