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Your Daily Dose of Microsoft 541

The European Union is considering anti-trust action against Microsoft. The Wall Street Journal ran a column today about the Windows XP registration process, which is apparently news to a lot of people who don't read enough Slashdot. IBM says Microsoft is arrogant. Microsoft's XP Beta program is a little more open than they thought. And finally, and most amusingly, one of the threat letters being sent out by the BSA on behalf of Microsoft was sent to (wait for it...) OSDN. Okay, no more Microsoft submissions today, please.
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Your Daily Dose of Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:42AM (#106167)
    My God, what has Slashdot become? Post a direct link to a Microsoft you're not supposed to download and it gets moderated UP?

    I know you all don't mind software and music pirating, but posting direct links is crossing the line.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:34AM (#106168)
    You can download the source here:

    http://svmsftwxp.conxion.com/download/wxp_pro_rc1_ core.tgz
    http://svmsftwxp.conxion.com/download/wxp_pro_rc1_ tools.tgz
    http://svmsftwxp.conxion.com/download/wxp_pro_rc1_ drivers.tgz
    http://svmsftwxp.conxion.com/download/wxp_pro_rc1_ extras.tgz

    You need Visual C++ 6.0 or better, and be warned: it's a 2G (yes, 2 gigabyte) download. (Oh, and it took about 3 days to compile on my PII 266MHz too, but that's another story.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:45AM (#106169)
    BSA investigators to visit the accused company unannounced and accompanied by local law enforcement officials such as U.S Marshals

    So the courts will grant pseudo-governmental powers to operate investigate? Is this normal? Will the US courts also grant requests for environmentalists to do research in the records of big-polluters? Will the courts grant requests for AIDS activists to do audits of BigPharm's research in order to prove that the government really funded the research on the drug they now hold patent on?

    Oh, of course not, these are the interests of the community - of the people - and the *people* aren't really being advocated by their courts *or* their government any longer... silly me - I forgot.

    US of America is a sick-twisted corporate run shithole. Can you people please wake the fuck up and do something about your goddamn government? P-L-U-T-O-C-R-A-C-Y : LOOK IT UP!!

  • Well there's still a choice as to what to use, but in this case I agree it's not yours. Fortunately, the harm that XP could cause would go to your employer, not you, should the chose to use it.

  • Well, yeah, because that's a matter between you and the government, and the government can send people over to audit you.

    Why the hell do shitty software companies have the right to harass you over licenses, unless you're blatantly breaking the law? Will they keep hounding me until they've found the one unlicensed copy of Windows NT 3.50 sitting around on some long-neglected 486 in a remote office? Is that entirely legal to do? Could I sue them for pestering me too?

    - A.P.


  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:17AM (#106173) Homepage Journal
    Does the BSA reimburse companies for the waste of manhours it takes to find and verify all software licenses?

    They should, you know.

    - A.P.


  • It's not ridiculous for Microsoft to send a letter to OSDN asking them to verify their server licenses, as they do use Microsoft products for their servers. Take a look [netcraft.com].
  • Posted by polar_bear:

    Sure - as soon as Microsoft can stop calling the GPL a "cancer" or "Pac-Man"-like. Or how about when they stop trying to confuse people by saying that they're "concerned" about using GPL'ed software with theirs b/c they think it might "contaminate" their code?

    Yeah, there's some immature comments made here - but guess what? Microsoft isn't any better - and they're supposed to be "professionals."

  • ...and have the BSA audit Microsoft! I bet they haven't paid for any copy of Windows that they have!

  • That's exactly what will happen. From a Wired article [wired.com]: "But if a company refuses to cooperate, BSA can and will ask a federal judge to grant a court order allowing BSA investigators to visit the accused company unannounced and accompanied by local law enforcement officials such as U.S Marshals."

    Scary as hell. What would be really interesting is someone like OSDN refusing entry, then being searched. Would make a hell of a headline and could be just the sort of thing to make ordinary users realize the clout MS carries through its BSA organization.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:19AM (#106182) Homepage
    This is precisely the sort of attitude that makes psuedo-libertarians so dangerous. NO, copyright holders should NOT have ANY right to harass you. They should have as much of a burden in doing so that any government would.

    Namely, they need to be subject to sufficient due process.

    If you are "breaking the law quitely", NO ONE should have any right to look even at you funny. This includes both governments and megacorps.

    If you don't like this, I suggest moving to Singapore.
  • First of all, the Kioto Treaty demands MORE from European countries than it does from USA! And we are willing to comply! You are not, even when it would be easier for you to follow the guidelines set by the treaty.

    Yes, the EU's propaganda machine would like you to believe that. Now go back and ask your friendly neighbourhood commissioner how many EU countries even have plans in place to ratify Kyoto. I'll save you the trouble: 0.

    The GE-Honeywell merger block merely shows that the EU hasn't outgrown protectionism. You're going to get your clocks cleaned by the open economies of the world. I can only hope that the UK isn't stupid enough to join.

  • So there will be an increase in the number of times the XP CD from work gets a lift from the office to the employees house.

    I can just see it now.

    Benefits Package - Dental, Health, Vision, Volume-Priced version of Windows, Employee Discounts
  • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @06:44PM (#106185)
    I'm sorry - but I don't see where the BSA should be able to install any software on a machine at my company.

    "Yes...this is the main server for my companies 24x7 OLAP money-machine...go right ahead an install some software I know nothing about - no problem answering Yes to the "Reboot?" question."
  • But when you buy the product in the store you don't get to see the license until you have already payed for the product.
  • You do have a choice. I just wish more people would realize that they don't have to put up with this sort of thing, and choose to eschew Microsoft.

    The sad truth is that no, you don't always have the choice. While I've been running Linux as my only desktop OS since 1992, it's not always an option. We've been pushing hard to get Linux on the desktop at work, and have had to concede that it just isn't there yet. It's very, very close, but not close enough to risk the business on. Among other things, we need a decent office suite. With 100% MS compatibility. Yes, StarOffice, Applix and PerfectOffice all come close, but we need to be able to read every file that people send us. We need a word processor and spreadsheet that handle not just the plain documents, but the ones with embedded VBA as well. We need a good shared calendar solution with palm sync, and it has to work cross platform. We have Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and Tru64 desktops. And no, a web front end isn't usually appropriate, even if it's usually good enough in the short term. We need to be able to handle Visio files, and MS Project files. And some people will have to stick with Windows because certain essential apps only run on Windows. VNC was considered for them, but it only supports a 1:1 mapping, and we want multiple users logged onto a single NT server. Citrix is an option, albeit expensive. Yes, I am sticking with a Linux desktop, but the rest of the company just aren't ready for it yet. Given time, perhaps, but in the short term, we're using Mac OS X as a means of at least getting Unix to the desktop, and we'll take it from there...

  • by haaz ( 3346 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:04AM (#106188) Homepage
    I have been covering Microsoft's FUD War against the GPL, Linux, and open source software. Currently, it's a collection of links to articles about their efforts, although one news story that I wrote does contain a minor (and hopefully funny) editorial. The FUD War coverage is at: linuxppc.org/fudwar/ [linuxppc.org]. Cheers,
  • Although cable is similar, "expensive water" at least allows competition. A new company is able to produce bottled water without having to reverse engineer and risk lawsuits or buy licenses from the already existing water producer.
  • The Wall street Journal ran a column today about the Windows XP registration process, which is apparently news to a lot of people who don't read enough Slashdot.
    First of all, Product Activation (not registration; big difference) was first introduced in a beta. Many news agencies reported on it, but withheld judgement until it was confirmed that Microsoft was going through with such an Evil scheme. Now that Release Candidate 1 has arrived, with Product Activation firmly in place, major outlets like the WSJ now feel free to set flamethrowers on "pile of charcoal", and fire at will.

    Personally, I'm waiting at least 60 days after XP hits the shelves to upgrade from 2000. Why?
    • After 30 days, the horror stories will tell me if it's safe or not.
    • That gives Microsoft time to backpedal after said horror stories escalate into a public relations nightmare of Firestone/Ford proportions.
    • I already have 2000 and WindowBlinds. Do I really need a whole "new" OS just for IE6 and Media Player 8?
    • I feel perfectly justified in downloading a crack that disables Activation and/or any "phone-home" code. I've still paid my 30 pieces of silver. I'm just protecting my privacy.

    And Michael, exactly how self-important are we feeling today? "...people who don't read enough Slashdot"?! I'm guessing that means "the unwashed heathens who haven't yet accepted Richard Stallman as their Lord and Saviour". Do you honestly think anyone with an open mind wants to hear all your venom? The only reason you're still included on my home page is because without your non-MS-bashing articles, Slashdot looks thinner than Technocrat during a slow week.*

    Pro-Linux != Anti-Microsoft. Don't make me get out the clue stick. (Although I must say that this karma burn has been quite theraputic.)

    *: With apologies to Bruce Perens.

    We're not scare-mongering/This is really happening - Radiohead
  • I'm an American living in Canada, and I think I can be fairly objective about the situation. Canada has 30 million people. That's like the population of California. Of *course* Canada isn't treated as an equal partner to the USA. The only countries with a population similar or greater in size to the USA are second and third world countries with limited economies at present. The only sign of something in the near future that will be a real competitor to the USA is the EU.
  • Your reply only galvanizes my point, you are fixated and one-dimensional. Who was taling about economics? Who the hell is talking about being a 'competitor'? Economics is the last thing of importance in the world, life, love, health, happiness, peace, nature - then (maybe) money(economics).

    Well, we were talking about business, which means we *were* talking about economics. Secondly, all those benefits like peace and happiness that you are talking about can only be created by spending money, something which the government of Canada understands quite well.
  • And, of course, when they confiscate those machines they'll take *everything*-monitor, spoeakers, power cord, everything they can grab, because when the cops sell it at auction they get more money for complete systems.
  • "...I've got the BSA on speed-dial..."

    "No, please, have you no mercy? Don't turn me over to the Boy Scouts of America!"

  • Hey, if you think the Borg are scary, wait'll you get a load of their lawyers.
  • MS is trying to become the next RedHat. It is obvious that this is a ploy to appeal to our natural desire for free software!

  • The protests about Kyoto are great because of their breathtaking display of European hypocracy. Not a single country any of those protesters are from has signed the treaty or has any plan to. No country with an operating economy has even considered it thanks to common sense. And yet they act offended when the US displays the same common sense.
  • by landley ( 9786 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:44AM (#106215) Homepage
    Who ever thought we'd be saying this ten years ago, but...

    GO IBM!!!!!

  • My God, what has Slashdot become? Post a direct link to a Microsoft you're not supposed to download and it gets moderated UP?

    I know you all don't mind software and music pirating, but posting direct links is crossing the line.

    I don't give a rat's ass about Windows XP, but the fact that the link works is interesting - and displays a lack of any true authentication for downloading the ISO itself. There's likely some serial #s or keys or some other shit involved in actually installing Windows XP, so I doubt stealing it will be quite as easy as just downloading the image.

    And for those who are just interested, like me, use wget's "--spider" option to test out the link without actually downloading a single byte of it.

  • On the other hand, 20 years ago when you paid to license IBM mainframe software, you received:

    o The runnable object code
    o The complete, buildable source code
    o Printed manuals that completely documented the internal logic of the software.

  • The source code was a zero-cost option. If you wanted it, you just asked for it.
  • If a company is dumb enough to comply and actually work for free, then they don't deserve to be reimbursed.

    Just as if a mail client is dumb enough to actually execute code that gets mailed to it, the user deserves to suffer.

    Those are two instances of the exact same thing. BSA audit demands are just a type of virus. If you blindly do everything that anyone tells you to, you will probably end up wasting resources. It is a very basic security issue. Think of it as evolution in action.

  • That argument about "lawyers expenses" is merely one further reason to hate and despise Adobe. It will be quite a long time before I ever recommend any of their products to anybody for any purpose (unless, perhaps, it had some chance of harming the company).

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.

  • I suppose I could go on the "move to open software" cursade, but even the most Linux-friendly professor I can think of taught his class about
    how the Linux kernel works using PowerPoint. He offered his notes for download off his webpage... which means I'd need PowerPoint to view
    them. (Actually, since other people in that class read Slashdot, I'll admit that he was cool enough to have copied the slides into PDF format, but
    still... the point stands that if he hadn't done that, I'd need to grab a Windows machine to view the class notes.)

    A worthwhile point.

    Something I think about sometimes is why people continue to use PowerPoint instead of something like Flash. Flash is cheap, more capable, and the SWF format is reasonably open...

  • SilentChris typed: Still, I'm pretty happy with the OS and service. Solid. $10 is not too bad considering I normally pay $9.95 - $14.95 to Cheap bytes for the latest RedHat distro.

    This is how it starts... Microsoft will practically give the product away to make sure all Windows users upgrade to it, then they pull the noose tight and start raising annual license fees and charging more for services. Before you know it you're paying Microsoft $50 a month just to use your computer and there are no alternatives because all the competition went under when everybody was buying Windows for $10.

  • Imagine the millions of DM German lawyers could make by sending those threatening letter "services" as one did recently about an alleged trademark issue [slashdot.org], but instead threatening about insufficient licenses for Microsoft products.

  • Why is everyone putting an extra space in their URLs?

  • Maybe if the URL is put inside an href tag like this [conxion.com] it will be OK. Then you can right click on the link, use "Copy Link to Clipboard" or whatever, and paste it into wherever you're going to download from.

  • Where have you been? Windows has always crippled the PC it is installed on, and brought down the entire computer.

  • Ah, but you vision is too narrow. If you are Joe Blow grandma who's first computer was running WinXP, for all intent and purposes, you computer has ceased to function.

    Bryan R.
  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:19AM (#106241) Homepage
    ...that by installing WindowsXP, you give Microsoft lease to cripple your machine? OK, I can see it in OfficeXP, fine. But when you give a company the ability to bring down your entire computer, that is just stupid. I have read about Microsoft, I have heard from Microsoft reps that it is painless to get the key to register and open you computer back up, but have you CALLED Microsoft recently? I would be scared that I wouldn't be able to open up my computer until the phone lines were a little less congested. This is dumb, really really dumb.

    Bryan R.
  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:52AM (#106242) Homepage
    You do have a choice. I just wish more people would realize that they don't have to put up with this sort of thing, and choose to eschew Microsoft.

    I couldn't agree more. That is why I think a grass roots effort needs to be mobilized. Creating a website or posting this sort of thing on Slashdot won't help, it just leads to informed people complaining to informed people. The informed people need to get in touch with the uninformed. Around my house and where I work, I am considered one who has a some what informed opinion on things computer related. Lately, I have been getting asked quite a bit about WinXP and I tell people what I think. Stay with 2000/98SE. Got to get the word out! The people I feel bad for are those who buy a new computer. Ouch.

    Bryan R.
  • Why are you looking for "objective" discussion on the internet? There's no such thing.
  • by EvilJohn ( 17821 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:17AM (#106244) Homepage
    The more you tighten your grip Lord Vader, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

    // EvilJohn
    // Java Geek
  • Word (DON'T say "star office", it's NOT an acceptable replacement)

    Just out of curiosity, what's missing that you need?


  • Since the code is up there with no attempt at protection, I can only assume that this counts as "published" source code.

    But mistake on Microsoft's part.
  • If the company was smart, they would say "show me the warrant". Then when the cops show up with the warrant, let just the cops in, 'cause the BSA won't be listed on the warrant, only the cops.

    Of course, IANAL, and if you get busted I won't help in your defense...
  • by avdp ( 22065 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:44AM (#106250)
    There is no reason they would say no to installing a beta (or RC) on more than one PC. So, sure, they will "override" without asking too many questions.

    Try this scenario with the final version and good luck.

  • It looks like European revenues [microsoft.com] are more important that I thought, accounting for almost 3.8 billion in revenue.

    If France gets in on this, it could get crazy [slashdot.org], they're pretty serious [slashdot.org] about this stuff.
  • by macpeep ( 36699 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:52AM (#106277)
    Something just hit me.. Suppose you go along with the Microsoft activation thing.. Suppose you install Windows XP and activate it. Now suppose you also install Office XP and activate that. Now suppose that it's 3 years later and you have 10 pieces of Microsoft software on your machine, all activated.

    Now suppose you do a major upgrade on your computer.. enough to cause the activations to think they are on a different computer and thus de-activating themselves. Sure, you can call Microsoft.. but you have 10 pieces of software that are all de-activated. Activating it will be a MAJOR pain in the ass!

    Now suppose it's not just one machine. What if you're a system admin in a company with 150 workstations and they all upgraded on the same day.

    What am I missing? It can't possibly be THIS bad can it?!
  • by SecretAsianMan ( 45389 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:57AM (#106297) Homepage
    All this threatening language coming from the BSA (I heard it myself on the *radio* yesterday) is a bit interesting, especially the talk of BSA "investigations" or "audits". Aren't they just another corporate (non-government, non-law-enforcement) entity? HTF can they investigate or audit companies unless the companies agree to it?

    What would happen if the BSA called my company, and I told the BSA guy to leave me the fuck alone and then hung up?

    SecretAsianMan (54.5% Slashdot pure)
  • by Maledictus ( 52013 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:44AM (#106302)
    Let me get this straight. The most amusing thing you could come up with was to call a customer service line and ask about licensing open source products? Didja ask if their refrigerator was running? Did they say yes? Didja ask 'em to go catch it?

    As my older brother used to say: cute, but not funny.

    Next time someone wants to call Zones, or Softchoice or hell, even the BSA, give them a real world example to start the giggling. Tell them you have 100 users and you need licenses for 100 copies of Outlook, 15 copies of Excel, 50 copies of Word, 10 copies of Access, NO copies of Publisher, and 5 copies of Powerpoint. Now...is that all Office Standard, Office Pro or Office Seriously Diluted and Preinstalled on the Dell for the Home User?

    How many points per copy, per package, per user, per workstation? How much per point? Now, now! No fair using the scientific calculator.

    I'd love like all hell to comply to licensing...well, maybe not "love." I'd do it without much complaint. And somewhere in my desk drawer is a proposal from a reseller to get my company up to compliance. The bottom line was $20,000. And even in all that licensing mumbo-jumbo, there still was no guarantee that I didn't have a missed workstation, or a missed application that would instantly put me out of compliance.

    *shrug* I'll get in compliance, as soon as I figure out exactly what that means and how much to hit up the boss for. In the meantime, 3 letters from the BSA, each with a different "truce number," 1 dated last year, and all 3 addressed to different people at this company. Am I to believe that these are NOT mere direct mail advertisements?
  • by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) <slashdot&stefanco,com> on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:22AM (#106311) Homepage Journal
    C: "Hello, Mr. Lasiewski? This is Chuck from the BSA. We're calling to inform you that we kicked your son out of the Boy Scouts because we discovered he was gay."

    L: "Uh... but my son is not in Boy Scouts."

    C: "Oh shit! Sorry... I mean, We're calling to inform you that we discovered that your son is using a pirated version of Windows XP..."
  • The folks at Red Hat [redhat.com] made the same mistake, you can download ISO's from them too. And when they say download the "code", they know what they're talking about.

    More great news! I heard on a hacker mailing list, that Debian's [debian.org] stuff isn't protected either.

    I snuck into the Debian site, and I got lots of good stuff. Programming tools, games, an OS that works, a couple of desktop environments, networking tools, server apps, ... gigabytes of cool stuff. Way more complete than that Microsoft ISO image.

    Ignore the XP crap, and grab the good stuff before someone notices.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:13AM (#106335) Homepage Journal
    Once they have an excuse to kick the doors down, they will always find something. Could just be that copy of Word on the long-unused Windows 3.1 partition of the secretary's machine, but by God they'll find something. And when they do, you'll pay them. Generally in the fashon of having $50 worth of nickles pulled out of your ass.
  • by budcub ( 92165 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:44AM (#106340) Homepage
    Lets say I run a small business, and one day a strange man walks in my door, shows me a business card saying he's from the BSA, and demands to audit all my computers, to make sure I don't have any pirate software. That's the issue we need to discuss.

    Suppose I tell him no, you can't enter, and call the police to have him arrested for trespassing. What's he going to do, get a search warrant? On what grounds? These are the questions I'd like to see answered.

  • by dudle ( 93939 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:13AM (#106342) Homepage
    It has to fit in the same line...

    wget --dot-style=mega --header="User-Agent:Download Manager" http://svmsftwxp.conxion.com/download/wxp_pro_rc1. iso


  • by almeida ( 98786 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:42AM (#106349)
    First, the company has never really educated home users about the one-PC policy for Windows. Sure, it's in the fine print, but few people read that. Microsoft has extensive programs to educate corporations about the policy, but in 10 years of reviewing Windows, I can't remember a single major Microsoft consumer ad campaign devoted to the topic. As I write this, I'm holding in my hand a colorful cardboard sleeve containing a copy of Windows 98. Nowhere does it say "for use only on a single PC." Even now, Microsoft isn't preparing the public for the coming crackdown.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't putting something in the fine print, education enough? When the user hits "I Agree" or "I Accept" or whatever it is, aren't they legally agreeing to whatever is in the fine print that they just agreed to, whether they actually read it or not? Why is it Microsoft's fault that the users don't read the fine print? Why do they have to prepare anyone for the crackdown? It's in the license, it's always been in the license. They are finally doing something about it and now people are upset? That doesn't make sense. If you are going to violate licenses, at least accept the fact that one day you will either be caught or that you will eventually have to comply with the license.
  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:34AM (#106353) Homepage
    Boy Scouts of America? Geez...Microsoft is more sinister than I thought....
  • by cybercuzco ( 100904 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:29AM (#106357) Homepage Journal
    Wolfram uses the same lame liscencing scheme for Mathematica as MS wants to use on XP . I dont care how easy it is to get another code, I paid for your software, I shouldnt have to come crawling back to you on my hands and knees, begging you to let me install something THAT I PAID FOR. In the meantime, ive switched to MAPLE V, which does the same stuff without the draconian measures, and I paid for Maple V as well.

  • by Fesh ( 112953 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @02:45PM (#106367) Homepage Journal
    Hehehehehehe! That does sound like fun... Or even better, what if you're a disgruntled employee? "Don't piss me off, I've got the BSA on speed-dial..."

    I know my desktop box would cause problems... I wanted Win '98, but it came from the OEM with NT on it...


  • There have been horror stories about BSA investigators trying to install their Windows-based software finder on Solaris boxen, and the like.
  • by aozilla ( 133143 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:21AM (#106401) Homepage

    Kind of like copying a tape for a friend.

    No, copying a tape for a friend is legal under the Audio Home Recording Act [loc.gov].

    No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
  • by aozilla ( 133143 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:26AM (#106402) Homepage

    Suppose I tell him no, you can't enter, and call the police to have him arrested for trespassing. What's he going to do, get a search warrant? On what grounds? These are the questions I'd like to see answered.

    The BSA generally gets tipped off by disgruntled employees, who are commonly more than happy to tell the judge enough to get a search warrant. Further, once the BSA shows that you are using the software, it's up to you to show that you have a valid license. That's just the way copyright works, by default, you have no rights (other than fair use).

  • Do I have the right to sell something to someone, then barge into their house several months later and rummage through his stuff to make sure he didn't steal anything from me? If they suspect I pirated software, they can contact the authorities, gather evidence, then audit me, but unless they have legally acceptable evidence,

    Copyright infringment (duplicating copyrighted digital bits without authorization) is fundamentally different than stealing physical goods. It's unfortunate that people interchange the words.

    I've heard several stories, some first hand accounts from people who've worked at a company that got busted. In every story, the BSA got a call from a former employee who told them there was pirated software.

    The sworn statement of your former employee that you've got pirated software is the "gather evidence" stage.

    Sure, you could turn them away at the door and insist they go get a warrant. If they do, you can be sure things will get ugly, even if you're 100% properly licensed. Once they have that warrant, they're under no obligation to minimize their disruption of your business... and since at that point you'll be a criminial in their minds.

    If your business is anything like most small to mid-size ones, you've probably got at least a few computers running "what came with the computer"... but you don't have the original invoice or that original invoice doesn't specifically indicate the computer came with that software. The original manuals/holograms got shuffled into a desk somewhere, lost or filed away where nobody will find them, or perhaps fell on the floor and were cleaned up by a janitor.

    If your business doesn't have a regular policy of auditing the machines, it's entirely possible that an employee installed some "harmless" program, or someone made a simple mistake. Often times, in the rush to meet a deadline or solve a problem for a customer, an employee might need to quickly load a copy of some program (say the customer emails a powerpoint file with purchase requirements and needs a quote within hours, and it's a big opportunity, but first your machine can't read his PPT file, you really want to bid for an opportunity at this sale and don't want to get off on the wrong foot and also precious time asking for a different format because your computer can not read the same attachment he sent to you and your competitors, and the clock is ticking)... the disc was sitting right there, and "we'll take care of it later", etc. These sorts of things really do happen all the time in "normal" companies.

    BSA: Where I work, we have a excellent network consultant [sdesign.com] who audits all our computers every several months and orders anything that isn't proven to be licensed properly (once I lost the papers for a legally purchased win98 and months later when I couldn't find them he put it on the "need to buy" list, Doh!)... in case anyone from the BSA is reading this post.

    Sure, you're innocent until proven guilty... at least in fifth-grade civics class. There are two realities about going to court: 1) it is expensive and rarely can you recover all costs even when you win, and 2) the outcome is uncertain, even when there is considerable evidence in your favor. If there's not absolutely certainty your "100% legal", the BSA will probably demand a fee to drop the whole matter instead of going to court. Maybe they won't sue if you pay... if you're smart you'll evaluate your options and choose the least expensive one, and paying will probably be the answer.

  • by Rushuru ( 135939 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:36AM (#106406)
    What influence can the European Union have on an american company like microsoft?

    Sure, Microsoft sells billions of dollars of software in Europe each year, but I hardly see what kind of "punishment" the EU could inflict to Microsoft.
    -Ban their Microsoft products? Then it would pose some serious problems to european businesses and their competitivness.
    -Impose an extra tax on Microsoft Products? As Microsoft is a monopoly, I guess people will still buy their products even if it's more expensive.

    I really have no clue on how the EU could force Microsoft to do something against its will.
  • The BSA could be a double edged sword - used as a tool to inspire companies to move to open source software. ;)

    For example, I'm sure there's been a medium to large size company in your past that was not interested in adopting 'free software', but was more than willing to turn a blind eye to the occasional licensing over step with windows/office...
    One of two things will happen: 1) they end up spending a lot of money paying fines and buying licenses, or 2) they pay their fines and start looking for free software alternatives...

    Either way - it could be entertaining. :)
  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @04:29PM (#106411)
    Adobe used to have very restructive technological measures in place to prevent the piracy of their fonts (many of which resemble Microsoft's current tactics).

    I've used Adobe's fonts for years, and I can say none of them look anything like Microsoft's current tactics. Well, maybe Warning Pi [adobe.com], but that's hardly "many".

  • by djrogers ( 153854 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:04AM (#106429)
    or more simply:
    wget -U "Download Manager" http://svmsftwxp.conxion.com/download/wxp_pro_rc1. iso
  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:16AM (#106433) Homepage Journal
    You're right - I do have choice...

    Except I need to ensure that my JavaScript and HTML works under Microsoft Internet Explorer...

    And I need to view this Microsoft PowerPoint presentation...

    And I need to open the design documents that are written in Microsoft Word.

    Face it - I don't really have a choice. Once XP gets released, I'll probably give it a partition on my hard drive. Sure, I like Mandrake (enough to have actually paid for my copy of the distro), but that still doesn't really matter, considering that in order to interact with others in college I must use Microsoft products.

    Especially when the previously mentioned "design documents" explain the required design of the project that counts for half of your grade...

    I suppose I could go on the "move to open software" cursade, but even the most Linux-friendly professor I can think of taught his class about how the Linux kernel works using PowerPoint. He offered his notes for download off his webpage... which means I'd need PowerPoint to view them. (Actually, since other people in that class read Slashdot, I'll admit that he was cool enough to have copied the slides into PDF format, but still... the point stands that if he hadn't done that, I'd need to grab a Windows machine to view the class notes.)

    Anyway, it's summer time, and I'm working for a company... on Windows. If I want to work at home, I'll need a Windows PC. If I want to send documents to other people here, I'll need Office.

    Which means that as much as I'd love to get rid of any and all MS software, I can't - I'm stuck with it. Which is why the Ninth District court upheld the findings of fact, agreeing that Microsoft does indeed have a monopoly that practically people cannot escape from.


  • by SnapShot ( 171582 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:57AM (#106446)

    Interesting point: that OEM copy of MS Office that came with one office computer (and has been copied to the 9 other computers in the office) has kept the purchasing department from looking for cheaper alternatives.

    Sure, if you're paying full price, the MS Office "office" is pretty expensive (e.g. 10 x $500 = $5000) but if one copy is hidden in the cost of a computer and the other 9 copies are pirated then as far as the purchaser is concerned that only cost $0 dollars.

    That makes it pretty hard for WordPerfect or WordPro to compete even if their Office Suites are half the price of Microsoft Office.

    Make people pay full price for their software, then maybe they won't necessarily follow the herd but attempt to limit the amount of money they need to spend.

  • by jestapher ( 181119 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:56AM (#106473) Homepage
    I received one of these "you are a criminal" letters at the ISP I work for, so I called up the BSA at (888) NO-PIRACY and had them remove us from their mailing lists. I asked where they got our name and address, and they said they purchased the list from Dun & Bradstreet [dnb.com]. I gave DNB a ring at (800) 234-3867 and had them remove us from their lists. I asked the operator if there was a space to note the reason for the remove request and she said yes, so I made sure she noted that I had been offended by a mailing the BSA did using their lists.
  • by Erasmus Darwin ( 183180 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:16AM (#106479)
    Just don't install Windows XP. I don't use Windows anything. So I'm not succeptible.

    Well good for you. Unfortunately, those of us not living in never-never land have discovered that, contrary to popular belief, there's a lot of software out there that hasn't been ported to Linux.

    Don't get me wrong -- I love Linux. I use it both at home and at work. It's been my general operating system of choice for about 6 years now. However, that doesn't change the fact that there're some computer-related activites for which Windows is the better answer, either because more commercial developers supports it or the software requires less effort to install-and-use.

    So until Linux fully addresses these issues (something which, as much as I'm a fan of Linux, I doubt will every fully happen), there will be a need for some people to install and use Windows. Claiming otherwise is at best misguided advocacy and at worst trolling.

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:29AM (#106482) Journal
    (Or you may pick off the bill for big penalties tomorrow.) Software piracy is illegal. And the BSA is cracking down."

    This is something I really dont understand. If the BSA has a reasonable suspicion that i am using unlicensed software, they can petition the local authorities or whomever to actually raid my facility and do an audit themselves. Where is it, and under what fucking authority that they repute to have that the BSA will do an audit? If the "BSA" ever sent this thing to me Id send them a letter telling them to go piss up a tree - when I see some authorized, sanctioned agency I might give it the time of day - not some corporate shill group which purports to have some kind of legitimate authority.

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    Note: When I sent this letter saying to 'f-off', I would also include some ambiguous language, nothing to implicate myself, just make it clear that I am not denying having any unlicensed apps running - and invite them to come look. Let them waste some time and legal fees only to find all my GNU/Linux.

    target of a BSA investigation. This is not a traffic ticket.

    Your right - traffic tickets are documents created by my sanctioned authority, in my democratic community - and the BSA means nothing to me and can go to fucking hell.

    Official Notice to the BSA from SubtleNuance:

    Under the authority I have granted myself, I am hereby notifying your group, that you should remove all non-European-styled receptacle covers from your facility. The older and unapproved 'standard' receptacles and covers will be removed from your facility within 47.1231 hours, or I will be forced to begin an investigation. If found with unapproved receptacles in service after my official grace period I have given myself the mandate to nipple-twist and belly-slap your legal dept., every Wednesday afternoon until you are in compliance.

    Consider yourself duly notified.

    Not-so-humbly yours-in-self-delusion, SubtleNuance.BR>
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @12:02PM (#106483) Journal
    USA can do whatever it pleases to others, but nobody else can do the same to USA, eh?

    Exactly - I live in Windsor, ON, Canada. You have no idea how deeply the ignorance and myopia in America goes. They really reject the idea that they are equal partners in world politics - they *REALLY* believe that "Were the USA, Were #1, Try and Stop US! Were #1, Were #1, Were #1". Quite frankly, of all the problems in the world, the unbelievable bullshit Americans consumer with regard to there own country is astounding. You should watch the 18:00 news from Detroit, and hear the interviews they do with people on the street - its fucking scary.

    Im wondering how long it will be before the USA pulls some kind of Nazi thing on the world... I mean that very literally. I dont think it would take much to convince the US population to invade Canada, Mexico or anywhere else for that matter if the media and government sold us as "The Un-American Enemy bent on subverting their supreme Way of Life. For Gods sakes, their Communists!"

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @06:38PM (#106497) Journal
    Pirating is illegal and the reason why ms products are so popular and how ms can get away with charging an arm and a leg is because of piracy. Bussinesses can afford to pay for it so the users who need office compadibility just pirate's instead of buying wordperfect and staroffice. Your only hurting microsofts competitors. Once they lose marketshare ms can increase the price yet again due to the herd mentality for the same products. Also the DMCA states that isp's and website owners need to censor and monitor for illegal activities. Microsoft could hurt slashdot by such actions. They already threatened them whenusiuon of Microsofts implementation of kerbos by some slashdoters.
  • I'm sorry - but I don't see where the BSA should be able to install any software on a machine at my company.

    You could always demand to see the license for it before allowing them to install it. I mean, you wouldn't want to be breaking the law or anything...

  • by DarkEdgeX ( 212110 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:33AM (#106519) Journal

    For people who are copying/pasting this guy's URL, make note of the fact that there's an extra space in his (eg: ..._rc1. iso, note the space after the dot.. the real URL has no space). Also note that if you just try to download this file using IE or Netscape or [insert browser here] the file will fail to download because your User Agent won't be set to "Download Manager". You MUST set the User Agent correctly. 90% of people who say the link is broken or doesn't work are suffering from this problem.

  • Let me see, if they want the licneses for every copy of my software, I will have top send them several hundred copies of the GPL... That ought to make their day...

    Watch them try to audit me...

  • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {srevart.sirhc}> on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:15AM (#106552) Homepage Journal
    I am starting a small company devoted to promoting Linux. We will have a couple of machines running Windows in order to work out any potential interoperability problems, but nearly all machines will be running software which is freely redistributable.

    I have thought about asking my business partner to turn us into the BSA for an audit claiming that we are pirating RedHat Linux 7.1 to see how they respond... It would be an informative experience, though we would have to plan ahead and make sure that the few proprietary products we have do have (again, for interop testing purposes) all the documentation associated...

    I think that it is great that Microsoft is cracking down so hard against piracy. Most software piracy involves software which is "industry standard" and so harms the competitive system as much as anything Microsoft has ever done (who recently pirates Word Perfect for Windows?? Compare to Microsoft Office 2000). Hence a pirated copy of Office 2000 might have denied StarOffice or Lotus a piece of the market share. Same goes for Windows and Linux.

    More importantly, these generate real business liabilities in addition to the issue of lost documentation. Adobe used to have very restructive technological measures in place to prevent the piracy of their fonts (many of which resemble Microsoft's current tactics). However, it became popular for disgruntled employees to send print jobs to postscript printers which woudl change the password on them, hence the eeprom would have to be replaced and the fonts relicensed. The very real problems that this created forced Adobe to drop these measures.

    Microsoft has not learned from Adobe's mistakes. Imagine viruses which tamper with the activation process, forcing you to relicense your copy of Office or Windows... Such viruses would be an exact parallel to the attacks against postscript printers and font licensing that forced Adobe to rethink their licensing position on fonts.

    This will surely cause some companies to rethink their dependence on Windows....

  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:26AM (#106554) Homepage

    It doesn't bother me.

    Just don't install Windows XP. I don't use Windows anything. So I'm not succeptible.

    What bothers me is the number of people who are going to install Windows XP, either not realizing that they are giving MS the ability to cripple their machine, or thinking that they don't need to care.

    You do have a choice. I just wish more people would realize that they don't have to put up with this sort of thing, and choose to eschew Microsoft.


  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:50AM (#106555) Homepage

    So until Linux fully addresses these issues (something which, as much as I'm a fan of Linux, I doubt will every fully happen), there will be a need for some people to install and use Windows. Claiming otherwise is at best misguided advocacy and at worst trolling.

    What do you use on Windows that you can't get on another platform? Honestly?

    Yes, there are some people out there who really need Windows because of what it offers. But for 90% of the computer users, the sheep who will be installing XP on their systems because it's easiest, never mind any privacy invasion or loss of ocntrol to Microsoft, they don't really need Windows. There are other OSes out there that can do absolutely everything that the vast majority of home users would need. And, today, more than one of those other OSes are just as easy as Windows to use, and almost as easy to Install. MacOS is one obvious case, but Linux now does have almost everything one one want. No, not all software has been ported to Linux. Nor will it ever be. But do you really need Microsoft Word? Or do you need a functional word processor? There is a world of difference between the two.

    Asserting that people need to use Windows simply because there is "more" software available for it, and because "many" things haven't been ported to Windows, is mindless conformism at best and trolling at worst. Open your eyes, open your mind, and stop spewing the party line because it's just easiest.


  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:58AM (#106556) Homepage

    Unfortunately this is unlikely to be a GNU/Linux variant, due to the restrictive GNU GPL...

    I get really sick of hearing this. A few people from Microsoft drop the word that the GPL is what they have a beef with, not all free software, and suddenly even self-professed free software advocates are parroting the Microsoft line.

    Step back and listen to what the hell you are saying for a moment. You are saying that other independent software vendors will hopefully pick up another OS instead of Microsoft to support, so that they won't all be dependent on Microsoft. But, you say, they won't choose GNU/Linux because the GPL is too restrictive.


    Let's go by that one again. They support Microsoft now. They want to go somewhere else, but... the GPL is too restrictive? How can you say that a company that currently supports software for a licensed Microsoft operating system would have any reason to find the GPL restrictive at all? OK, so they can't include GPLed code in their products without GPLing those products... but do you think that Microsoft gives them blanket approval to just freely include Microsoft code on their products? At all? Do you think they get access to Microsoft source code for free, and with no license restriction beyond making freely available any modifications they make to that code?

    Those of us who are free software advocates have got to stop bashing the GPL. It is counter productive, and it feeds right back into Microsoft. Don't use the GPL if you prefer a BSD-like license... that's fine! But you are only hurting free software by adding any sort of weight to this impression that the GPL is too restrictive for anybody to actually use.


  • by J'raxis ( 248192 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:25AM (#106560) Homepage
    ... unless the companies agree to it?
    That's what the EULAs are for. If you don't allow them to audit, you'd be in violatiom of the license agreement; breach of contract.
  • by megaduck ( 250895 ) <dvarvel.hotmail@com> on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:34AM (#106561) Journal

    ...or is Microsoft being incredibly stupid? Let's see... According to this article, they've managed to piss off:

    The DOJ. A thick, plodding, but huge and relentless adversary with the legal power to carve up the company like a turkey if they are ever found guilty.

    The EU. I don't think that they have the legal authority over Microsoft that the US courts do, but they can effectively create a "Microsoft-Free" zone named Europe where rival tech companies can flourish.

    Sun. One of the biggest server and workstation manufacturers in the world. No big loss on immediate sales (Windows on SPARC? Thank God, no!), but Sun has a lot of clout with standards committees and governments like the EU.

    IBM. The 800 pound gorilla. Lord of the mainframes. One BILLION dollar investment in Linux. Army of lawyers. Need we say more?

    The Wall Street Journal. This kills me. The most respected newspaper in America says not to upgrade to Windows XP. Unmitigated PR disaster.

    The Open Source Movement(TM). You know, this isn't as stupid as it sounds. I still think they could make a ton of money with an MS branded Linux distro and Office for Linux. Heck, I'd buy it.

    Consumers. This "registration" bulls**t is going to piss off a lot of ordinary people. It's not like they don't have alternatives, too. *Cough*Apple!*Cough* *Cough*

    The truly mind-blowing thing is that Microsoft hasn't tried to mitigate any of this damage. No olive branches, no buyoffs, no positive spin, no nothing. With their blind arrogance and greed they are slowly turning the entire world against them. Good work, guys! Keep it up!

  • by edashofy ( 265252 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @12:03PM (#106573)
    Is the end-goal of this anti-piracy endeavor by Microsoft to end up making more money by getting an extra $100 from home users who don't know better? They've obviously removed the activation nag in the MOLP media for Office 2000 (although it was present in my copy that I bought off the shelf), so it's not for corporations. So, let's play "what will be the likely outcome:"

    1. Consumer outrage?
    2. Everybody who's anybody will pirate the activation-less MOLP media?
    3. The crack for disabling the activation will be released about two weeks before Windows XP goes gold?
    4. All of the above.

    I will also comment that this won't have a statistically significant affect on Linux marketshare--no matter how stupid Microsoft is, Linux is going to have to stop sucking before it gets on the desktop.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:04AM (#106577) Homepage
    • Does the BSA reimburse companies for the waste of manhours it takes to find and verify all software licenses

    I'd recommend modding this us. It's a superb point, and the exact reason that large companies just buy batches of extra Microsoft licenses when the BSA comes a-knockin', rather than go to the expense of tracking down and auditing every piece of hardware they own. It really is cheaper to just buy the licenses - regardless of whether you are using them or not.

  • by karmawarrior ( 311177 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:19AM (#106581) Journal
    It's not that ironic: IBM themselves acknowledge that they've acted the same way as Microsoft in the past, and have learned from their mistakes, viz [cnet.com]:
    Andy Hoiles, IBM's Linux business manager for the company's European Enterprise Systems Group, believes Microsoft's anti-open source, pro-.Net strategy is the arrogance of a company that has succeeded in conquering markets more often than it has failed.
    "We had that arrogance a few years ago," he said. "Then we nearly went out of business. You learn from that."
    I'd agree that it's ironic that the computer industry is waiting for IBM to save them from a giant, out of control, monopolistic market monolith. But it's perfectly reasonable for IBM to criticise Microsoft and be a pro-open source body, just as it's reasonable for a reformed alcoholic to encourage a drunk to go to the AA, and be a steadfast teetotal.

    Way to go, IBM.

  • by tb3 ( 313150 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:58AM (#106586) Homepage
    The same way the EU could stop General Electric and Honeywell (two U.S. companies) from merging. Check out the cnnfn story [cnn.com].

    From the article: "The European Union Tuesday officially rejected General Electric Co.'s planned $42 billion acquisition of Honeywell International Inc., the first time a proposed merger between two U.S. companies has been blocked solely by European regulators."

  • by Compulawyer ( 318018 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:26AM (#106599)
    I for one question the legality of this scheme with copies of XP sold to consumers for home use. The problem is with the way it is done. Courts have invalidated terms of shrinkwrap software licenses on the grounds that the terms of the sale (and thus the company's contract with the consumer) were set at the register and that the license terms are an invalid attempt by one party to unilaterally change the contract terms.

    It seems to me that unless these terms are clearly and conspicuously disclosed BEFORE the sale, it is a breach of contract and an invasion of privacy to which the consumer did not consent.

  • by uigrad_2000 ( 398500 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:34AM (#106608) Homepage Journal
    This is new news to me. WinXP gives you 30 days free without registering (submitting innermost details about your prized hardware for piracy check).

    30 days is a long time. I've rarely gone for 30 days without having Windows crash so bad that I needed a full reinstall anyway. How is this going to help them?

  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:54AM (#106612) Journal

    its good to see IBM standing up for something that it seems to believe in: open source. It makes me proud to be an employee.

    On the contrary; the irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife. If slashdot had been around 20 years ago the object of its obsessions would have certainly been IBM. Not so long ago IBM's questionable trade practices [slashdot.org] in the mainframe industry was the subject of a Slashdot post. Yet here is IBM, complaining that a company that their market dominance helped build has turned into a monster, and is acting arrogantly.

    Don't kid yourself; IBM is embracing open source only to the extent that it can give them an advantage over MS in the marketplace. Not that I think that's bad; but let's be clear about their motives.

  • by Magumbo ( 414471 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:15AM (#106623)
    I just wish more people would realize that they don't have to put up with this sort of thing, and choose to eschew Microsoft.

    Here's what I do to "spread the word":

    I dress up in a furry penguin suit and drive around town blowing my horn in my black, white, and orange "penguin motif" 1970 Super Beetle. I've got a loudspeaker mounted on top that I blare ice cream truck sounds from. When the little kids come running outside I hand out free linux cds and say "Spread the love".

    It's very important to get the younger generation involved, you see.


  • by minghe ( 441878 ) on Friday July 06, 2001 @04:58AM (#106625)
    Here is what we did. BSA didnt come knocking on our door, but they did mail and call, demanding an inspection. Our dialouge went something like this:

    -This company does not use unlicensed software.
    (Which is true - we dont)

    -Well, we still want to come over and make sure that it is as you are saying.

    -Sure come on over. But first we got to discuss the compensation, I said.



    -Yes, naturally. How long do you think an inspection will take?

    -Oh, i dunno. About five hours for a company about you size.

    -I see, I said. How and with how much will you compensate us for charging in and disturbing our work a whole afternoon. This is a time-critial business, you know.

    -You want us to pay you for diong an inspection?

    -I expect you to compensate us for deliberately disturbing our work, yes. We simply dont have time to satisfy your curiosity. Having you pepole in the house and on our hard drives also means we cannot work openly with indoor company information that day. If this information leaks outside our walls, out competition will get an advantage that is worth millions.

    -Oh, you can trust us not to pass on any information.

    -Then, I said, you can trust us when we say that we dont pirate.

    -Um, can I get back to you?

    -Sure thing. Bye!

    Well, we never heard from him again...

  • by powerlinekid ( 442532 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:27AM (#106627)
    First a little (brief history): IBM creates PC, needs OS decides to buy one goes with small company called Microsoft which it lets retain the rights to the OS. Microsoft goes out and buys OS off of seattle software company and sells DOS to IBM (and later Compaq and the rest of the clones), then fucks up a joint venuture with IBM to create 0S/2 (I'll always wonder how Gates could hate the 286 so much but still allow OS/2 to be written in Intel 286 Assembler when he knew for a fact C would be better). IBM gets fucked over by stupid management decisions and a very eager Microsoft that realizes that the key to the pc isn't so much hardware but software. So after 20 years of being smacked around by Microsoft's thugish tactics... its good to see IBM standing up for something that it seems to believe in: open source. It makes me proud to be an employee.
  • by powerlinekid ( 442532 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:42AM (#106628)
    I have no problem with Microsoft, infact they're a smart business... but their latest decision is very very very dangerous. The PC was so popular because it was open, because you could add hardware... run whatever you wanted, and had an incredible wealth of software. This is part of the reason Apple wasn't so successful... people don't want closed systems with little software. And the feeling in my gut is that Microsoft is trying to reverse the decision that the ibm developers at Boca Raton originally released the PC under. Of course Microsoft exploited IBM in the beginning, but setting a standard which they did with DOS/Windows isn't such a bad thing. Now though, by telling people what they can and can not do with their hardware, and also what they can and cannot do with their software (how long until Microsoft kills Sun, AOL, etc software compatiblity) they are overstepping their bounds. For the love of freedom of choice, I hope they fail... otherwise, if you think Microsoft is "evil" now, give them a few years. *sigh*
  • by RU_on_weed ( 451255 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:29AM (#106639)
    sorry but I have to do this

    "I can barely get it up on 128 Megs of ram and still be productive."

    Hmmm me thinks maybe you should try alternate methods ...maybe magazines , movies .. I just don't think 128 megs of ram is gonna do it for you :-)
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @10:40AM (#106651) Homepage
    Actually, the $10 is just for two time-expiring "release candidates" (it looks about ready to ship, actually). They both will expire in 180 days. The actual OS will probably cost closer to $90.

    But I'm not too worried because:
    a) By that time I will have either moved on to Windows XP or back down to Windows 2000. My Linux side of the box is still quite functional.
    b) I normally upgrade my distro relatively frequently on the Linux side, and 6 months just about covers it. It's like purchasing a beta of RedHat or something.

  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @09:45AM (#106652) Homepage
    *After a minute on hold*
    Me - "Hi, I downloaded the Windows XP beta, but I installed it on another machine. I didn't realize you could only install it on one. Can I pay for a second CD key?"
    Operator - "You installed it on more than one machine?"
    Me - "Yes."
    Operator - "OK, hold on."
    *Another minute on hold*
    Operator - "Are you just using it for testing purposes?"
    Me - "Yes. Like I said, I'd be willing to pay for an extra key."
    Operator - "No need. My supervisor says I can override it."
    Me *surpised* "Really? Uh, cool."
    Operator - "What's your installation ID?" [this is the hardware hash they display on the screen]
    Me - "1098.."
    Operator - "Ok, here's your new code. Ready? 2037..."
    Me - "OK".
    Operator - "Then click "next"."
    Me - "OK. It says thank you registering your copy of Windows XP. Very nice."
    Operator - "Will there be anything else, sir?"
    Me - "No. Thank you very much. That was surprisingly easy. Goodbye." *click*

    MY THOUGHTS - Yes, the registration process sucks, but as I learned this morning, not every member of Microsoft is an asshole (at least the guy I spoke to). I didn't have to "pay" for an extra license (to test their beta, I know, but it's a pretty good OS. Hasn't crashed on my yet), and the total process took a little less than 3 minutes. Plus, as could be seen here, the operators can easily be swayed in certain instances (note, I don't think it's going to be so easy when the "actual" XP comes out).

    Still, I'm pretty happy with the OS and service. Solid. $10 is not too bad considering I normally pay $9.95 - $14.95 to Cheap bytes for the latest RedHat distro.

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @11:10AM (#106658)

    Here we go again... First of all, the Kioto Treaty demands MORE from European countries than it does from USA! And we are willing to comply! You are not, even when it would be easier for you to follow the guidelines set by the treaty.

    As for EU trying to regulate american companies.... Funny, it wasn't long ago when USA threatened to punish european companies who did business with Libya or Cuba (Elf Acquitane and Peugeot-Citroen just to name few).

    So, either you don't know what you are talking about or you are just plain hypocritical. USA can do whatever it pleases to others, but nobody else can do the same to USA, eh?

  • by RennGuy ( 465329 ) on Thursday July 05, 2001 @12:42PM (#106689)
    they aren't sending $100 million to tyranical dictatorship [broody.org] like some greedy corporate monster!

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler