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German Company Will Take Windows Off Your Hands 108

Felix writes: "The German computer magazine c't writes that the German PC manufacturer Waibel now buys your used Windows licenses for around $30-$40 to sell the them bundled with their PCs. The highest German court, the BGH, declared this as being legal in its "OEM decision," so Microsoft can do nothing about it...." I obtained a reasonable translation using the Systrans translation engine over at Imagine -- a market where the end-user hasn't duly accepted a shrink-wrap license which robs him of all further transfer rights. Sounds like a more robust market to me.
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German Company Will Take Windows Off Your Hands

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's worse is this: we're trying to use the Win2000 that comes with our Dell on the very same machine running VMware ... guess what, same story :) However, since this is physically the same machine, Dell is in a worse position now since it is something they are doing that prevents legitimate use of the software they sold to us. I really am going to have to push this issue with them next week.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    IIRC the court's decision covered only OEM software that is not technically tied to the hardware. So Microsoft can easily circumvent this by selling recovery-only versions.

    Microsoft has also already changed their licensing here in germany, they are now selling DSP versions directly (no support), full versions (with what they call "support") and OEM recovery-only versions (for hardware vendors).

    Basically what this means is it applies to old versions of Windows only.

    While the court might in theory decide that it is illegal for Microsoft to sell recovery-only versions, this is highly unlikely to happen. As long as you don't fool the customer (i.e. you have to say it's recovery-only), you can sell whatever you like, after all. And even if the vendor doesn't say it's recovery-only, it's the vendor's fault, not Microsoft's.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is great. Actually there is a 9th district circuit court ruling that allows the same thing in the USA. They ruled that once a manufacture vends a product, the manufacture cannot control the sale of that product. This means that you can resell your OEM or Academic software to any one with or without a PC. Unfortunately for me, MS called their wolves at Preston, Gates (yes its his dad's firm) & Ellis and had them ruin me using other methods. (Federal Court is a very expensive play to play) My old site was forced to close and I had to fire 7 people. They won this one, but hopefully karma has a way and coming up and biting them in the ass.
  • Actually, IBM's high-end laptops have the 1400x1050 screen, although they're more expensive.

  • Windows 95 is still a pretty decent consumer-level OS: unless you're going up to Win2k there's no real reason to upgrade beyond service packs (e.g. 98 & ME suck ass, NT sucks at multimedia).

    Uhh, I don't think so. Windows 95 won't even install on lots of newer hardware (try getting it to support some of the newer AMD motherboards), and it doesn't do USB. Obtroll: Perhaps in the Linux world not having USB support is the norm, but some of us demand better. =P
  • Of course they behave as if they were selling something. If they were actually licensing something under German law, there would be a continous liability of the licenser to the licensee. This is a situation where Microsoft would not like to find itself in, given their quality of code.
    © Copyright 2000 Kristian Köhntopp []
    All rights reserved.
  • MS doesn't dare do that in Germany. Germany was always a renegade market.
    We used DR-DOS instead of MS-Dos, OS/2 was (for a short time) more poular than MS Win95 in Germany and would still be be comon had not IBM dropped it's plans.

    And at the moment Linux is so rapidly gaining popularity here, that MS fears extra inconvenience will cost them more mareketshare. Better an illegeal copy of Windows than Linux.

    No dongles and bios dependencies in Germany my friends :-)
  • I wonder if they've considered an edition in English.
  • Oh come on! It is well known here that Scott McNealy would be as bad, and probably far worse, than Bill Gates if he had managed to get into his position (and they tried, they tried so hard they scared all the other Unix companies into forming OSF, and spending all their energies fighting Sun rather than coming up with real new stuff, hmm kind of similar to what everybody is doing now).

    Beloved Sun, indeed. You obviously don't read the text here. Even Linux zealots are mad that Sun seems to be spurning them! You don't even seem to be reading the extremest attitudes here!

  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:38AM (#494110) Homepage
    from The Register:

    1. Disconnect from any network.
    2. Start the install, but don't use dynamic update (which wants to connect, right?)
    3. After installation and on first boot, don't set up your Internet connection when it asks. Click next or skip - the wizard will crash when you click next. ;)
    4. Click Start/Run and type:
    regsrv32.exe -u regwizc.dll
    Close the confirmation window that appears.
    5. Start/run: regedit
    6. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Cu rrentVersion change RegDone value to 1
    7. Open up Internet Explorer. Open the Tools/Internet Properties and change your home page to something that isn't Microsoft or MSN.
    8. Reboot and before windows starts up, plug your network connection back in.


  • The effort your are talking about was in Australia with different law covering licenses. The issue here is that German law specifically allow transfer of licenses regardless of the "text" under which it is granted. In this case MS.
  • The 5000, which was on sale in 1999 when I was shopping for a laptop, has a max resolution of 1400x1050. Your 5000e is a more recent laptop. The two differ in other ways too, most notably size and heft. The old 5000 was 2.5" thick and nearly 10 lbs in weight, whereas the 5000e is more like 1.5" and 6 or 7 lbs. That size kept me away from the 5000, and I bought the 3700. I really like it, but when replacement time comes, the 5000e or its successor, is more likely what I'll get.

