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Microsoft

Microsoft vs. "Naked PCs" 685

alecto writes: "The Naked PC page directed at independent computer shops compares selling PC's without an operating system with "selling a house without a roof." It also implies that the dealer knows "full well" the buyer's just going to install an infringing copy of Windows -- and that they should "politely decline" to sell a machine without an OS. The just-below-the-surface message is that dealers could be liable for infringement if a customer buys a "naked" machine from them and subsequently installs an infringing copy of Windows. (Nowhere in the text is the possibility that the customer might want to install a legal, free operating system mentioned.)" It's very much a salesmen type help piece, but it's a pretty funny read. The most amusing comment is that they say "tell them that you're best equipped to install the OS." I'm kinda curious, who keeps the default install? I mean, even if it's Windows, I always had to reinstall just to make it functional anyway. Maybe that's changed, but I still hear that solution in a context that makes it sound like conventional wisdom.
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Microsoft vs. "Naked PC's"

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  • This would have been my interpretation as well, but now I wonder. Why can't you have more than one copy installed, if the only issue in installing and running a copy is that it creates some sort of derivative copy (on the hard disk or in memory respectively)? If copyright law allows me to create all the copies of the Windows CD contents I like so long as I don't distribute them, how is it any different when I install it onto multiple hard drives, or simultaneously boot several computers with it? The latter can perhaps be covered by the shaky shrinkwrap/clickwrap EULA's contractual licence, but what of the former case of mere multiple installation? I see no "distribution" there.

    Not that I've ever bought a copy of Windows, of course - or ever will. That's what Unix and the Mac OS are for.
  • from what I hear, speaking English is illegal in France.

    Then again, lot's of things in France are naughty. . .
  • When I worked in a local computer store near a huge college, we did the same thing. We routinly sold systems with no OS, and were very friendly to Linux people (ok, I was, but I was the sales rep everyone got referred to when they said "linux")

    Bottom line, if the computer store isn't willing to give you what you want (ie computer without windows) then don't give them your business. Too many of the stores that will follow this article's advice exist only to fleece people and prey on the computer illiterate anyway. Look for the store that caters to the 'computer savvy' crowd.

    Finkployd
  • It's possible that the original MB is no longer available, and they'll have to give me one that may accept more CPUs, have a faster IDE controller, better video, etc. This is rare but certainly could happen with the little "screwdriver shops" that use off the shelf parts.

    Having worked tech support for three years for a major OEM (think cow spots), I can tell you that this DOES happen and it's NOT rare.
  • Hey,

    You could try this:

    You: I'd like a computer. Full tower case, dual 1Ghz Intel Xeon processors, Four 72-gig disks, two pairs both in a mirrored RAID on an Adaptec controller, Gigabyte MX-2TS motherboard, 1Gb RAM, SB Live platinum sound card and a Creative 3D blaster GeForce GTS II video card.

    Them: Okay, $10,000 so far. Do you want Windows with that?

    You: Is it free?

    Them: No, but we're best equipped to install and OS for you!

    You: Ah, so I should take the components home, build a computer, bring it in here, pay you to install an OS I don't want, go back home and reformat the hard disk?

    Them: Well, uh...

    You: The shop down the street offered me the same parts for $8,000.

    Or alternatively, you could take this approach:

    You: I'd like a computer.

    Them: Do you want Windows 98 with that?

    You: Why would I want Windows 98? Windows Millenium Edition will be out in a few weeks anyway, I may as well wait. We both know the upgrade will be outragously expensive.

    Or another option would be:

    You: I want a computer.

    Them: Do you want Windows 98?

    You: If I do, I'll install it myself.

    Them: But we are highly experienced! We know all about how best to install Windows for you!

    You: I see. Which card games do I not want installed?

    Them: Um... Solitaire?

    You: No, hearts and Freecell.

    Or...

    You: I'd like to buy a computer, please.

    Them: That'll be $3,500 plus $70 for a copy of Windows 98.

    You: If I want Windows, I'll install it myself, thaks.

    Them: But we are highly experienced and knowledgable about computer-related matters!

    You: Can you convert the binary 1011 into hex in your head?

    Them: No, can you?

    You: Sure. You multiply the first digit by 8, giving you 8, then the second by 4 giving you 0 and the third by 2 giving you 2 and the fourth by 1, giving you 1. Add them all together and you have eleven decimal, which we all know converts to B in hexadecimal. Doesn't everyone know that?

    Them: Um...

    I'm sure you can think of a few alternatives too.

    Michael

    ...another comment from Michael Tandy.

  • I can remember laughing at this a year or two ago; the "naked PC" page is ancient, and certainly predates the no-OEM-CD policy. That's why they don't agree - 'nuf said.

    Of course, that doesn't excuse the blatant proganda, the no-CD policy, or the overall absurdity of "you have to buy this from us to buy a PC, only we're not even willing to actually sell it to you because we're afraid of what you might do with it". But what do you seriously expect from this company? The elevator doesn't go all the way to the top.

  • You are assuming, as are most of the other posters here, that you are buying a copy of the software. You are not. You are purchasing the right to keep and use a copy of the software under certain circumstances, as detailed in you EULA.
    Well, if Microsoft attempt to deny me the rights that copyright law grants me regarding their software, then surely that means that copyright law must not apply to their software. Pass me that blank CD-R.
  • > Still, if M$ actually had a monopole then they wouldn't need to mess

    (I'll bite) Well, I know for sure that Bill Gates alone has a couple tens of kilograms worth of (electric) monopoles, that is protons and electrons.

    (Side note, is it a marginal phonomenon or is the general "Slashdot community" trying to piss off all the non American/non native english speaker in there with spelling and related stuff?)
  • Under normal circumstances, there would be a difference.

    But nowadays, the corporations are all trying to get the legal system to play along. Thus, we have things like the DMCA, which bans copy-protection-circumvention devices based on presumption of guilt (never mind the many legitimate uses of such devices).
    ----------
  • Since when is the Win98 CD I got with my computer "promotional"? Besides, a company can't override the law of first sale with disclaimers like that. The court case over the $1 book ("this book is not to be resold for less than $1...") proved that.
  • You know very well that the only reason that people would want to buy self-service gas is so they can use illegal slave labor to fill their tanks.
  • by robocord ( 15497 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:05AM (#716818)
    I sometimes upgrade my system, without buying a new copy of windoze. That's legal, right? Since Linux runs better on less hardware, it goes on the older systems.

  • by swingkid ( 3585 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:06AM (#716819)
    You'd think Microsoft would like your pc naked, just makes it easier for them to rape you.
  • Microsoft is too big for itself, but you know this. If they had clue one, they might realize that some people already own MS Windows 9x, and are, in fact, replacing an older computer that they no longer want or use.
  • by Electric Angst ( 138229 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:08AM (#716821)
    The interesting thing to think about here is the mindframe Microsoft seems to be exibiting.
    I mean, damn, exactly how anti-competative do you have to be to think that every PC will end up with your product on it???
    This isn't even smart megalomania, and that's the sad part...
    --
  • I mean, as long as you're sure the chipset is fully supported in Linux (i.e.: has no "buggy" driver modules), then just wipe out Windoze with fdisk and start installing Linux. Though, from what I've seen, retail systems just have too much win-hardware to be worthy of running Linux. HP is win, Compaq is win, Dell is good, Micron is good, Gateway is win, and so on, and so on.

    I'm wondering about Beon machines; those are pretty chic systems, but do they deserve the derisive term, "Pee-on"? Or are they Linux friendly?

  • Most people cannot separate the monitor from the computer. Ask them what kind of computer they have and they're just as likely to give you the brand name of the monitor. They have no awareness of the box below it (or if they have a tower, the one at their feet). They call the big box with all the hardware in it the "hard drive" if they're tech savvy. If they're really tech savvy, they call it the "CPU." The cup-holder joke may be an urban myth, but for crying out loud it just isn't that far from the truth.

    of course I've also noticed a large portion of the population doesn't seem to be aware that there is a third dimension . . .
  • I find this Insightful as well as Funny, because it's just another example of the myth that Microsoft is good at marketing. They're not - in fact they're abysmally bad at it, and the only things they've been good at are bullying and impossible chutzpah (even that could probably have been done more competently).

    It seems that people want to believe that Microsoft are good at *something*, because otherwise why would they have all that money and sales? The truth, that they've been blindly lucky in a chaotic market environment that they don't understand at all, is harder to stomach.

  • What if some of us don't want your Free OS installed on there? Maybe we want BeOS? Maybe we want Windows 2000?

    Here's a silly question, how many major Linux based computer companies sell Linux for free with their systems? Last time I checked, a lot of companies bundled retail Redhat boxes with their systems, which means your OS isn't so "Free"
  • I find it interesting that "what is a computer" is kind of like the discussion people used to have over "what is a person" when AI looked like it was around the corner.

    This is the discussion that goes: Is a person with an artificial heart still a person? Is a person with an artificial limb still a person? Artificial kidney (dialysis)? Artificial eye? Brain?

    In my mind I've been using the same "computer" for ten years. I never replace more than 5% of the computer at a time, so it never becomes a new computer. I distinguish my computer from other computers by its "personality": directory structure, user names, UI skins, shell scripts, etc.

    I don't expect MS or laywers to recognize this sentimental/philosophical point. As computing resources become more swappable and more portable, the philosophy is going to start edging into the business world. Licensing software for "one computer" is a wierd concept in a world where a computer is a collection of flash rams, URL's for resources stored on the net, pluggable IO devices, etc. If you use a laptop, 50% of your computer's hardware is probably modular: you can remove the CD/DVD drive, battery, USB external keyboard and mouse, external monitor, PCMCIA cards, and flash rams. With more people moving towards regular permanant storage of data on the web (ie. all of my e-mail sits in a web mail account and many of my files on a university server) and computers becoming completely modular (my Mac and PC share all of their USB devices), I'm not so sure a computer is something you can point at, pick up, and lug down the stairs. It is more of a concept.

    -m

  • There's two possible motives for that... covering their butt in a legal sense, or actually trying to protect the consumer. Which one do you think it is?
    --
  • Merely finding OSTDs at a (significantly) higher rate in the Linux group would establish a correlative link, but not a causational one. Kudos for the circular logic FUD use of "high-risk group" at the end of the first paragraph, though - just like a real press release in the statistical social sciences.

  • If you want a computer, stay away from Gateway. Unless you really enjoy dealing with clueless idiots all the time. Of course, you're reading slashdot, so that could be the case.

    I bought my PC from Gateway three years ago. So the experience for a new buyer might be different. But my experience dealing with sales and service were great. They had it shipped to a friend in WI to avoid the sales tax in MN. They made me a damn-near custom machine with a SCSI hd, SCSI CD, low-end processor, and no monitor for no added cost. They upgraded a graphics card that didn't have a Linux driver available and paid ME since the price of the system had gone down (my sales guy alerted me to this). They replaced the CD three times until I got one that worked. And they replaced my hd by sending me a new one overnight. They did everything I asked and more.

    The hardware failures were just bad luck and I don't blame Gateway. And even though it took some time on the phone, they allways came through. And they weren't fazed by my having Linux installed (remember that was three years ago).

    I'll buy there again, which is about as much praise as you can give to an OEM.

  • Why shouldn't we expect them to admit that? Why should consumers, or in this case, computer sellers, be threatened by Microsoft because Microsoft's marketing (and management) people are deluded?

  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @01:30PM (#716862)
    Your argument overlooked a BIG factor - a store is a "public accomodation" and its business license requires the owner to make certain compromises. No compromise, no business license.

    The easiest way to illustrate this is to play "Guess who's coming to dinner." An individual, in his own home, may refuse to allow a guest to enter on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

    But a restaurant owner *can't* refuse to allow a guest to dine in his restaurant, legally a "public accomodation," on the basis of some or all of those criteria. (The exact list varies with local laws.) He may only refuse a patron for legitimate reasons, e.g., the restaurant is full, the patron will disrupt others with his actions or odor, the patron is unsanitary (no shoes, no shirt, etc.)

    Likewise a private home owner can refuse to allow someone to stay overnight for any reason - or no reason at all. A hotel can't. A private car owner can refuse to give someone a lift, a public car (taxi, limo) can't. A privately funded school can refuse to educate people, a publicly funded one can't. (Again, all subject to "common-sense" exceptions like the facility being filled, legitimate perception of threat to staff or others, etc.)

    I'm still undecided whether this is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing (it depends on how much is shoe-horned in through the back door), but no matter what you think about it this invalidates the argument that Constitutional protections only protect you from the government. They also apply, to a surprising extent, to any business entity which doesn't employ you.
  • Yup, good points. I just had a notebook running a Redhat installation with 2.2.17 go south on me because of some ext2-based freakout; the /lib and several other less important directories are completely shot. Combined with the stupid idea of making both /sbin/init and /bin/sh (pointing to bash) dynamically linked, the box was unbootable until I noticed a statically linked "ash" present - as it is it's still basically not worth trying to recover it. And this wasn't even a crash - I think the BIOS just has some issue with soft-powering off where it doesn't always allow the IDE write cache to clear (but I won't rant on the tangent of PC architecture and notebook BIOSes - then again my PPC notebook is completely dead right now :).

    This *could not have happened* under FreeBSD using UFS with softupdates. Even if it could I'd still have a halfway usable system, because the structure of / and /usr makes sense (granted that's also truer of Debian than Redhat). The machine will have FreeBSD 4.1.1 on it just as soon as I hie me over to a friend's place with a cable modem; the Redhat installation sucked and needed replacing anyway, but it's still a royal pain for to happen right now, and therein lies the other point - 3 serious filesystem errors in 6 years is *completely unacceptable* (to quote another poster's stated rate). This should never happen, and for systems with real filesystem code and sane filesystem layouts it simply doesn't.

  • Why does being a racist bastard mean that your testimony is invalid?

    It doesn't necessarily. It can hurt your credibility if you don't have quite a bit of corroborating evidence though. People aren't likely to accept the word of a known racist bastard testifying against a member of a minority race without something substantial to back it up.

  • Actually, you can buy the tresses for a roof prefabricated at a lumberyard/building supply. Likewise for the panels that form the body of a roof. Not exactly the same as buying the roof in toto but certainly good enough for my skill-free carpentry and my in-laws' guest cottage :).

    This might be analogous to buying a computer without an OS. Four walls, no roof, is only marginally useful. A computer, no OS, is only marginally useful (space-heater?). However, they imply that the only roof worth putting on a PC is Windows - which, while not a flagrant antitrust violation, does fly in the face of all the windy claims they made about competition in the PC market and free markets and so on, so forth, in court.

    Were it not for that astounding piece of hypocrisy this would be nothing but standard marketing boilerplate. With the context, of course, it becomes, if not scandalous, at least amusing.

    --
  • Unfortunately they are all hanging out at slashdot and moderating each other's stupid posts.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • by PurpleBob ( 63566 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:45PM (#716875)
    Note: This response was written by "John_Profit". The original note was by "John_Prophet". Note the discrepancy.

    I don't know who John_Prophet is, whether his cat or car was actually stolen, or why someone would be imitating him, but seeing such an inflammatory statement posted by someone who had sounded perfectly reasonable in the parent comment kinda tipped me off that something was weird.
    --
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.

  • ...makes calls to the win 3.1 GUI libraries. It won't run unless the box has win 3.1 on it. (Well, it may work with another older version of windows, I've never had one to try)

    I've done this *alot*. Always annoyed me to have to install DOS, then Win 3.1, then Win95. Now the win98 upgrade will let you install if you just insert the win95 CD briefly as a license check.

    This whole naked PC annoys me. I have *never* purchased a PC with a preinstalled OS. back when I only had on PC, I always ran it as a dual-boot Windows/Linux system anyway, why would I want Windows only preinstalled?

    If some computer manufacturer tried to get me get preinstalled Windows because they're more qualifed to install it, I'd feel insulted.

    -Wintermute, and before I get tarred with the piracy brush, I have *legal* copies of Windows 95, 98, NT Workstation, and 2K Professional right now. And *none* of them are on more than one computer.
  • Actually, since the OEM did the replacing, it is the same computer, at least as far as licensing goes.

    I think the direction it will go in is not "installing software on one computer" but "installing software on one mass storage device" (aka hard drive)
  • Consider yourself lucky they didn't want you to send it in to service. God forbid they actually have to fucking fix something!
  • Unix will never surpass windows in the marketplace until it becomes as easy to install and use as Windows

    Windows isn't easy to install (part of the reason MS would prefer OEM installs over simply selling the thing) nor is it easy to use, many people have huge difficulties using it. Compounded by Windows insisting that end users carry out system admin tasks.

    Linux is not a consumer-level OS, students, grandmothers, sales guys, and secretaries don't understand it on one sitting.

    What on earth makes you think Windows is "consumer lead" it's Marketing Lead. A major part of it is to force people to upgrade every 18 months or so.
  • Listen moderators. Just because a post bashes Linux you do not have to moderate it up to 5. This guy is clueless for gods sake.

    For one exactly how is the slackware file system different then any other llinux file system.
    For another he can not get 70% of software installed on a linux system and his record on a bas system is only 40%. What kind of BOZO keeps using systems when he can not even load software on it!.

    This guy is a clueless wonder and should be using a mac. I got my 72 year old dad a mac and his compile percentage is 0%. I would recommend a mac for this xonix7 luser too. that way he does not have to compile anything at all.

    Most people are ashamed of their ignorance and don't flaunt their failures but this guy seems to want to trumpet to the rest of the world that he is incapable of compiling a program under linux. This is a opposite of insightful get it?

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • by Royster ( 16042 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @01:55PM (#716922) Homepage
    "Fair Use" applies only to copyright... because the software is "licensed" under original strict terms that you agreed with before you ever first used it, the concept of "fair use" is no longer applicable as you've already waived any rights you might have had under fair use doctrine.

    Nice try. Book publishers tried to do the very same thing in the early part of this century. They printed notices that the book was licensed, not sold and attempted to control the price at which copies were sold to the public.

    There was a landmark Supreme Court case (210 U.S. 339 [findlaw.com]) which said that attempts to restrict the sale of a copy of a copyrighted work with a license which impermissably expanded the right of the copyright holder beyond those granted by the copyright statute.

    Now, I'm not aware of any case which has tried to apply this SC precedent to software sales, but the legal theory still stands. The sale of a copy of software is still the sale of a copy. You have rights stemming from Federal Copyright Law. The license "agreement" can not take those away.
  • Sell your PCs fully equipped with legally licensed operating systems preinstalled. Otherwise, who knows what you're leaving your customers-and yourself-open to?

    This last bit here is what's really troubling to me. The rest of the comments are at least vaguely reasonable from a business standpoint: computer builders should offer to install the OS for their users for a variety of good reasons. The last line, though, strikes me as being a threat. When they ask what the seller is leaving his customers and himself open to by selling a naked PC, it makes it sound as though MS considers doing so to be contributory infringement if the user subsequently installs an illegal copy of Windows. They are admittedly showing some subtlety by putting it down at the very bottom like that, but it still suggests that the seller may get himself into legal trouble by doing so.

  • I can't speak for "The land of the free" but over here in the UK, store security guards have no right to search you at all. They can ask but you can refuse. Of course, they do have the right to detain you and can call the police. They can search you and arrest you. You're probably better off submitting to the search if you're guilty. You're more likely just to get a slap on the wrist and banned from the store. By insisting on the police, you elevate it to another level.

    Also, once you leave the store, that's it, the security guard loses any ability to detain you. They have to contact the police and leave you to your own devices.

    Rich

  • How a pirated copy of Windows is any more or less succeptable to viruses. They should explain that on the page.

    It's a claim Microsoft make quite frequently, additional FUD. Though AFAIK the only virused MS software known to exist was some beta stuff put out by Microsoft themselves.
  • I just don't understand how this case is not open-shut. It is just another example of how frustrating the United States is. Forget marijuana laws which make no sense, lax penalties on convicted violent offenders, the tax bracket system, and the electoral college, wtf is up with this? This should have taken ONE AFTERNOON of a court's time. Instead millions of taxpayer dollars go toward fighting this case. Wtf, I ask you America, wtf?

    Or about 5 minutes if you put it on the "Judge Judy" television show.
  • When will people get it thru their THICK skulls that installing an OS (BE it Linux, or Windows) is NOT THAT HARD!!!! Just RTFM!

    Remember that manuals are a (chargable) extra with Windows. Whilst a boxed Linux distribution will come with a comprehensive manual all you get with a boxed Windows distribution is a thin book with virtually no useful information in.
  • I sometimes upgrade my system, without buying a new copy of windoze. That's legal, right?

    Probably not according to the letter of the licence agreement...
    Also This thing looks to be related to the story from a couple of months back about corporate users potentially paying twice for Windows.
    OEM installs tend to be unsuitable for the vast majority of people anyway.
  • I sometimes upgrade my system, without buying a new copy of windoze. That's legal, right?

    More likely it's laying stunned in a coffin whilst big business lobbiests stand with hammers passing out the nails. (Or at least this appears to be the case in the US, in the EU it appears to still be alive and kicking but building up lactic acid.)
  • Book publishers tried to do the very same thing in the early part of this century. They printed notices that the book was licensed, not sold and attempted to control the price at which copies were sold to the public.

    Many books still do contain a condition about resale, except that it is self nullifying and meaningless.
  • It's probably best to buy a full new copy of Windows everytime you make any changes to the hardware of your original OEM'd system or else you may be in violation of copyright law as determined by Microsoft.

    You mean "best for Microsoft". It isn't a matter of coyright law, copyright law is quite unambiguious on the issue, since it controls copying not usage. (Software produces have deliberatly tried to imply that "usage implies copying", if book or CDROM producess used an argument like, "it's copied to a image on the retina" or "it's copied into sound waves" they'd be laughed at. Even though this is the same argument as "it gets copied into memory".)
    The issue here is the validity (if any) of shrink wrapped software licences.
  • Thanks for the note - I hadn't thought of that, and though it would still be difficult because of the lack of alternate boot devices on most PC notebooks (unlike, say Powerbooks with SCSI or Firewire), I can see that it would work as long as the package database wasn't also destroyed (which isn't guaranteed in this case, the damage was pretty scattershot). Since I don't have a Redhat CD, I think I'm still going to put FreeBSD on it (which actually doesn't track the main distribution's files via the package system, but will replace everything but packages, /etc, and /usr/local via the binary upgrade procedure, from one statically-linked app (sysinstall)).

    Fortunately the machine didn't have any important unbacked-up data on it - but it's supposed to be my on-loan backup while my other machine is down due to a hardware failure! I hate when lightning strikes twice.

    Finally I must point out that rpm is likely underrated because it's just so incredibly obtuse; I don't know what those people were smoking when they dreamed up the command-line structure, but I want some. ;)

  • Your argument overlooked a BIG factor - a store is a "public accomodation" and its business license requires the owner to make certain compromises.

    Of which the US Constitution says precisely zip.

    Can your city, county, state, or federal legislature enact laws granting us additional rights? Even rights protecting us from each other? Sure they can. In fact, that is their primary purpose. But the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights have nothing to do with it.

    But a restaurant owner *can't* refuse to allow a guest to dine in his restaurant ... on the basis of ... race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

    Of which, I might point out, "wearing a backpack" is noticeably absent. As it is from the Constituion.

    The exact list varies with local laws.

    Hell, you even agree with me. Local laws. Maybe my town has a law saying that I cannot discriminate who gets access to my store based on choice of footware. In that case, I cannot kick someone out because they are wearing sandals. But this is a local ordinance, and has nothing to do with the protections against unreasonable search and seizure in the Fourth Amendment.

  • Many large Microsoft customers are part of some licensing program, I think it's called "Microsoft Select", in which the customers purchase a license to do mass duplications of operating system software as well as some microsoft applications.

    What the enterprise customer does is set up an initial install with the OS and application and then clone it to new PCs with Norton Ghost [symantec.com]. (I recently used the personal edition for $99 to back up a freshly installed dual-boot windows system and I think it's just dandy; now comprehends linux ext2 filesystems).

    The problem is that if the enterprise customer bought the PC from a tradition Microsoft OEM, it will come preinstalled with Windows, and they'll be required to pay twice for it, as discussed at Paying Twice for Windows [slashdot.org] and Microsoft licensing deals confuse customers, study says [cnet.com].

    Eventually Microsoft yielded somewhat, but only for the largest customers, as discussed in Commentary: Microsoft hasn't totally reversed its policy on fees [cnet.com].

    This is a problem because traditional Microsoft OEMs are contractually obligated by Microsoft to install some operating system on every machine they sell. Microsoft claims that this is to cut down on piracy, but it has the added effect of discouraging people from trying out other operating systems.

    The solution? Encourage the enterprise customers to purchase hardware with no operating system at all installed on it from OEMs that have no relationship with Microsoft. Then the customer can do their Ghost cloning without any worry about double license fees. This will work well both for the large enterprise customers that may have been helped by the minor adjustment in Microsoft's policy, as well as the smaller enterprise that were no helped out.

    If you work for one of the traditional linux hardware vendors, I'd like to suggest to you that you view Microsoft Windows enterprise customers as a new market opportunity, not just to sell Linux to, but just to sell naked hardware to. If the hardware has no OS installed at all, there's no OS support issues to be concerned with, as there might be if you put some Linux distro on it.

    Consider also that although trying to sell a machine bundled with Linux might meet resistance from a company that really does need its Windows applications to do business, selling naked hardware and emphasizing savings on Windows license fees is an easy foot in the door. Once you establish a rapport with the customer you'll have a better chance to upsell them to Linux.

    Also consider that if Microsoft OEMs start losing significant hardware sells to folks like VA Linux Systems [valinux.com], Penguin Computing [penguincomputing.com], Tuxtops [tuxtops.com] and the screwdriver shops, they'll be a little more aggressive about getting Microsoft to back down on requiring an OS to be installed.

    Of course, an alternative to the traditional OEM vendors is to just preinstall Debian and include a clause in the contract stating that the preinstall OS software is not supported by anyone. That just pretty much screws Microsoft up the Yin-Yang.

  • This poster had a valid point which he was expressing through sarcasm. Few people here would argue that the Free Software Foundation's rules should be broken. Both the FSF and Microsoft distribute a contract (or copyleft or EULA or whatever you want to call it) with the software which you are expected to follow. If you don't like the contract, you don't use the software.

    The FSF's GNU General Public License is vastly different from a clickwrap or shrinkwrap license like the Microsoft EULA. You don't have to accept the terms GNU General Public License in order to use the software covered by it that you've lawfully aquired. You only need to accept the license if you wish to avail yourself of the special privilages it grants above and beyond what your normal first sale and fair use rights would allow. Microsoft, however, contends that you can't use the software at all, nor avail yourself of your first sale or fair use rights without accepting their license first.

    It's a legal fallacy that users are bound by clickwrap or shrinkwrap licenses in all of the world. Even within the United States depending on your jusisdiction, precedent and/or laws are either in favor of shrinkwrap licenses, against them, or non-existant. Thus, it's very well possible that many people are not bound by the EULA and therefore are free to sell or reuse their OEM copies of Windows provided they haven't agreed in any other contracts not to do so. Note that there is currently a precedent in the US against shrink wrap licenses on books: you can safely ignore wrappers that say boxed sets of novels can only be sold together and labels stating that a book may not be resold below a certain price. I see no reason why this precedent might not be applied to software in the future.

    It is also unclear whether a person has accepted the terms of the GPL. After all, it is neither a signed and witnessed contract nor a physical barrier from installing the software on one's computer. However, even one does not accept the terms of the GPL, they are still free to use the software. The Free Software Foundation does not contend this fact. However, if the person is engaging in practices that would otherwise be copyright infringement (such as making and selling copies of the software) then they have two and only two choices: either they're infringing copyright, or they've accepted the terms of the GPL.

  • This is how I treat things. I have an old PC at home that has a restore CD. The Win95 image on that CD is a complete joke -- every installed driver is a Win3.x version. When I last revived that machine I used a copy of Win95c from work, even though that sacrificed MS Works. I think the OEM code from my Windows licence even worked in it. I consider what I have done is fair by all parties involved. If it's illegal then the law needs a serious look at.
  • Basically - you are bound to the EULA at the time you accept it. they cannot change it at whim after your agreement unless that is written into the EULA.

    Not quite, such agreements are governed by the "law of the land". If appropriate statute and case law gives a person an "unaliable right" to negotiate a contract. Then at best any clause in a contract stating that they can't is invalid, at worst the whole contract is void. (Hence such licences typically containing a clause to the effect that all clauses must be treated as independant entities.)
  • by bem ( 1977 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:22AM (#717001) Homepage
    More like selling a house without furniture bolted to the floor.

    (Original analogy stolen from RMS, I believe)

    Remember, you're not allowed to resell the 'furniture' (or Windows CD) at a yard sale. You're not even allowed to stick it in the microwave without the consent of Microsoft.
    Because it's an OEM install, you can't take the 'furniture' to your next home when you move or the house burns down.

  • I would pay good money to see the following:

    "Hi there. I'd like to buy a PC."

    "Very well sir, would you like Windows ME or Windows 2000 with that?"

    "Actually, you can just leave off the operating system."

    "Sir, I can assure you that we are best equipped to install your operating system."

    "OK, in that case, do dual boot Debian/OpenBSD install with this hard drive partitioning that I'm going to write down..."

    fearbush.com [fearbush.com]

  • by Veteran ( 203989 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:27AM (#717016)
    Microsoft really missed a bet, instead of comparing a naked PC to a house without a roof why didn't they say:

    "Nobody would buy a house without Windows, a PC without Windows is just as bad."

  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketchNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:27AM (#717017)
    Who ever wrote this isn't really thinking very clearly and isn't acting for the benefit of the end user (surprise, it's microsoft). They're acting for the 'benifit' of the average computer user, but the average computer user doesn't order a naked pc.

    1. Highlight the fact that the PC will not work without an operating system. Mention that preinstalling the operating system on the new PC saves considerable time, expense and trouble. After all, your expertise is valuable. You install system software day in, day out, so there is little question you're best equipped to do it well.

    The person ordering this probably knows more than the average person about computers and will know what they are doing. And it doesn't really save that much time anyways, because the person ordering this will probably just blow it away and reinstall anyways. It has nothing to do with saying that the vendor has no expertise, but different users have different needs and abilities and some just like to install their own stuff.

    2. Warn customers that acquiring the PC "naked" and subsequently pirating the software is never a good option. Explain the risks: technical troubles, upgrade problems, viruses and the law. Politely decline to expose your buyers or their businesses to such troubles.

    As I said before, the person ordering a naked pc knows what they're doing and will most likely be able to work out any technical troubles on their own and will probably enjoy doing so :). I know I personally like troubleshooting computer problems. And the owner probably has a legal copy of the operating system they want to install (usually a free operating system). However, I'm sure there are a few cases of people wanted to use unlicensed copies of software.

    3. Point out the benefits of a legally licensed, preinstalled operating system. Customers have the original CD so they can reload the software. They also have a manual for everyday troubleshooting, and a Certificate of Authenticity that proves the software is legal. In short, protect your customer and your good name. Sell your PCs fully equipped with legally licensed operating systems preinstalled. Otherwise, who knows what you're leaving your customers-and yourself-open to?

    If someone asked for a computer without an operating system they obviously know what they're doing and more than likely, they want to install a copy of a free operating system on it. And in some cases they will want to install a *CLEAN* version of windows and not the standard default install crap that I've seen most vendors ship with.


    In short, selling naked pc's is aimed at a completely different market than the typical computer user and is geared more towards the power users who know what they're doing. Often this market is also of people who want to give a little money to microsoft as possible :). I doubt the average Joe Normal User will order a naked pc, but if Joe Power User wants one, they they should be able to get one without a hassel.
  • by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:46AM (#717031)
    I sometimes upgrade my system, without buying a new copy of windoze. That's legal, right? Since Linux runs better on less hardware, it goes on the older systems.

    Let's say, for instance, that back in 1999 you bought that super cool, multimedia-ready "GeeWhiz 2000" PC with a Celeron 400 processor and it came with an OEM edition of Windows 98 on it. Lucky you, for that OEM install cdrom of Windows was not one of those deliberately crippled "system restore ONLY" types, but just happened to be a real install cdrom with a real setup.exe program that only wants you to type in that 8-mile long product ID key to run.

    Now that the year 2000 has come and almost gone, that little old Celery 400 just doesn't jazz your 'nads any more, but will make a fine Linux box so you go to the local computer flea market and buy a whole shopping cart full of enough parts to build your own uber-fast hotrod AMD Gigahertz Thunderbird gaming rocketship dream machine. You get home and assemble all the stuff and justify your next couple of actions(since the "network is the computer", according to Scott McNealy... and all your collective hardware is your "system" (as in singular) because you network it all together with a cheezy little 5-port 10/100 hub). You install your favorite Linux distro onto the old machine (maybe all its innards in a new case) and are not surprised at all to find that it runs beautifully great at 400MHz, even with only a 66MHz FSB. You then pop that oem Windows 98 cdrom into your new assemblage of "upgrade parts" and proceed to commit software piracy.

    That's right, that oem copy of Win98 is legally valid only for the original pile of parts that it was purchased with. Even if you kept the same old "GeeWhiz 2000" case, with its serial number, because you installed a new "system" into it, it is now in the eyes of MS, the SPA, and whatever other gestapo,... a different "computer", and hence illegal upon which to install that oem copy of Windows that came with the original PC.
  • by NothingCleverToSay ( 76997 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:49AM (#717053)
    This kills me. I just purchased a Compaq Presario Laptop for use at the office. I shelled out the extra $100 to upgrade from Windows ME to Win2000. My plan was to install Linux, then VMWare with Win2000 under VMWare for the MS-only stuff I might encounter in the office (like that damn MS Visual Source Safe, as if CVS doens't kick VSS's ass any day of the week, but I digress...). It turns out that the copy of Windows 2000 you get is only a Restore CD, not an installable copy. It does an fdisk and reformat before reimaging your system back to "a known good state". Since VMWare fakes out a BIOS, the restore CD won't install, since you are not installing "on the original machine". So I wasted $100 trying to be legal. I have turned to a semi-legal copy, and am soothing my morals by telling myself that I really do own a copy of Windows 2000 (I even have the much touted "Certificate of Authenticity"). I would have been better off buying the machine Naked and then buying a shrinkwrap copy of the MS software I needed.
  • by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <david@amazing.com> on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:53AM (#717068) Homepage
    I recently bought a Compaq 5100 series machine that, of course, came with a legal copy of Microsoft Windows 98. I wiped the disk and installed Linux on it; it didn't work too well due to poor driver support, so I installed BeOS too. That was a little better, but not much.

    Then I decided I'd really be better off selling the machine, since it performed poorly with both Linux and BeOS - I had an interested buyer, even - so I booted the recovery CD to reinstall Windows.

    THE RECOVERY CD DID NOT CONTAIN A COPY OF WINDOWS. Instead, it contained references to a partition on my hard drive in which Windows was supposed to be hiding. Without this partition, no install.

    Technical support had to send me a real Windows CD, which I haven't gotten around to installing yet (my sale fell through, since the buyer needed the machine right away). To be fair, the CD arrived promptly, even though they told me it would take two weeks. But that didn't erase the truly wretched experience.

    Now, our friends at Microsoft might say that it serves me right for installing an alien operating system of evil on my system. At the same time, though, even if I was the world's biggest Windows fan, I would feel profoundly uneasy about this; what if the hard drive breaks down, for instance? What if I'd really like the gigabyte or so of space they're wasting on my hard drive back?

    No, friends, this policy is profoundly consumer hostile. The "naked operating system page" is profoundly dishonest since it appears to be offering products that Microsoft is not actually selling.

    Shameful.

    D

    ----
  • by phaze3000 ( 204500 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:34AM (#717074) Homepage

    I used to work for a large OEM and almost every week at our technical meeting there would be questions about Microsoft licensing, often this issue in particular. I spoke to Microsoft about this on one occasion, and their line was basically

    "You're on the Microsoft select program, we let you press your own Windows CDs and give you licenses for next to nothing, if you wish things to say this way then don't ship systems without an OS".

    Unfortunately I didn't have the authority and the MD didn't have the courage to do anything about the situation.

    -- Piracy is a vicitmless crime, like punching someone in the dark.
  • by xant ( 99438 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:54AM (#717077) Homepage
    1. they are at risk of acquiring pirated operating systems elsewhere--

      /

      1. Linux users found to be at high risk for OSTDs

        Today, medical researchers demonstrated that there is a strong causational link between users of the free "Linux" operating system and the use of other software not approved by Microsoft. According to the report, these Operating System-Transmitted Diseases (OSTDs) were found at a much higher rate in the high-risk group of Linux users than in the Microsoft crony group.

        "We here at Microsoft," said the chief researcher, "don't blame the Linux users. The social stigma associated with Linux use is unfair -- but the evidence that these people are at higher risk of acquiring pirated software and using non-Windows software is staggering."


    --
  • by xonix7 ( 227592 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:35AM (#717083) Homepage

    Have all computers have linux installed by default!

    Ok, this would be quite a good idea I guess.

    It's free,

    Can't argue with that :=)

    fast

    At most tasks, yes.

    stable.........

    This isn't really 100% true (Perhaps with the exception of Slackware). From my experiences, the default Linux filesystem is extermely finicky and anything other than a careful shutdown ( ctrl-alt-del or "shutdown" or "reboot" ) will end up in a serious FS problem, which at least will require a fsck -f to fix and at worst will trash the filesystem completely.

    The dependencies under Linux aren't great which makes installing anything a pure nightmare. Of course, this doesn't neccessarily mean it's unstable, but it's not an ideal working enviroment. Once, however, your programs have been installed under Slackware, you have a mostly stable system that rules.

    However, the first problem I mentioned, FreeBSD doesn't seem to have a problem with. And the second is quite adequately dealt with due to the uniformity of the BSD systems and the ports collection. You'll find that compiling something under FreeBSD or any BSD is better than Linux (works at least 60% of the time as compared to about 30% for various GNU/Linux distributions

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:38AM (#717102)
    the cost structure is totally irrelevant to me. and probably to the courts as well (just guessing).

    the fact is, in the 'olden days' where the oem cd was NOT node-locked (to a particular bios checksum, etc), that cd distro was for 'the original pc' that came shipped with that o/s. defining a pc is legally problematic (any lawyers out there care to define what IS a 'pc' in legal terms?). if I change a video card, is it the same pc? if I upgrade a motherboard, is it the same pc? if I move to a new hard drive (using a hard drive clone util, like what maxtor ships with their retail drives, sort of a cheap Ghost util) is THAT the same pc?

    its all nonsense. the intent (which does make sense) is that one machine runs one licensed/keyed copy of windows. if I run 2 machines on that same key I'm in violation. but I should be able to run exactly one license on the machine of my choice.

    no where in that EULA (afaik) does it prohibit -giving- the oem copy away. so if I sell a hard drive to you and give you the only copy of win98 I have (and I'm not using it and its not installed at my site) I cannot see what's wrong with this.

    and to my point, M$ flexing their muscles and forcing ebay to cancel ads is way beyond tolerable! if M$ wants to sue individuals, let them. but strongarming ebay is in very poor taste. at least there is a funny loophole that ebay users can use to get around this strongarming.

    --

  • Gateway isn't more receptive now. While they sell a 'network appliance' that runs on Linux, they are still very, very, EXTREMELY unfreindly towards any mention of running Linux on a PC or server.

    While I was still working there they had been talking about allowing servers to be sold with Linux, but any time I talk to a salesperson I am told that servers are only sold with Win2K or NT 4. When I ask if it is possible to purchase without an OS (so I can install Linux myself) I am flat out told that they will not support pirating of Windows products. They will not even admit that it is possible to install anything other than Windows on a server. And don't even get me started on what their phone techs said when I told them I was running Linux on a gateway laptop. You would have thought I just told them I was fscking their mothers!

    "Until you install Windows on your computer, we cannot help you with your problem."

    Well, it's a little hard to do that when you can't get any video display (turned out to be a loose connection to the LCD).
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @09:30AM (#717119) Homepage Journal
    Hah! Something like this happened to a friend and I several years ago. We went to a store that built and sold their own brand of computers. This computer was for my friend. The salesman went down the checklist: harddrive, memory, modem, etc. Then he came to OS. We said we didn't need that, and he proceeded to list the benefits (and good ones at that) for having the store install the OS for us.

    "Great," my friend said. "I want OS/2."

    It's also interesting that you brought up partitioning. Even if the customer wants Win98/NT, they probably don't want one huge massive 16Gig primary partition.
  • by S1mon_Jester ( 223331 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:04AM (#717137)
    I recently bought a Compaq 5100 series machine that, of course, came with a legal copy of Microsoft Windows 98. I wiped the disk and installed Linux on it; it didn't work too well due to poor driver support, so I installed BeOS too. That was a little better, but not much.

    Then I decided I'd really be better off selling the machine, since it performed poorly with both Linux and BeOS - I had an interested buyer, even - so I booted the recovery CD to reinstall Windows.

    THE RECOVERY CD DID NOT CONTAIN A COPY OF WINDOWS. Instead, it contained references to a partition on my hard drive in which Windows was supposed to be hiding. Without this partition, no install.

    Technical support had to send me a real Windows CD!

    This I believe is the KEY! Order a system, wipe it and then call tech support DEMANDING you get your Win98 disk!

    I like this.

  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds h o m e.org> on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:10AM (#717143) Homepage
    Pushing towards forced selling (under which refusing to sell a machine without a system falls, and which is illegal in France)... That's naughty.

    Now all we need is to wait for MS to publish this on their French site and sue them :)

  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:11AM (#717150) Homepage
    So now Microsoft has finally gotten in on the presumption-of-guilt game? Notice in the article that they claim everyone buying a "naked PC" will just install a pirated copy of one operating system or another (with strong implications that it'll be Windows, of course).

    You know, someone really needs to find a way to put a stop to that kind of crap. It's unconstitutional for our legal system to presume someone guilty of a crime until proven innocent, so why should it be legal for corporations to do so?
    ----------
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:11AM (#717154)
    Seems more like selling a house without the furniture to me.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @09:02AM (#717166) Journal

    Ensign Kim I'm picking up something on sensors.

    Tuvok On Screen

    Janeway Oh no! It's the Kayzon! They've come to take our ad revenue.

    Tuvok It's only one ship. We may be able fight them off.

    Janeway What do you have in mind?

    Tuvok Ensign Kim, arm the quickies. Include that pornographic link that Belona installed yesterday.

    Janeway You may fire when ready.

    Tuvok Fire... Direct hit. No damage, but their shields are down to 50%.

    Janeway Evasive maneuver Intel-4!!!

    Tuvok It's no use. Captain, might I suggest...

    Janeway I know what your thinking, but I hate to do it.

    Tuvok Hate is illogical. It is our only course of action.

    Janeway Very well then. Arm the Microsoft article...

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:11AM (#717172)
    related note: I've noticed folks selling OEM copies of win98 and including a known broken hard drive as well to appease ebay/M$.

    it appears that the oem copy of win98 is 'only for distribution with a pc'. what is a pc, then? apparently its either a drive or a motherboard. so folks are selling broken/old motherboards and/or drives just to meet the 'license' requirement and to keep M$ from requesting (yeah, right) that ebay cancel their ad.

    anyone else feel that M$ has NO BUSINESS telling ebay what to cancel and what not to? if I was forced to buy a PC with the OEM version of win98 installed and I immediately overwrite it with linux and never use the shrinkwrapped win98 cd or license key, aren't I within my 'first sale' rights to resell that unused/unregistered copy?

    --

  • by hrieke ( 126185 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:12AM (#717183) Homepage
    I just love MS's third point:

    3. Point out the benefits of a legally licensed, preinstalled operating system. Customers have the original CD so they can reload the software. They also have a manual for everyday troubleshooting, and a Certificate of Authenticity that proves the software is legal. In short, protect your customer and your good name. Sell your PCs fully equipped with legally licensed operating systems preinstalled. Otherwise, who knows what you're leaving your customers--and yourself--open to?

    Didn't MS stop shipping system with CDs for the very same reason?

  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @09:04AM (#717184) Homepage
    Buying a computer without an OS is, for many (most?) customers, kinda useless.

    Yes, but if a customer specifically asks for it (which is what this ad is talking about), then why ask them lots of questions?


    As much as I hate to admit it, from a business standpoint, there are even a couple GOOD ideas. Warn customers that acquiring the PC "naked" and subsequently pirating the software is never a good option.

    Businesses tend to not want to be the enforcers/educators of the law, because that makes people think less of them. Think of the things you've bought that could be used in dangerous ways... do the vedors usually warn you not to do anything dangerous with them? No... you're a grown-up.

    If you specifically ask for a naked PC and don't sound like a clueless newbie, then why should they say anything?
    --

  • From Microsoft's page:

    3. Point out the benefits of a legally licensed, preinstalled operating system. Customers have the original CD so they can reload the software.

    Okay, now hold up a minute here. I recall a whole bunch of articles just a few months ago about how Microsoft was No Longer allowing major OEM's to ship Windows CD-ROMs[*] anymore. This was, as I recall, to help stop piracy.

    First OEM's are no longer allowed to ship Windows CD's, and now this is one of the benefits customers get when they buy a computer with a pre-installed Microsoft Operating System?

    Someone help me out here, I'm feeling confused. It doesn't quite make sense, there, does it? Is that not something of a contradiction? Perhaps I'm just not able to completely understand Microsoft's double talk, but this misinformation annoys me.

    [*] InfoWorld Article 1 [infoworld.com], Article 2 [infoworld.com], Slashdot Editorial [slashdot.org]

    --
    Toph

  • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @09:38AM (#717209) Homepage Journal
    stores that ask to see your bags or hold them etc are attempting what amounts to illegal search and seizure

    *sigh* When are people going to learn? The Bill of Rights [nara.gov] and similar documents restrict what the government can do, not private entities like people and corporations. Ever notice how the Bill of Rights uses the phrase "Congress shall make no law" a lot? That's right, it prevents Congress from passing laws. It does not say one damn thing about what I'm allowed to do to you.

    If I'm a store owner, I can make it a condition that, in order to enter my store -- which is my own property -- you have to submit yourself to search. You are in no way obligated to submit yourself to said search, but I am also in no way obligated to serve you. It's my store; I can tell you to get out if I want.

    (Now, you could make the case that, since you never signed a contract, I cannot hold you to the agreement, but you would have to bring it before a court of law claiming damages or something. Hardly worth the effort. Just go to another store.)
  • by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @11:00AM (#717245)
    Not so sure. OEM copies are illegal to distribute without a computer BUT it doesn't limit fair use. In other words the manufacturer of that Celeron in your example cannot distribute his relatively cheap license without a computer BUT you as the consumer can use it as you wish. Again one use at a time. Now MS and others may disagree since they want to shape license agreements in the most favorable light for MS. But fair use is not yet dead though the lobbiests stand above its body with sharpened knives.

    "Fair Use" applies only to copyright... because the software is "licensed" under original strict terms that you agreed with before you ever first used it, the concept of "fair use" is no longer applicable as you've already waived any rights you might have had under fair use doctrine.
  • by climer ( 94555 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:22AM (#717251)
    That's right, that oem copy of Win98 is legally valid only for the original pile of parts that it was purchased with. Even if you kept the same old "GeeWhiz 2000" case, with its serial number, because you installed a new "system" into it, it is now in the eyes of MS, the SPA, and whatever other gestapo,... a different "computer", and hence illegal upon which to install that oem copy of Windows that came with the original PC.

    Not so sure. OEM copies are illegal to distribute without a computer BUT it doesn't limit fair use. In other words the manufacturer of that Celeron in your example cannot distribute his relatively cheap license without a computer BUT you as the consumer can use it as you wish. Again one use at a time.

    Now MS and others may disagree since they want to shape license agreements in the most favorable light for MS. But fair use is not yet dead though the lobbiests stand above its body with sharpened knives.

    my $0.02,

    Duncan Watson
  • by MarNuke ( 34221 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @09:17AM (#717254) Homepage
    Me: HI! I would like to buy a computer

    Salesman: Ok, we sell all kinds of computers! What would you like?

    Me: I would like a AMB Athlon at 1ghz on an Abit KT7, with two 256 megs DIMM's, five 40 gig IBM drives, a DvD and a 48x CD-ROM, a voodoo 5500, a netgear 312tx, and a Sound Blaster Platnium 5.1 in I want it all it crammed into Enlight 7 bay server case.

    Sellman: Ok, that comes to $3,538.53.

    Me: But in your ad, the parts comes up to $2,986.98. With tax, that's 3,176.45. Where does the other come from?

    Sellman: Windows 2000

    Me: Hold on, did I say I want Windows?

    Sellman: Your PC will not work without an operating system. Preinstalling the operating system on the your new PC saves considerable time, expense and trouble. After all, my expertise is top notch. I install system software day in, day out, so there is little question I'm best equipped to do it well.

    Me: I want to run Debian.

    Sellman: That won't without windows. It's not a good idea to acquiring a PC "naked" and subsequently pirating the software. It's simple never a good option

    Me: Debian is NOT PIRATED SOFTWARE. Also Debian doesn't run in windows!! It's Linux.

    Sellman: Oh! Linux! We sell that. Here. (puts a Red Hat 7.0 box on the counter)

    Me: GOOD GOD MAN!! Are you crazy?

    Sellman: What? You ask for Linux. This is Linux.

    Me: THAT'S NOT LINUX!! That's some corprate trash riddle with bugs. I wouldn't run that if you paid me a million dollars. I quit jobs becuase I had to use that crap.

    Sellman: I thought you wanted to run Debian?

    Me: Debian is an os. It's Linux.

    Sellman: Hmmm, (looks arounds)

    Me: What are you doing?

    Sellman: Seeing how much Debian costs.

    Me: Debian is free!! You download it from the debian mirror site, I have my own, and apt-get updates by ftp.

    Sellman: I have to point of the benefits of a legally licensed, preinstalled operating system. You'll have the original CD and you can reload the software.

    Me: DEBIAN IS FREE AND I HATE CDS!!

    Sellman: If you buy this(points to RedHat 7.0 box) You'll have a manual for everyday troubleshooting, and a Certificate of Authenticity that proves the software is legal.

    Me: What? If I ever need to check something about Debian, I would do ,man command>, may I'll read the FAQ, and if all else fails ask a question in #debian!

    Sellman: I'm just trying to protect your and my good name. That's why I sell PCs fully equipped with legally licensed operating systems preinstalled. Otherwise, who knows what I'm levaing you and myself-open to.

    Me: Protect my good name? What's wrong with my name? Are you saying there is something wrong with me becuase I run debian?

    Sellman: You said you downloaded it from the internet. It's ether pirated or shitware.

    Me: Debian is the best damn Linux distro on this green Earth!! Look, I'll forget that you're a moron, just sell me the system, I'll walk out of here and I'll never ask you another question.

    Sellman: I can't, I have to sell you an OS.

    Me: Forget it, I'll buy the parts online.

  • by Ralph Bearpark ( 2819 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:15AM (#717259) Homepage
    We've already heard that OEMs are no longer allowed [slashdot.org] to ship the Windows CDROM with a PC and yet on this page MS claims the benefit of a non-Naked PC is that : Customers have the original CD so they can reload the software!

    The incredible cheek of these people!

    Regards, Ralph.

  • by Paul Neubauer ( 86753 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @09:45AM (#717260)
    The thing is, those who want a 'naked' PC plan on isntalling their own choice of operating system. Why ask for a naked PC? Since then they aren't relying on the dealer/oem to install one they don't want and certainly don't want to pay for.

    In the current consumer market it may make sense to use WinMe or Win2000 as the default -- for those who *want* Windows. If someone doesn't want Windows, why make them pay for it? Thus the request for a 'naked' PC. Won't/Can't sell a 'naked' PC? Fine, put any free OS (Linux, BSD, even FreeDOS, etc.) on it and it isn't naked.. and the customer can keep the OS or wipe it and not be out the "Windows tax." Microsoft should be free to make money -- providing they make it *honestly*. If a customer wants Windows, sell it to him or her. If not, don't go mugging him and forcing him to pay for Windows anyway. 'tain't ethical.

    It's a matter of not screwing the customer. I don't agree that *all* machines should run Linux. For many, that'd be a problem. But do let the customer have a choice. What happened to "the customer is always right"? A seller may *advise* a customer -- but should not dictate.

    Think the customer is wrong? Suggest, but don't dictate. The customer is free to be wrong. And some value that freedom more than being forced to be someone else's version of "right."
  • by David E. Smith ( 4570 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:16AM (#717281)
    Granted, this page is hosted on microsoft.com, but it doesn't explicitly say anything nearly as bad as what the /. article implies.

    (Yeah, this piece of stunning MS prose implies a whole lot, but that's a different piece of cake altogether.

    From an OEM standpoint, this makes sense (though any OEM or retailer that doesn't already know this stuff shouldn't be in the business). Buying a computer without an OS is, for many (most?) customers, kinda useless. Then again, any biz worthy of the name should know about Linux and BeOS and *BSD and all those other toys anyway.

    As much as I hate to admit it, from a business standpoint, there are even a couple GOOD ideas.

    Warn customers that acquiring the PC "naked" and subsequently pirating the software is never a good option. Explain the risks: technical troubles, upgrade problems, viruses and the law.
    Sound practice, that. If the customer says, "No, I'm not pirating anything, I'm putting Linux on that machine," the retailer has done their part. They've done just about everything they can legally do, short of refusing the sale. And if they won't sell you a so-called naked PC, the guy down the street probably will...

    (The whole discussion of whether it's a retailer's job to act as unpaid agents for the anti-piracy faction is better left elsewhere.)

  • I couldn't resist making a slight change to their text. Read on:

    SELL YOUR CUSTOMER A SOLUTION, NOT A PROBLEM?
    Your customers depend on you. Trouble is, if you act on your customers' willingness to buy Windows PCs--knowing full well they are at risk of acquiring free operating systems elsewhere--you expose them to legal risks, viruses, and frustrating technical troubles. Hardly the stuff of great business relationships, particularly when they come back to you for help. And even if your customer manages to acquire and install free operating systems elsewhere, it still costs them far more time and money than they bargained for. No matter how you look at them, Windows PCs are bad for your customers. Which means they are also bad for you.

    Hmm....sounds good to me. :-)

    cya

    Ethelred

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:17AM (#717292) Homepage

    Frankly I find Microsoft's suggestions as to what salespeople should point out to me as a customer anywhere from insulting to... well, horribly insulting. My likely responses to said salesman:

    1. I know the system needs an OS. If I wanted you to supply said OS I would ask for it. If I do not, then presumably I intend to supply it myself, perhaps from the OS media for the last PC I bought and am now replacing.
    2. I'm sorry, were you suggesting I am a criminal? Starting off by insulting me like that is not the way to build a business relationship. Sorry, I'll take my business to someone with a better grasp of manners.
    3. You're the best-qualified? OK, which versions of OS/2 do you have available? How about FreeBSD? Oh, you've no idea what those are, do you. Then how are you qualified to install them?
  • by GypC ( 7592 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:17AM (#717295) Homepage Journal

    Because we don't want to pay for it if we won't use it... is that not a good enough reason? Or should we just tax the entire population of Earth for the cost of one license each since we are all "potential users."

    "Free your mind and your ass will follow"

  • by 11390036 ( 158863 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @11:08AM (#717299)
    I was just poking through the Microsoft OEM System Builder Web Site [microsoft.com] (the sub-site that this article was published).

    They have a hilarious liscense agreement [microsoft.com]! While it is just a sample, I have no doubt a real one looks suspiciously similar.

    ...
    1.3 MS grants COMPANY a non-exclusive right to distribute one complete unit of the enclosed MS product(s) ("Product(s)") inside COMPANY's Computer Hardware package.
    Like someone would go through and cut all of the restore/companion cds? COMPANY shall neither advertise nor price the Product separately from the Computer Hardware. Basically, if you sell Microsoft software, you can't sell product without including Microsoft's provided software! Who is dumb enough to consent to something like this!?!? Individual Product(s) and Product packaging may not be modified, repackaged, or reassembled.
    ...
    2. PREINSTALLATION REQUIREMENT
    If the Product is distributed with an assembled computer system, COMPANY shall preinstall one (1) copy of Product software. COMPANY shall comply
    Comply? A company is better off sending one of their represenatives over to Bill Gates' place and takin' it up the a**. with the preinstallation instructions, if any, provided with the Product or made available separately through the Microsoft OEM System Builder Program ("Preinstallation Instructions"). COMPANY shall not distribute the unit of Product used to perform preinstallations and shall not distribute the Preinstallation Instructions to end users. Uh, Oh... Microsoft, are you covering something up here?? - Why would something this illogical be in this contract otherwise?? Well, I guess that this could serve as a 'protection' against pirating operations. Nonetheless, the wording makes them sound really sneaky.

    3. COMPANY PROVIDES END USER PRODUCT SUPPORT COMPANY shall provide end user support service for the Product. COMPANY's support service to the end user shall be at least as favorable as the terms under which COMPANY provides end user support for the Computer Hardware. COMPANY's shall place it's support phone number conspicuously
    Like someone is going to make it so small its unreadable? Microsoft needs to be held more accountable for producing such shitty software!! I bet if they didn't have this barrier between the end user and them, they would constantly be swamped with this liability! in Computer Hardware documentation.
    ...


    In conclusion, I couldn't imagine trying to run a business around this contract!

  • by jejones ( 115979 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:28AM (#717305) Journal
    If I remember rightly, Microsoft came down on some charitable organization that was donating computer hardware to churches, libraries, and non-profit organizations, under the presumption that they had to be pirating Windows.

    I would think that would make for good publicity for people to assist them by making a point of wiping whatever MS software was on the machines and installing Linux or BSD along with Open Source apps before they go out to the churches, libraries, etc.

  • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @11:19AM (#717344)
    It's also interesting that you brought up partitioning. Even if the customer wants Win98/NT, they probably don't want one huge massive 16Gig primary partition.
    A bit offtopic, but recently Toshiba refused to work on my broken laptop because I had the hard drive split into two partitions. Apparently, one disgustingly large partition covering the whole hard drive is not only the way all users like to have their system; it's also vitally important to the correct functioning of your computer's power supply.
  • by fireproof ( 6438 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:19AM (#717346) Homepage
    I'm not sure what's worse -- the idea that anybody buying a PC with no OS will be pirating Windows, or the fact that the whole page implies that it's the dealer's responsibility to install an OS on the PC so that the buyer won't be tempted to break the law and pirate software.

    Dealer: "Sir, this computer comes pre-installed with Windows, as well as every other software package known to man!"
    Consumer: "Buy I don't want or need all of that! I'll never use it all"
    Dealer: "Well, it's my responsibility to make sure you don't pirate the software by selling you a computer with it all preinstalled! It's my moral duty!"

    ----
    "A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind."

  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:19AM (#717351) Homepage Journal
    I can't find the link to ESR's article from Linux Journal about the fact that Microshaft makes alot of their money by playing games with their own stock this combined with Neal Stephenson's thoughts on the importance of mindshare to M$ in ITBTWTCL makes it obvious they *have* to maintain the illusion in the average Joe's mind that Winders is *the* OS. If it ever becomes clear to users that winders is not a fundamental part of the computer in the same way the mobo is there will be a mass revolt and people will start to understand that they do in fact have choices and this will be very bad for M$.
  • Having worked at Gateway for two years I will tell you what I tell anyone I know that is interesting in purchasing a computer:

    Stay the hell away from Gateway! Having been on the inside I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how the hell they stay in business. They destroyed their service department (they didn't want educated technicians, so they took away the 'service' part of it and made it a bunch of crappy tests on an assembly line look alike. Pass the tests and there must not be anything 'really' wrong with your computer). They litterally go out of their way to get the most clueless morons they can find on the phones with customers. Plus, they pretty much piss off the few good employees they have by telling them that whatever computer experience and/or education they have doesn't matter, they aren't worth more than just above minimum wage because they are going to be assigned to a 'push the fscking button' type of job anyway.

    If you want a computer, stay away from Gateway. Unless you really enjoy dealing with clueless idiots all the time. Of course, you're reading slashdot, so that could be the case.
  • by GeneralEmergency ( 240687 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:20AM (#717361) Journal
    Goto:

    https://oempub.microsoft.com/scripts/oemapps/tools /feedback/feedback.asp

    and post your disgust. I did.

    Please take down the following page:

    http://www.microsoft.com/oem/nakedPC.htm

    It is fundamentally misleading and therefore immoral. Have you guys been awake at all during the last 4 years and especially during your anti-trust trial?

    Don't you remember during the trial how you whined about Linux being such significant competition? Linux is free. FREE TO LOAD ON NAKED PCs!

    Quit acting like obnoxious bullies and start behaving like decent Americans.

    I've been a Microsoft Supporter and Customer for years but you're REALLY starting to piss me off.

    Alan


    "A microprocessor... is a terrible thing to waste." --

  • by Vicegrip ( 82853 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @12:29PM (#717370) Journal
    The irony is amazing... after regurgitating for months(years?) to the media they are not a monopoly, they have the odacity to make the claim that customers buying naked PCs must by necessity install pirated versions Windows, implicitly making the claim that there are no other options.

    What more damning evidence could their be as to the outrageous lies spewing out of Redmond?
  • by Another MacHack ( 32639 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @12:31PM (#717374)
    I never agreed to any license terms; I received the software in exchange for money, fixing the terms of the contract at that point. If they want to ammend the contract at a later point, they can do so by offering me valid consideration in exchange for terms, and getting my explicit agreement.
  • by Ron Harwood ( 136613 ) <harwoodr@@@linux...ca> on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:20AM (#717383) Homepage Journal
    ...that we're not even talking about free software as an alternative for a second...

    If I own a valid copy of windows9X - and my old machine is kaput. (Lightning strike took it out, let's say...)

    I should have to buy another license of windows??? Did it get fried by the lightning strike too?

    What if I just wanted to replace my old clone system - and I just want the box... I shouldn't have to pay for another license - that's insane.

    The whole argument is garbage.
  • by Nick Driver ( 238034 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:42AM (#717385)
    So, at what 'legal' point are you no longer running the orignal PC, but a new PC? If you just upgrade the CPU, is it still the same PC? How about the MB, the HD? If these occur in steps months apart? When is it a new PC? I had a PC that over 4 years, upgraded and transformed dozens of times. Came to a point that the floppy drive was the only truely orignal component. But, I still considered it the same PC, especially since the parts never became a single 2nd computer, but migrated in chunks to various other computers.

    You bought the copy, you get to run it on ONE computer.


    According to the suit-wearing thugs armed with briefcases where I work(lawyers) the original machine pretty much legally ceases to exist after substituting in a motherboard that "substantially differs" from the original in either performance or features, and they claim to have supporting case law decisions on hand to back up that assertion. Curiously though, the HD is still considered an "upgrade", no matter how big it is... maybe the legal world is starting to get a clue about computer technology...And to rebut your last comment, no, when you have an OEM copy of an MS software, you don't get to freely run it on any *one* computer that you may own... you only get to run it upon the *original* computer upon which it came installed. Whether or not you consider it to be the same computer is irrelevant: MS has dictated otherwise, and it's their license and their software (even though you may be in personal posession of a copy), not yours. All the more reason to move totally towards free open source operating system and application software ;-)
  • by banky ( 9941 ) <.gregg. .at. .neurobashing.com.> on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:20AM (#717388) Homepage Journal
    My last machine was purchased from a small local shop. I went in with my little list, and they looked over it. When he got to "No OS - and I won't buy here if there is a charge for the OS anyway" he looked at me and said "Linux user, huh. Want to use our T1 to burn an ISO?" and offered some nominal charge (talkin Cheapbytes cost, here). I was puzzled - does this happen often? The answer is yes, with the qualifier that its due to his close proximity to a college, and lots of people want Linux boxes to run small servers on, do CS homework, etc. He also showed me the huge pile of Windows CDs that he apparently can't move, legally, because of the way the licensing agreements work, when people buy "naked" machines.

    But anyway, isn't it odd that they say a PC without an OS is like a house without a roof, but they charge for it? What I mean is, when I build a house, the roof is built into the cost (like the Windows "tax"). But they also sell roofs stand-alone at Best Buy, and make builders buy N roofs at a time, even if they aren't slated to build N houses. Doesn't make sense to me: the guy in the above bit doesn't want to deal with all this stuff. He wants to sell computers. That's all he cares about. Since you go to him to get things custom-built, he lets you put your own roof on, since its your house.
  • by ronfar ( 52216 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:43AM (#717389) Journal
    Ok, a few years back I bought a monorail PC which came with one of those "restore factory install only" disks. The computer was a Monorail. After messing around with the computer a lot, I found out from the company how to get it to reinstall my factory Win95 on a blank, partitioned hard drive. Basically, it was very simple, but if you didn't know it, it was a killer. When you booted from the CD-ROM and got into recovery mode, the disk would run a program to re-install Windows on a partition called MONORAIL. If you were starting with a blank hard drive, of course, the disk would crash when it tried to find the non-existent MONORAIL partition. (If you knew about this gimmick, though, you could create your own MONORAIL partition, and everything would be peachy-keen.)

    My suggestion to anyone with one of those crummy OEM copies of Win is to try the this technique when you go to reinstall Win from the recovery disk. I mean, how many different ways are there to screw the customer that don't require something really fancy? I'll bet dollars to donuts that other Win95/98 PC manufacturers use this technique (that a pre-existing, correctly named partition must be on the hard drive) to appease Sauron and his Nazguls.

    Of course, one day we will have to eliminate Windows from Linux PCs altogether.

    Unfortunately, that day isn't here yet. Its coming soon, though.

  • by scotch ( 102596 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @08:21AM (#717394) Homepage
    That's legal, right?

    This is a very good question. I've certainly done that in the past. I've had the need for a windows machine a couple time over the past serveral years, and in those cases, I used an extremely old copy of windows 3 that came with an old 486 that has since been retired and an "upgrade" version of windows that I bought to install on hardware I bought naked.

    Of course, the last 4 machines I've bought have been naked, though in every case I've installed linux and/or *bsd* on them. If I had a need for a windows machine now, I would just use that old upgrade version of windows 98 and those win3.1 floppies to to do the reinstall. If the floppies were corrupt, I would even consider pirating a copy, not because I think pirating is right, but because since I am the legal owner of 1 copy of windows 98 (as well as windows 3.1 and windows 1.0).

    Of course, MS would rather have you purchase a new copy of their alleged-OS every time you get a new computer, or better still, everytime you upgrade any hardware in an existing system. With the state of licensing laws being what they are, I would not be surprised if moving software from one machine to another might be legally forbidden by shrink-wrap licenses.

    They can make it illegal, but they can't make it wrong

  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @11:33AM (#717402)

    Valid point if you don't understand copyright or the GPL, which many(most) people don't. I'm no GPL scholar either, but from what I do understand, the GPL does not restrict your usual first-sale or fair use rights at all. When you get a piece of GPL'd software, you have a choice. You can either accept the GPL license and have the right to distribute modified versions of the software, provided that you make the modified source code available as well, or you can reject the GPL license and simply use the software within the bounds of normal copyright law. That means you can't distribute copies at all. That's one of the major difference between the GPL and Microsoft's EULA. With the GPL, you can use the software whether you accept the license or not. With the MS EULA, they try to take away every right you have and then pile on every restriction they can think of.

  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:44AM (#717405) Homepage
    One link away is this page [microsoft.com], detailing illegal ways OEMs may be pirating windows. An excerpt for your pleasure:

    Hard Disk Loading
    The second form of piracy affecting the system builder is generally referred to as "hard disk loading". Under this practice a system builder will illegally pre-load a copy of the software onto the computer prior to sale. In this case the system builder makes a deliberate decision to load illegal software onto the computers he sells, usually as an incentive for the end user to purchase from him. In most cases, he doesn't even bother supplying any media, license agreement, a manual or documentation. Hard disk loading is particularly prevalent in less developed markets where there is no end user expectation of such "extras", or indeed a full understanding of software being a separate concept to hardware."


    Isn't Microsoft's primary objective to eliminate any understanding that software is a separate concept than hardware? Here they make it sound like preloading an OS is a bad thing, but if you take out the word "illegal" from the above quote, their statements are arguments against preloading Windows at all, pirated or not!

    F....U....D!

    Kevin Fox
  • by John_Prophet ( 78703 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2000 @10:45AM (#717406) Homepage
    Things like illegal search and seizure and free speech protect you from the government, NOT from private citizens. Corporations are considered to be private citizens

    See what the US Code says about this question:
    "...We are of the opinion that there is a clear distinction in this particular between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for examination on the suit of the State. The individual may stand upon his Constitutional Rights as a Citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no duty to the State or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to investigation, so far as it may tend to incriminate him. He owes no such duty to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life, liberty, and property. His Rights are such as the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the state, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his Rights are the refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under warrant of law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights."

    "Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the state. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the state and the limitations of its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation. There is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find out whether it has exceeded its powers. It would be a strange anomaly to hold that the State, having chartered a corporation to make use of certain franchises, could not in exercise of its sovereignty inquire how those franchises had been employed, and whether they had been abused, and demand the production of corporate books and papers for that purpose." [emphasis added]

    --Hale vs. Hinkel, 201 US 43, 74-75.

    The above was taken from this page [cmu.edu] which also has lots of interesting legal briefs & correspondence between private citizens and the US Gov't.

    Basically, it says that a corporation is a private citizen in some respects, but is also legally a PART OF THE GOVERNMENT. I wonder if this means that illegal search & seizure laws would apply if Walmart employees attempted to search you without your consent? (since the corporation is legally a government entity....)
    -The Reverend (I am not a Nazi nor a Troll)

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