  • Isent Microsoft Tieing lisences to the computer hardware it's self in it's next OS release?
  • I know this might not be cost-effective but hey!, when you can fight unreasonable licensing practices it might be worth it:
    Take your 'puter with M$ sticker to a public notary and have a certified copy made before destroying the original sticker.....
  • Too bad the patch is only available for Windows 95B, and I had Windows 95A.

    Fortunately, it would boot every 1 out of 3 times, roughly.
  • There are a lot of ways around that. One is they can charge a higher price. If that's illegal, then all they have to do is have a standard price that is way too expensive, then offer discounts for various reasons.
  • They have multiple editions, I know of a Dutch edition. But even though Dutch is my native language, I read the German version as it is more up to date and has more content.
  • I agree that c't has indeed a strong "followership" here, but hey, they have well earned it. In all the years I read c't (10+ years) I had never any reason not to trust them. Their style of writing and layout/design is serious and pleasing and their editors are the best in their field (i.e I think it is safe to say that no other journalist in Germany and maybe in Europe knows as much about x86-processors as Andreas Stiller).

    The war is run by Waibel, who are very bad loosers. In open tests where they send in preconfigured special press systems they usually get very good reviews which may lead them to think all their systems live up to that promise. Sadly, this is not the case, like in all this open tests.

    In practise, their systems far to often fail miserably, their customer service and support is terrible and so on. AFAIK c't is the only magazine that do this secret testing in germany (it's quite expensive if you have to buy 15 computers a 1500$) and so they are the only one that actual report about real live with a Waibel system.

    But, funny side note, c't or better the above mentioned Andreas Stiller is fighting a private war - against Intel. Okay, sort of. He is "fighting" the terrible and nowadays totally useless A20 gate which Intel (and AMD, I think) happily integrates into every new processor they build :)

  • by Star_Gazer ( 25473 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:14AM (#494119)

    The story has an interesting background. c't [] did an anonymous buy test where Waibel [] sold an apparently illegal Windows license to the test buyer. Now it seems to be the case that M$ refuses to sell any legal licenses to Waibel (at least they have some serious disagreements), so Waibel is looking for ways to get some Win-Licenses to sell together with there computers.

    But this company has an incredible ability to interprete every bad report about them or every law/license infringement with which they get caught as an private little war of c't-magazine against the company.

    Its quite ridicoulous.

  • M$ won't let you resell a retail version off thier product
    and I can prove it
    Post a unopened version of a M$ product on ebay
    and see how long it takes before your auction gets
    you will get a e-mail real fast
    believe me Iv'e done it and I know others who have tried

  • The regsrv/regedit hack noted above will probably work. Microsoft will make a half-assed effort to protest against that information being spread. It all boils down to a post [can't remember who] sent in a week ago: Does MS want pirated copies of Whistler or free copies of Linux? Also, don't forget this: System Properties > Advanced > Error Reporting > Disable Error Reporting. Those reports will go directly to MS. There isn't any privacy-infringing info sent, honest. No really. Trust MS. Win2000 is the only MS OS I would recommend to anyone. I almost wanted the above mentioned hack to not get out, so that people would use Win2000 or Linux instead, and let Whistler die on the desktop vine. Windows 2000 was the best of Win98 and NT4, Whistler is Win2000 with all the cruft of WinMill. I don't even want to see Blackcomb. This is not my house! This is not my beautiful OS! Where is my large automobile?!
  • Can I sell them my Toshiba laptop MS-Windows license, or are they only interested in a more generic version? (Yes, mine was never used -- I unpacked the new laptop and loaded Linux on it)
  • Thanks, that's exactly what I couldn't find on their pages ;-) And I did search for a while...
  • by harmonica ( 29841 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:48AM (#494124)
    That's one reason less to use something different than Windows. It might decrease Microsoft's income a bit, but how about Waibel offering all kinds of operating systems with their system? Microsoft certainly doesn't like Waibel too much for that move, so are there any obstacles in offerings various other operating systems with their hardware?
  • So, slashdot is only for yankies in the end?
    Wasn't it for the free software community?
  • Waibel are a company that seemingly had a special relationship with Ziff-Davies (sp?) - they advertised a lot with ZD and always got ecstatic product reviews. The ZD Magazine 'PC Direkt' took this a very long way, no issue was complete with out a review of Waibel's latest offering to humanity.

    C't are very independent and recently did a comparison of around 15 PCs from a number of mail-order firms. Dell came out as the least worst, Waibel were apparently selling pirated copies on Win98 with their poorly built PCs. This is not the first time that C't have caught a company doing this. None of the reviews was favourable, although I thought myself that their criteria were a bit harsh in some respects.

    C't did not single Waibel out, Gateway (for instance) also received an awful review.

    My personal experience: Three of my friends have bought PCs from Gateway, most recently in November. All were very happy.
    One guy at work bought a PC from Waibel, it has a proprietary Motherboard which means he can't get BIOS updates, and the original documentation was poorly photocopied and incomplete.

    Guess which company I do not recommend.
    Your mileage may vary.
  • You've fallen for the classic Big Company tactic: they do something, and you assume the law is on their side.

    The other variation is they telll you something and you assume that the law is on their side. e.g. Software licence agreements which give a long list of things you can't do (maybe even stating something to the effect that some clauses may not apply in some jurisdictions). Knowing full well that most people are unlikely to check which clauses (if any) are valid.
  • Maybe not my post :)

    But the new MS proof of authenticity stuff are stickers. The OEMs are supposed to stick them to the case before selling the machines.

    Brian Macy
  • You only get those cheap licenses if MS likes you. It's obvious this company had a spat with MS. For all you know MS is selling it to them for $500.00 a piece.

    Ms charges according to how "loyal" you are to them. If they don't like you you get screwed. Just ask gateway.
  • Well they can buy OEM licenses from wholesalers, you don't HAVE to buy them directly from MS (might be a tad cheaper though).

    Also I think in most European countries it is illegal to refuse sale of a product or service based on subjective appreciation (you can refuse the sale if the buyer doesn't have a good credit rating and doesn't pay cash for example, but you can't refuse because you don't like him).
  • Well two answers :
    1) Linux is not offered as an option where I live (it was either that or Millenium, and Millenium is the worst piece of crap MS ever made)
    2) I wanted one of those gorgeous new SXGA flat screens (and trust me, they are really the best screens I ever used), and only Dell offer them right know. Working in 1400x1050 on a screen that has no flicker at all, bright and nice colors and razor sharp pixels is a really neat thing :)
  • Well the CD itself is not a restauration CD but a gull Windows 2000 (with SP1) installation disc. Doesn't has any drivers specific to Dell hardware or doesn't carry any Dell branding. Doesn't sound exactly like a "restauration" CD (which should have OS, drivers and basic Dell apps all installed on a disc image)
  • by Betcour ( 50623 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:06AM (#494133)
    Because my new Dell laptop came with a Windows 2000 CD. As I planned on using another OS on it I wanted to give it away to a friend.

    Turned out :
    - the CD won't run on a compter manufactered by someone else than Dell (I think it checks something in the BIOS)
    - the licence number is a sticker... stuck on the underside of the laptop itself !

    So I just paid for a legal Windows 2000 copy, yet I can't even use it on the computer I want. I wonder how Dell customers who buy desktop computers will like it when they change their motherboards (and therefor, the BIOS in it won't be Dell branded anymore). If this isn't a blatant attempt to rip off customers, then what is it ?
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:40AM (#494134) Homepage
    An interesting German ruling, and the consequent market response.

    M$ has insisted long and hard in US Courts that it is _licencing_ it's products thru shrinkwraps hidden inside. For OEMs and big corps, it sure does get signed licence agreements. But at retail, it behaves as if it were simply selling copyrighted works (books, music, videos).

    M$ doesn't do even simple practical things like have purchasers call for a key, insist on registration, or tear-off registration to protect their licencing status. Apparently their marketing department has vetoed these things as expensive or frightening to customers.

    So why should the Courts grant them licencing status when M$ has not done what they could for that status?

  • This is a great idea. I won a Compaq notebook from Mandrake at Linux World in San Jose. When I got the notebook it had Mandrake installed, of course, which was just fine with me. But, in the box was a Windows 2000 license and CD they had to buy with the system. I'm sure they just loved that.

    Thanks Mandrake!
  • Because if I bring my Windows95 CD to a friend's computer and install it, that's illegal because he doesn't have a license for it (unless he just doesn't have install media because his OEM didn't provide it, in which case it is legal).

    Conversely, if I have 100 licenses for Office2000 and one CD, I can install it 100 times legally. Either way, the license is independent of the media (though it may be illegal for one to retain a copy of the media after selling the license).

  • But they're not buying the CDs themselves, they're buying the licenses. And a license to run Windows on one PC should be independent of the installation media, so they can still buy licenses from folks who bought a PC with OEM Windoze, a restore disk, and installed Linux (or *BSD or Be or that OS my friend wrote in his spare time a few years ago or whatever).

  • I wonder how Dell customers who buy desktop computers will like it when they change their motherboards (and therefor, the BIOS in it won't be Dell branded anymore). If this isn't a blatant attempt to rip off customers, then what is it ?

    Have you ever tried to upgrade the motherboard in a Dell? You can't use their power supply on another motherboard (or vise versa) - even though the PS will plug into another MoBo, it is wired completely different, and the connectors for power, reset and LEDs are proprietary, so you'll have to solder your own to the little circuit board the switches and LEDs are on.

    They've made it so it's not worth the trouble to upgrade; they want you to buy a new Dell. Or likewise, if the PS goes and you need a new one, you can't pick up a cheap ATX PS, you have to get it from them.
  • Why is that illegal? I've never seen a law that stated one had to register software they purchased. I almost never register my software.

    I look at registering software like sending in the warrantee cards that come with electronic products. I'll do it if it seems that there is some benefit to me (i.e. notifications of updates not otherwise available on the web, etc.). Otherwise it seems that it's just a ploy so companies can keep huge databases full of buying habits or so they can put you on mailing lists.
  • by amnesty ( 69314 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:22AM (#494140) Homepage

    Doesn't the license bascially determine who can use the software? So I don't see why it would be illegal to change ownership of software anymore than selling your old books in a garage sale.

    I guess the Microsoft worry is that you sell the license without deleting the software on your computer. But I still think its criminal to lock an operating system to a specific PC which is what Microsoft plans to do so that there is no option to delete and install on someone elses computer.

  • On what is your opinion based, the the c't magazine is one-sided?

    Hopefully, not on reading only on the news (not even full articles) mentioned on slashdot.
  • Is there a link on Hesari or somewhere wlse, about this? I also would like to get an update on the decision of the Supreme Court.

    Too bad my finnish is (still) pathetic. Luckily most finns speak english flawlessly.

  • Kiitos! Heck, 370.000 FIM, that would kill our family budget thrice! It's not like the guy walked away unpunished.... jeez!

  • So don't buy a Dell computer. Build your own.
  • The anti-trust suit was brought by the DOJ, which is funded diretly out of all of our taxes.

    Eactly how do you think Sun is funding it? Outside of paying a reasonably large amoutn of coporate taxes due to their excellent sales, I see no link.

  • Do you think they'd buy my pirated copy of windows off me, or maybe my pirated copy of office 2000, or maybe even my warezed copy of photoshop (by adobe ya, but i can hope no?).

    That would be neat.
  • About july of last year or so I am pretty sure the govt backed up microsoft in saying that the OEM licences only allow you to use windows from that particular OEM distribution. A number of businesses were hurt farily badly when they were forced to buy 2 licences for all thier machines when they wanted to wipe out the pre-installed windows and install windows from the corporate subcription cd.

    It basically comes down to the fact that the licence allows you to use the distribution of windows that it was bundled with and no others. For instance, having an upgrade version of windows doesn't give you licence to install from the full version cd's.

    It sux but thats the way it works. I guess you get what you pay for though, if you want the full, real, use it anywhere as long as its only on one computer at a time licence then you pay full price for the licence. If you grab a major discount on the cost then you lose some of the rights with that.

  • Use a Unix based machine an unzip them (prevents that zip password crap).

    Or, if your machine for some reason can't run Linux or a BSD, you can download a DOS version of the same unzipper (Info-ZIP UnZip []) that is distributed with most Linux distros, and run it on FreeDOS [].

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • I wanted one of those gorgeous new SXGA flat screens (and trust me, they are really the best screens I ever used), and only Dell offer them right know. Working in 1400x1050

    Ever try an Apple Cinema Display []?

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • You only really need an OS when it's your first computer.

    Or if your old OS doesn't support your new hardware. Windows 95A does not support USB or large disks.

    After that it should be like any other periferal device that you swap to the new machine.

    For instance, I can't swap ISA cards into my new machine because it doesn't have any ISA slots. I can't swap my old non-USB joysticks into my new machine because my PCI sound card doesn't have a game port. And I can't swap old versions of DOS into my new machine because DOS can't handle hard disks bigger than 8 gigabytes.

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:18AM (#494151) Journal
    Technically, your laptop came with a disk-image restoration CD, not a Windows CD. And no, the restoration image isn't going to help anyone else.

    Check out my earlier comment [] about M$ possible motivation for this kind of behaviour (like with everything else they do, it's about long-term control, not short-term profit).

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @03:05PM (#494152) Journal
    Actually, I admin a network with 40 Windows 95 clients, among others, and they have no trouble on the hand-built white boxes I use: old and brand new, Intel and AMD. And lack of USB isn't much of a concern for a larger company, as much as I love it at home. Win95 still has its niche.

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:12AM (#494153) Journal
    From the article (paraphrased [] by the fish []): the company had a spat [Babelfish link] [] with M$ a few months ago about a supposed illegal Windows 98 license. M$ seems to have suspended sale of OEM licenses to them, so they needed to find another way to sell PCs loaded with Windows.

    Necessity being the mother of invention and all, I like the idea. What they're really talking about is continuously recycling Windows licenses. Rather than everyone pitching their Windows license when they pitch their old PC, the license could now be sold to someone else.

    Of course, this is bad news for M$. Windows 95 is still a pretty decent consumer-level OS: unless you're going up to Win2k there's no real reason to upgrade beyond service packs (e.g. 98 & ME suck ass, NT sucks at multimedia). So this means that Germans could protest M$ snail's pace "innovation" by re-buying license for their old OS. Beautiful.

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • As MS tries to increase revenue by making sure every CPU has a licensed copy of their products running on it, we'll b able to count on Democratic countries like Germany (and other in Europe) to take a stand for freedom.

    The USA? HaHaHaHaHa...a thin veil of democracy over a steaming turd of a coporate dollar fest.

  • Is there a link on Hesari or somewhere wlse, about this? d=20001223KO8&pvm=20001223&a=1 [] should work.

    I'm not aware of any online translator from Finnish to English so here is my own very short summary:

    A man was selling reselling upgrade, replacement, OEM and other cheaper or free versions of programs as a full versions (he had made fake packages so they seemed like full versions).

    The Finnish Court of Appeals judged him guilty of fraud, but not to copyright violations, since he hadn't made illegal copies. (That fraud come because his customers weren't eligble to normal support and upgrades to these programs.)

    In short, EULAs are not valid in Finland.

    Several US based companies including Microsoft tried to get big compensations both on copyright violations (2400000 FIM) and for legal costs (980000 FIM). From the fraud, the man had to pay 300000 FIM (I can't say from the article if that sum went to his customers or the US companies) and for legal costs the court agreed that 70000 FIM would be the right amount.

    (I hope I didn't make too many mistakes.)

  • Kiitos! Heck, 370.000 FIM, that would kill our family budget thrice! It's not like the guy walked away unpunished.... jeez!

    It was a large scale business, worth of several million FIMs so compared to that he got off lightly. (And he definitely deserved it because he cheated his customers to pay full price for a software which didn't have manufacturer support nor upgrade possibility.)

  • Where can I confirm this?
    the License thing, I all ready know ebay is spineless.
  • So, on one side MS wins a court case in which some people sued MS because they thought that MS was keeping the price of their software up by illegal means (monopoly, MS won this case because the court ruled that since they didn't buy from MS directly, but from resellers, MS wasn't responsible for the high price), and on the other side, you get MS on your back because you sell, quite legally I think, official licences of MS. This surely stinks, Doesn't it? Hertog
  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @10:53AM (#494159) Homepage
    Does that matter?

    A license has to go with the CD you get with the PC. (Otherwise people would be buying a CD which they don't have the right to use - i.e. warez).

    So here is the solution. They turn over the CD and the license which comes with it. The recipient of the license destroys the CD, makes a copy of a "normal" windows CD and uses it with the license they obtained.

    Would that be legal? If you have a Windows license, then wouldn't the duplicated CD be legal since it has a license? Note: Big companies often get one copy of media, a bunch of licenses, and duplicate the media or load it multiple times over a network, and it is legal (and standard, sanctioned practice by the vendors and the corporate customers). It works out if there are sufficient licenses.

    The question is, does a license from Windows off a restoration CD allow you to make and use a copy of Windows from a "normal" Windows CD? Microsoft will say no, but what is the law? If ti is not legal, then essentially Microsoft has to aruge, and the courts have to accept and declare, that the copy of Windows with a "restoration" CD is different than off a "normal" CD. I.E. it is not real Windows.

    That could have a marketing impact and even be seen as abuse of monopoly status. I.E. we won't even give you a proper copy of the OS we forced down your throat. If your system doesn't work with all the other junk on the CD, or your system dies, you are hosed. Buy a new PC from an MS friendly OEM, or go pay the (outrageous) $200 for a full Windows 98 CD, which is well above what the OEMs are charged for it, as long as they play that stupid "restore CD" game with the consumers to protect MS at the expense of the computer purchasers.

  • by gunner800 ( 142959 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @10:35AM (#494160) Homepage
    You've fallen for the classic Big Company tactic: they do something, and you assume the law is on their side.

    You have a legal right (under most circumstances) to resell Windows. Microsoft doesn't want you to, and eBay prevents you from doing so because eBay is Microsoft's bitch.

    Even if you receive a letter from Bill Gates himself, signed by his Army of Lawyers, saying "You cannot resell Windows", it's still won't be true.

    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • Of course you also know that you should not tell people that you have a 40 node win95 network. Hackers , heck, school kids, would eat it alive. At least WinNT does not accept the escape key as a valid logon sequence. Not baggin on ya fella, I'm sure you've locked em up some other way (Novell stuff perhaps?), but Win95 is bad bad bad news for business , because it doesn't do security.
  • Uhh, I don't think so. Windows 95 won't even install on lots of newer hardware (try getting it to support some of the newer AMD motherboards), and it doesn't do USB. Obtroll: Perhaps in the Linux world not having USB support is the norm, but some of us demand better. =P

    Uhh, I don't think so. A few clarifications of fact: Late builds (circa 1997) of Windows 95 did support USB. In fact, I have a cd sitting about 2 feet from me that says "M$ Windows 95 with USB support." I agree with the original poster. If you have a user who is too stupid to handle a decent OS and are going to use M$ crap, Windows 95 is much better then Windows 98. BTW: Linux supports USB just fine. I've had no problems with it.

  • Otherwise it seems that it's just a ploy so companies can keep huge databases full of buying habits

    That's not necessarily a bad thing - I once worked at a games company, and there was a bit of hand-wringing over how much polish should be sacrificed to make the game availible for lower-end machines. What it boiled down to was that it was very difficult to know what kind of computer hardware breakdown was out there, so such conversation turned into "what giveaways could we give for registering, so we can find out how low people want us to go".

    So when people complain "It's ridiculous! My machine is perfectly good, not very old, and I can't play any games on it!", I often say "Send in your registration cards - since no-one else does, you'll be voting with the power of 20 men :-)"

    Of course, a huge amoubt of the info they want is marketing guff for junkmail, etc, but with some companies, it can be a way to have some input and give some feedback.

    So the compromise solution would be to ONLY fill in those parts of the form relevant to what you want them to know. If half the boxes are not check, I can't see them denying your registration (there would be no point - it's not like a webform that won't accept submit until you've finished - once the card is mailed, it's mailed).

    Any suggestions for a hypthetical, particulaly nasty card that you want to fill in, but don't want to give your address to for mandatory junk mail, but do want to give it for some freebie offer for registering?
  • by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:06AM (#494164)
    We might start seeing more "system restore" type distributions with new PC's to make it harder to resell

    Does it matter? They aren't buying the disks, they are buying the licenses. If they already have the disks, what does it matter?

  • Isn't that exactly what eBay is saying they are not? They are just "a means of contact" or something like that? So you aren't selling it through a third party, you are just finding who to sell it through eBay, right?
  • by johndoe42 ( 179131 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:02AM (#494166)
    While this is all well and good, MS probably won't like it too much (duh). We might start seeing more "system restore" type distributions with new PC's to make it harder to resell, and the whole Whistler copy protection might make this a moot point (although the German court might then rule that MS has to reenable copy-protected installs, and then they might refuse -- ugh).

    I wonder if I can sell all my old MSDN copies of Windows now? I must have at least 20 :) Imagine that: subscribe to MSDN and _make_ money by reselling all those CD's. Probably won't happen.

  • I recall that a year or two ago that a large number of people tried to get refunds from MS, on the basis that although it came with their machines they were not going to use it anyhow.

    If I recall right, it did not go anyplace. It was and is a sort of catch 22, that MS points to the OEMs, and the OEMs point to MS.

    So the Germany solution of selling them off second hand is an elegant and sensible solution.

    With the future MS rental licenses, this may be a problem. I can see a future market for English versions of Windows from Germany.

  • Welllllll, some college kid did write it. Remember?
  • It turns out that Win95 has a problem with AMD chips faster than 350MHz, and will not boot. MS has released a patch; I had to underclock the motherboard to bring it below 350MHz in order to install it.

    If you would have installed it in Safe Mode, as the instructions tell you to, you wouldn't have had to underclock the thing. =)

  • by splante ( 187185 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @10:24AM (#494170)
    I bought an HP, and installed Linux and VMware. I then tried to install Win98 that came with the machine under the Linux/VMware, and it wouldn't let me because it couldn't detect it was that HP machine.

    So now I am forced to go buy an off-the-shelf copy and leave the one that came with my machine unused. I'd like to sell the HP-only copy to recoup some of that cost.

    Actually, if I "borrowed" a friend's media to install, would I be legal since I do have a license, just not one that will install properly? Would this not be the same as borrowing a friend's copy because my CD was scratched?

  • hackers in Russia that HAVE taken Windows off our hands!
  • Actually, there is another aspect of German law that comes into play here:
    you can't change a contract after you've completed a sale.

    Seems a pretty obvious restriction, but this means that shrinkwrap licenses are not legally binding in Germany. So therefore they have no claim to a license status.

  • I guess you can add me to the list of people who think this is cool despite the fact that this will just make Microsoft want to tie the OS to one machine only.

    Why doesn't Waibel switch to Linux preinstalled and let the end user switch to Windows if they want it so badly.

    In fact I just bought a new desktop. The cheapest one I could find. I would have been happy to pay even less by having no OS and then transfering my old liscence to the new machine. You only really need an OS when it's your first computer. After that it should be like any other periferal device that you swap to the new machine.

  • Ok I guess you're right. My new computer was so close to my old one in specs that I didn't take into account real backward compatability. Perhaps I should be in marketing.
  • I have to say I was wondering why any company would buy licenses for this amount. I work for a realtivly large multi-national OEM, and its something like £5 per WinMe license (they're also allowed to press their own CDs and print their own manual copies which makes things cheaper, that's not included in this price though).

    It seems to me this may be a last-ditch publicity stunt by a company set to go under..

  • Ther register already had a story about how to break it a few days back.

    You can simply start regedit at some point during installation and exit.

    Anyway, it only bothers home users, real pirates will hack and workaround it in no time, which is why it is an idiotic idea.
  • I'm not familiar with VMWare.

    Are you saying the software running in VMWare cannot see the actual hardware on the machine?

  • by tswinzig ( 210999 )
    Isent Microsoft Tieing lisences to the computer hardware it's self in it's next OS release?

    No, Microsoft is just using technology to try and enforce what their licenses have always said: You have only purchased the rights to install and use this software on one machine at a time.

    You're still going to be able to move to a new PC or hardware configuration, you just might have to call someone on the phone to do it (or maybe they'll have a better idea).

  • They might be pricing at the same rate that M$ charged them?

    So if they were already paying $30-$40 or more by M$, they lose nothing by paying this much to consumers!

    This is also gotta hurt M$. They now compete against themselves, and they *have* to innovate against themselves, if this catches on!

    Geek dating! []
  • by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <.gundbear. .at.> on Saturday January 20, 2001 @10:16AM (#494180) Homepage
    How ironic! How karmic! How fitting!

    If half a million Windows OSes are out there now, then during the next upgrade cycle, and if there are manufacturers that wan't to beat the system, all they have to do is buy back the OSes from their customers and sell it again with the next cycle of systems created.

    M$ may argue that there are unlicensed systems, but then there is always the argument that people are running Linux, BSD, Be, or Darwin!

    Even better, it means M$ has to out-innovate itself to force people to buy the newer OS at the same or similar price to the older OS; if they charge too much, people will generally opt for the older OS, and if they don't charge enough, the M$ loses out on profits!

    Geek dating! []
  • by 0bjectiv3 ( 216391 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @02:02PM (#494182)
    Virtually EVERY software company does this. As usual, most of the comments on Slashdot read as though M$ is the only one engaging in a given (negative) practise.

    In fact, your beloved Sun Microsystems, without whom your precious "M$" anti-trust lawsuit would not be funded, engages in the very same practise.

    I'm not condoning the policy. I'm just tired of hearing about how evil "M$" is and how wonderful all other companies are.

    However, I'm sure my voice will fall upon deaf ears and closed minds.

    Don't read everything you believe . . .
  • They both feed the populace exactly what they like to hear, and they don't worry about the consequences. For Kissle, the consequences are only confined to the latrine, but for Heise, there is no physical bound for the consequences of his one-sided articles (which I label, properly, propaganda).
  • "German" refers to the origin.
  • What is wrong with taxation of writable media? Chances are that at one point in the life of the device, illegally obtained music will somehow find its way onto your harddisk/zip drive/cd burner, whether intentionally or otherwise. If I am required to pay a small fee to vindicate my download of such music, so be it. Don't forget that both Napster and [The network formerly known as] ScourExchange will soon force you to pay a small fee every single month of use.
  • I recently bought several Win95 OEM licenses, because for some things (games, syncing my PDA, and Win4Lin) Linux simply isn't there yet, for twelve bucks a pop. Windows 95 is smaller, faster, simpler, and doesn't have that irritating Windows Update "feature." Win95 does come with USB support, but for some inexplicable reason M$ includes it as a seperate install on the CD. My main machine is an AMD, and I think the M$ install is the only thing that requires OSR2, and I do find it funny that you have to run Windoze to run a patch to get Windoze running. I ended up runnning the patch on a nonAMD computer, and then copying the files over with a floppy.
  • The law IS on their side. They have more money than you. Therefore, they win.
  • Their full tower case is a joy to work in and they use standard components so it will be a breeze when upgrade time comes a couple years down the road.

    You ought to go into their Country Stores and check them out. The cabinet was pretty much my #1 priority when I bought my new system last year because I really really hate sucky cases. Theirs is the best commercial case that I've found. Cases in Fry's sucked. Cases in the local builder's sucked. My Gateway case is a joy.

  • well, you can check out their english [] pages, but there are only some older articles over there, nevertheless interesting. They should at least translate the news that got ./ed IMO

    C't rules,


  • Well, "Heise" is the publisher of "C't" (and "Ix" and "Telepolis" as well, btw). I don't think Hans Heise is sorry for his name just because of your flamebait.


  • try getting it to support some of the newer AMD motherboards

    Actually, I had occasion to install Win95 on a new AMD system last fall (my client had heard that 95 was much more stable than 98, and there was no talking her out of it.)

    It turns out that Win95 has a problem with AMD chips faster than 350MHz, and will not boot. MS has released a patch; I had to underclock the motherboard to bring it below 350MHz in order to install it.

    It's run fine ever since that.

    <linux-comment class="obligatory">Yes, I know it would have been stable from the start with a standard Linux install; I just don't want to be administering that system forever :)</linux-comment>

    - cicadia

  • Here is my translation:

    Second-Hand Windows at Waibel

    After a dispute with Microsoft, the Ettling-based PC producer Waibel has switched to offering their PCs with second hand Windows licenses. "In Germany there are approximately 10 million usable operating systems which will become worthless in the next few years, while the licensees buy their next PC again with an operating system or quite simply just dispose of their old PC along with the operating system. 10 million operating systems however represents an economic value of at least 2 billion DeutschMark, which shouldn't be wasted", argues Waibel, throwing down the gauntlet to Microsoft: "This way Germany can save 2 billion, which if unused would otherwise go to an American company."

    Using a web-form Waibel is accepting offers for required Windows licenses. The PC producer will pay upto 65 Mark for Windows 98 SE or ME and 85 Mark for NT or 2000. On the order page the Second-Hand operating systems then resurface for 95 Mark (SE and ME) and 135 Mark (NT and 2000) respectively. Obviously the required licenses are only available together with a new Waibel system - on the web site anyway there are no order possibilities without a PC.

    Waibel have endeavored from the start to allay legal misgivings of suppliers and customers: "They need not worry, software is not a different economic product from e.g. an automobile. And here of course it is completely normal, that there are many uses behind each other from this. We have just tried through clever marketing to portray the situation somewhat differently."

    Indeed Microsoft obviously can find no legal lever against the smart idea, which runs utterly against the license strategy of the software giant. Microsoft spokesman Thomas Jensen said on enquiry by heise online that one should be informed about the offer and examine the case, and that he wasn't able to give a statement about it yet.

    Since the decision of the BGH [Germany's Federal Supreme Court] it stands as legally secure, that the sale of Windows licenses is quite safe, provided that these are not bound through technical facilities to the hardware. Such a dongled second hand version would be presumably worthless for the buyers though. The lifting of such an obstacle could represent an illegal intervention into the copyrighted work. Whether Waibel is buying such versions at all, the offer is currently not to be withdrawn: at any rate the company reserves the return of the purchase "if not satisfied or other defects".

    Waibel's relations with Microsoft are greatly spoiled, since the PC producer sold a Windows 98 to a c't test buyer without the certificate of authenticity. Microsoft has reported that Waibel has meanwhile refused to give the demanded explanation and will hence be sued for an injunction and damages. The lawsuit is sub judice under district court Mannheim. Until there is some news from there, it seems Waibel has found an alternative supply source for Windows licenses. Managing director Andreas Waibel was unable to be reached for a statement: the company's press spokeswoman didn't want to speak.

  • A similar decision was recently made in a lower court here in Finland. The ruling basically said, that a shrink wrap software is similar to a music record. When you buy one you also get a right to resell it. We're anxiously waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on this.
  • This sounds great to me, now I just have to find them ol licenses and send 'em to them! :P
  • I wonder what you have to do in order to get money from them.
    My HP p120 came with a windows license (emblazened on the win95 booklet) but didn't come with a cd,
    do you think their will be any problem involving this?
  • Microsoft certainly doesn't like Waibel too much for that move, so are there any obstacles in offerings various other operating systems with their hardware?

    They do offer! According to their order pages [] (just grep for Linux or SuSE in the right frame), they're also offering you a brand-new copy of SuSE 7.0 as well as sending them your own Linux installation CDs, and they will do a standard install of your OS on your new hardware.

    Disclaimer: I do not use Windows nor SuSE Linux nor do I endorse their use - I use Debian. Consider doing the same.
  • Well, what you could do is get a pirated copy of Windows 2000, and call that your full backup, which you are legally entitled to make. Provided you don't run your one licensed copy on more than one computer at a time.

    This is a delicious way to circumvent the brain-damaged "restore" cd distributions of Windows.
  • If it is anything like the IBM restore cds, they should contain the OS in 'zip' files. Use a Unix based machine an unzip them (prevents that zip password crap). Then just burn the unziped files to cd. Its rather easy once you find them.

  • by flafish ( 305068 ) on Saturday January 20, 2001 @08:34AM (#494206)
    If they ( German company ) have the full OEM cd verion then anyone can use the license. Try it yourself if you have one. Use any valid " Product Key " and load it on any hard drive you have. The CDs from Dell, NEC/PB, and others were not the full winX CDs but were/are the manufactures own version of that CD. Full OEM version doesn't check for Bios information as to make of computer.That's one reason m$ wants to cripple Whistler and make it have to register with then before it is usable.
  • One of the rather major irritations that have been promulgated on the community is the bios coupled distribution. You buy a Dell computer and get a Windoze 2000 distribution that will only install on a Dell computer. I am sure there is some very small print someplace that makes this vaguely legal, but it sure does annoy the heck out of me. Given that Dell does not support AMD processors, this seems to be more than a small restraint of trade. Bad enough to have to buy bundled software. Even worse to buy bundled software that reverse bundles itself into the hardware.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard