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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft

FSF Wants Your Vouchers 320

Ridgelift writes "California residents can help support the Free Software Foundation by donating their Microsoft vouchers to the FSF. In turn, the FSF will be able to convert the vouchers into hardware. There's more information here at the FSF website. With 1.1 billion dollars in vouchers Microsoft is forced to pay through the recent anti-trust court case, it's satisfying to see some of those fortunes being spent to help create good software for a change."
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FSF Wants Your Vouchers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:09AM (#7518909)
    Turn justice into poetic justice =)
  • Ah... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ... but will that hardware have free-software firmware in its ROM?
  • by SpringRevolt ( 1046 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:17AM (#7518950)

    The FSF primary goal is *not* to create good software. It is to create *moral* software - software for goodneighbourliness and sharing - the fact that it is good (high quality/few bugs) - is a welcome - but secondary effect.

    FSF's beef with Microsoft is not that it produces poor software - but that it produces non-Free software.
    • ofcourse, just about the same argument can be made for good (as in good value for money vs. good guy) as for free (beer/speech).

      (not much inspiration right now, so not a very coolsounding meme. but I think you get my drift..) //rdj
    • by woodhouse ( 625329 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:36AM (#7519024) Homepage
      >The FSF primary goal is *not* to create good software

      But I've been successfully doing this for years. Send your vouchers to me!
    • Err, doesn't it seem a little unfair that most Microsoft "customers" won't get these vouchers? As I'm not a California resident - I won't have a voucher to donate to the FSF.
      • Err, doesn't it seem a little unfair that most Microsoft "customers" won't get these vouchers? As I'm not a California resident - I won't have a voucher to donate to the FSF.
        Complain to your local representative if you haven't already done so. California had a critical mass of people do so, otherwise the Microsoft lobbyists would have squashed any rebellion. If the local politicians in a particular state (be it U.S. or sovereign) are aware on a political level that there are victims of a convicted monopoli
    • I think it's _slightly_ more complicated than that. If that was true, then the FSF would have beefs with Sun (the Java language does not have an independent steering committee, it's fully controlled by Sun, despite what Sun wants developers to think), IBM (makes lots and lots of proprietary software, pretty much any software firm in the world, including Red Hat (isn't the package manager or the install routine non free? I believe it's proprietary.)
      • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:58AM (#7519149)
        The FSF does have a beef with Sun, IBM and Red Hat. They even have a beef with Debian, a distribution which requires all software in its release to be free, because they maintain non-free software on the same servers as their distribution. So, from the FSF's point of view, it is not any more complicated than that.
        • Then why does the FSF support the GFDL? That looks like a rather non-free license.

          From: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=86513&cid=751 9 457

          2) It is not possible to borrow text from a GFDL'd manual and
          incorporate it in any free software program whatsoever. This is
          not a mere license incompatibility. It's not just that the GFDL is
          incompatible with this or that free software license: it's that it
          is fundamentally incompatible with *any* free softwar
      • "including Red Hat (isn't the package manager or the install routine non free? I believe it's proprietary.)"

        No. Why do people keep thinking that? In RedHat:
        - The GUI config utilities are GPL'ed.
        - The installer (Anaconda) is GPL'ed.
        - RPM is GPL'ed.

        The only non-free RedHat package is redhat-logos, which contains their trademark.
    • I think you have it backwards. People aren't going to use software because it's 'moral'. What's moral software anyways?? It's just a tool. People are only going to use any tool if it works for them. The whole 'I use/write free software, so that makes me a good person' bit is high-minded masturbation
      • Will you speak for yourself, please. Just because you consider software only a tool, doesn't mean everyone does.

        There are people who use software because it's moral, and I'm one of them. Software is not a tool for me, it's knowledge. I am a scientist. If I discover something, I publish it. That way other people can learn from it. I guess you know how the thing works.

        Of course I use software (as a tool) as well. Just as I use knowledge. I also don't use scientific discoveries if I am not allowed

        • You think the microwave oven (using quantum mechanic theory) would have ever been developed?

          I think I have to call you on this.

          How the @#$ is a microwave oven--an application of WWII era radar electronics--a use of quantum mechanic theory? Sure, you can explain a microwave with QM, but you can also explain a rifle round, and no one claims that we wouldn't have bullets w/o QM.

          As to the greater point... we have a society where knowledge and discoveres can be owned and kept secret. And we get innovations
          • Sure, you can explain a microwave with QM, but you can also explain a rifle round, and no one claims that we wouldn't have bullets w/o QM.

            An even better example would be glass. We couldn't properly explain why glass was transparent until quantum theory came around, but we had been making glass for a looooong time before that.

      • People aren't going to use software because it's 'moral'. What's moral software anyways?? It's just a tool.

        In Soviet Russia, Free Software thinks YOU are just a tool!

    • What you say is true, but it's worth mentioning that there are real social harms tied to non-Free that Microsoft is a great example of. The first and most obvious social harm is the intentional waste that users are subject to. When a vendor decides to change file formats in order to drive sales of a new version, they force their users to convert their files mostly to own the same thing they thought they already owned. Less obvious intentional waste comes from the inability of users to fix their problems.
      • A society where everyone, doctors, lawyers, engineers, you name it, acted like that would be highly inefficient and unpleasant to live in.

        Don't forget the scientists. In a sociciety like that, ... Oh wait, perhaps there wouldn't actually be any scientists. All the wannabe scientists would be busy inventing the wheel.

      • >Non Free software vendors promote knowledge hoarding. A society where everyone, doctors, lawyers, engineers, you name it, acted like that would be highly inefficient and unpleasant to live in.

        They do act like it right now.

        Example: To become an official engineer, you have to be trained under and approved by another engineer.
  • How about the EFF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by routerwhore ( 552333 ) * on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:18AM (#7518956) Homepage
    Somehow in this day and age of big brother paranoia (and RMS lunacy), the EFF seems to be a more appropriate place to donate.

    EFF
    Attn: MS Voucher
    454 Shotwell St.
    San Francisco, CA 94110

    • by ciaran_o_riordan ( 662132 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:39AM (#7519046) Homepage
      yup, EFF are also great, but when I can spare cash, it goes to FSF.

      They've been busting their asses to give us freedom for 19 years now, and with Bradley Kuhn as the Executive Director, they've gone from strength to strenght.

      If fighting for freedom is lunacy, you can download thirteen 2hr lunacy recodings (sounds fun) on the GNU audio page [gnu.org]. Well worth a listen, IMO

      (and as a european, I'm very glad of all the work that Stallman has done, and the work of Hartmut Pilch of FFII who's work is funded by FSF)
      and my .sig:
    • by Ianoo ( 711633 )
      I am inclined to agree. I'm much more likely to donate any vouchers I receive to an open source rather than free software organisation. I'd much rather see the money support projects that really need it rather than those that fit with Stallmann's moral vision.

      I bet the only software he'll be sending machines is that which is licensed under the GPL, not any kind of BSD-style license - and considering many of the important components I'm using on this desktop at the moment are indeed licensed under BSD-like
      • Stallmann's moral vision ... I bet the only software he'll be sending machines is that which is licensed under the GPL, not any kind of BSD-style license ... (XFree, GNOME [LGPL]) are also those most in need

        yes, and since hiring dyslexic Bradley Kuhn, RMS has gone from Stallman to Stallmann. (see above comment.)

        Do you not know that it was Stallman that started GNOME? and it was FSF that wrote the LGPL? and it's FSF that are hosting the Xouvert [xouvert.org] project to help XFree? and that it was Stallmans idea to ch
      • As a friend of mine said: Stallman is like a lighthouse. You know you want to be in that general area, but you don't actually want to be there.
    • What good has the EFF actually done? At least the FSF has created a lot of free software which I use every day. The EFF hasn't done shit for me.
      • What software has been written by the FSF of late? A lot of stuff is on their web page but with the exception of emacs much of it is being developed by other people. How many of the cool software titles that are in constant use in the free software community were actually written by GNU people? Not very many. Gcc is mostly done by Cygnus (redhat) and many other "GNU" products are just random bits of free software that RMS has decided to call part of his project. GNOME, KDE, GIMP, Apache, Perl, the Linux
  • I think... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Evil Adrian ( 253301 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:28AM (#7518994) Homepage
    I think that giving these vouchers to schools that don't have computer equipment (or that have older computer equipment) and helping those children learn to use computers is a much better use of the vouchers than donating them to the FSF.
    • Re:I think... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ianoo ( 711633 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:35AM (#7519020) Journal
      What, then have them buy Microsoft software to put on those computers? Donating money to a free or open source software organisation (FSF, EFF, etc) means that free software improves. It will receive more widespread adoption. Schools will feel more inclined and more justified using it over Microsoft's products. They can then spend the money they'd otherwise spend on Windows and Office on more PCs.

      Giving the vouchers to the FSF (or EFF) is a long term plan rather than a direct feedback route to Redmond's bank account.
      • By EFF of course I mean OSI, I'm just going insane.
      • By GOD man, Evil Adrian is right! Think about the children! You're not thinking about the children!

        Now to go get me a brand new pair of Nikes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Today Darl McBride claimed that any and all vouchers belong to SCO, and that by the FSF taking the actions with vouchers that it has, the FSF has endangered SCO's position.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @08:53AM (#7519131)
    it's satisfying to see some of those fortunes being spent to help create good software for a change.

    Just what is "good" software? Quality good? MS makes quality software. Is it guaranteed that all software produced/supported by the FSF will be of high quality?

    Morally good? How can software be moral or immoral? It just is. You may not think the method of production is moral (think slave labor in diamond mines) or the use of the product is moral (think use of encryption by drug cartels) or even if it was moral to produce the product in the first place (think TEC-9) but really, those cases are really about the morality of the producer and not the product.

    Is Microsoft an immoral organization? What does that mean? If a company has done good and bad which actions determine the character of the company? The standardization of the desktop (Windows) and of basic productivity applications (Office) has certainly accelerated the acceptance of the personal computer, and that appears to be a good thing.

    Of course, Microsoft's motive was profit. But is that immoral? Microsoft is a company. Companies seek profit. Even more than that, companies want to dominate their markets. Microsoft clearly achieved that and not through anti-competitive practices. Once upon a time, Wordstar was king, Visicalc was the sole player in the spreadsheet domain, and GEM [pmt.org] was the GUI to use on a PC. Microsoft came to dominate those areas through quality software and marketing savvy.

    Microsoft was successful at doing what it was supposed to be doing. That's not bad any more than the failure of a company is good. Next time think before you throw out your knee-jerk rhetoric. Consider your position and choose your words to say what you mean.
    • Morals (Score:5, Informative)

      by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:30AM (#7519416) Homepage
      Well, let's see. During the anti-trust trial in the U.S. one of Microsoft's executives testified under oath that Microsoft's code was so full of holes it would be a threat to national security [eweek.com] to open it up. Then the company turns around and offers code to China [eweek.com]. So was it treason or perjury? I don't see an in-between there. Neither strikes me as ethical or moral.

      Ok how about just perjury alone. Forged video evidence [com.com] was also presented in the anti-trust trial in the U.S.

      Ok how about the court's decision, upheld on appeal, that the company used illegal methods to maintain a desktop monopoly?

      There are also the false and misleading [itweb.co.za] advertising, against palm [wsj.com], novell [internetnews.com], and regarding MS-Passport [ftc.gov]. MS-Passport cannot be secure [avirubin.com] even in theory, so any claims were clearly known to be falsehoods. And since MS-Office 2003 is tied into that, expect more legal action.

      Then there have been a series of fines regarding patent infringements. The most recent being from SPX [itnews.com.au].

      Where I come from, all that's called lying or stealing.

    • "Morally good? How can software be moral or immoral? It just is. You may not think the method of production is moral [snip] but really, those cases are really about the morality of the producer and not the product."

      The product and the producer are linked as long as you have to deal with the latter to use the former.

      "Is Microsoft an immoral organization? What does that mean?"

      It means they pursue their goals with no respect for the rights of others or an awareness of their impact outside themselves.

      "Micro
    • First, the FSF has never attacked Microsoft because they make money and are motivated by profit, or because they write poor quality software, and attempt to dominate their market. I will get back to this later, but right now let me address the issues you brought up.

      Morally good? How can software be moral or immoral? It just is. You may not think the method of production is moral (think slave labor in diamond mines) or the use of the product is moral (think use of encryption by drug cartels) or even if it
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:21AM (#7519335)
    it's satisfying to see some of those fortunes being spent to help create good software for a change.

    First of all the FSF doesn't produce any software, they let "their community" take care of that, so for development they don't need those machines.

    Second, good software comes with good documentation, but the FSF blocks all efforts to produce good documentation with their insane GNU "Free" Documentation License, that is not free at all according to Debian, and even according to RMS himself.

    Finally, the FSF is not the right organisation to donate anything to in the first place. RMS rules it like a dictator, there is no Freedom in the Free Software Foundation (cf. the HURD developer that got punted because of public criticism on the GFDL).

    If you want to donate something, donate it to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to Lawrence Lessig, or to Red Hat for their battle with SCO...

  • by HomerJayS ( 721692 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:24AM (#7519357)
    The FBF (Free Beer Foundation) also wants your vouchers. In turn the FBF will be able to convert your vouchers into beer. The FBF members will then utilize the beer to stimulate debate on many of today's most devisive issues.

  • by transiit ( 33489 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:28AM (#7519397) Homepage Journal
    I'm against this, as I'm against the vouchers. I got my claim form in the mail the other day, and the choices it gave were basically "Accept the settlement, write an objection to the court, attend a hearing to state your objection in person, or do nothing (and thus waive all further rights)".

    As these vouchers represent accepting the settlement, donating them to a worthy cause doesn't satisfy my problems with the settlement, namely that they are to be redeemed for hardware (much of which comes bundled with more Microsoft products).

    I can't say I agree with an antitrust remedy that increases the sales of the monopoly that is being punished.

    -transiit
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:35AM (#7519457) Journal
    RMS 'fires' Lead Hurd Dev over license dispute.

    http://lists.softwarelibero.it/pipermail/discuss io ni/2003-November/008465.html

    Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 11:33:16 -0800
    From: tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG)
    Subject: What's up with the GFDL?
    To: gnu-prog-discuss@gnu.org
    X-Spam-Level:

    Richard Stallman is pushing an anti-free license for documentation.
    By that, I mean, a license for documentation which, if it were used
    for software, would unquestionably be understood as unfree.

    There are many negative consequences of this action:

    1) The Debian Project, which is committed to free software, cannot
    distribute GFDL'd manuals as part of the Debian system. This is
    ironic in the extreme, because RMS used to complain that Debian was
    too loose about distributing non-free things. Now Debian is too
    tight for him.

    2) It is not possible to borrow text from a GFDL'd manual and
    incorporate it in any free software program whatsoever. This is
    not a mere license incompatibility. It's not just that the GFDL is
    incompatible with this or that free software license: it's that it
    is fundamentally incompatible with *any* free software license
    whatsoever. So if you write a new program, and you have no
    commitments at all about what license you want to use, saving only
    that it be a free license, you cannot include GFDL'd text.

    3) The FSF solicited public comment on the GFDL, but this seems to
    have been a deceptive enterprise. The goal seems to have been to
    garner public support for it, and that simply failed. So the FSF
    does not trumpet that little public comment, and has issued no
    explanation of why such a widely unpopular documentation license
    should be used.

    4) RMS has now "dismissed" me as Hurd maintainer because I have
    publicly spoken against the GFDL, saying that a GNU maintainer must
    support and speak in favor of GNU policies. If this is really
    RMS's reason, then it means that he demands the right to control
    the speech of every GNU volunteer when it comes to GNU project
    policies. He wants not merely to set the direction, but also to
    require that each and every one of us publicly support a GNU policy
    when asked to.

    I do not know what the right response is. I believe perhaps the best
    thing to do is to create structures for GNU project volunteers to
    express their opinions so that we can even find out what the GNU
    project thinks. Heretofore, RMS has been an able spokesman, but when
    he disregards the comments of volunteers (even when explicitly
    solicited), works against free software, and attempts to control the
    speech of GNU volunteers in talking about such issues, something has
    gone very wrong.

    I suspect that nothing will happen, and the sad result will be that
    while free software will continue to thrive, the GNU project will
    die. I do not know what would prevent that.

    Thomas

    Technical Addendum
    - ------------------

    The incompatibilities of the GFDL with free software are not
    controversial. There are two central problems.

    First, GFDL'd manuals can contain "invariant sections" which cannot be
    changed or removed. This is a restriction on modification which isn't
    permitted for free software licenses. Moreover, it is not a trivial
    restriction or one that imposes minimal costs. Invariant sections can
    be very large, and the pieces of a GFDL'd manual that one wants to
    copy might be small. (For example, a description of how to use a
    single function, if copied from the Emacs manual, requires the
    inclusion of many kilobytes of extraneous text from invariant
    sections.) Such restrictions are not allowed in free software
    licenses.

    Second, there are restrictions on what formats a GFDL'd manual can be
    distributed in,
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Personally I wouldnt mind if the GPL stipulated that tools for compilation of the source code needed to be freely available at all ... in fact it seems a very reasonable requirement. That is one of the two things Id like to see changed about the GPL, that and the requirement to abide by the restrictions of the GPL even if you are a copyright holder (ie. as a patent holder you shouldnt be allowed to tack the GPL on code for which the patents arent freely licensed for GPL software, there are a few companies d
      • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:38AM (#7520648) Homepage Journal
        Personally I wouldnt mind if the GPL stipulated that tools for compilation of the source code needed to be freely available at all ... in fact it seems a very reasonable requirement. That is one of the two things Id like to see changed about the GPL, that and the requirement to abide by the restrictions of the GPL even if you are a copyright holder
        I understand why, but consider the consequences of this.

        Suppose a proprietary software company decides that one of their old products no longer has significant sales, so they wish to release the code to the world under GPL.

        Under today's version of GPL, they can release the code even if it only can be compiled with a proprietary tool (e.g. Microsoft's IDE). Then perhaps some hackers outside the company, can start cleaning up the code on their own initiative -- creating Makefiles, getting it to work with gcc, etc. Eventually, after some work is done, it becomes truly free software that you can compile and use on your Linux or Hurd box.

        Under the future GPL that you propose, the software company would not be able to release the code under GPL, unless they took the expense to make it portable first. Unless they're bubbling over with excess resources and altruism, they won't do it, and I wouldn't blame them.

        It is pointless and counter-productive to put things into GPL that impose a restriction upon the copyright holder. If the holder does not like the restriction, then they will simply opt to not use that license.

        What I would suggest as a compromise, is this: if a work can be compiled with free tools, then other parties (other than the original copyright holder) should not be allowed to distribute derivative works that require proprietary tools for compilation.

        Derivative works should be at least as free as the work they are derived from. But do not place too many restrictions on how free that original work may be, or you simply won't get the work released under such a license.

        • What I would suggest as a compromise, is this: if a work can be compiled with free tools, then other parties (other than the original copyright holder) should not be allowed to distribute derivative works that require proprietary tools for compilation.

          That seems silly too. What if somebody ported my GPL'd Linux program to Windows, using the most common compiler on that platform, Microsoft's Visual C++, and in the process they added one new small feature. You're saying they wouldn't be allowed to release
  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:39AM (#7519493) Journal

    It's unclear to me exactly how these vouchers work. From the site, it claims that you must "exchange your vouchers for cash by submitting proof of purchases you made after July 18, 2003." Now if I buy a $1000 computer, I can clearly get my $26 back from the voucher, but if I buy a $1000 computer, can I trade in 38 vouchers and get $988 back? This isn't made clear, and if not it seems these vouchers are going to be somewhat useless to the FSF.

    It's also not clear that the vouchers are transferrable. Can I sell them? On eBay? That's also going to hurt the FSF, cause I sure as hell am not giving them a $26 voucher if I can get $25 for it on eBay.

    • I sure as hell am not giving them a $26 voucher if I can get $25 for it on eBay.
      Do you use GNU software? If so, and if you don't contribute (cash, code, documentation, etc.) and are unwilling to give them some found money, you're part of the problem.
      • Do you use GNU software?

        Hell yeah.

        If so, and if you don't contribute (cash, code, documentation, etc.) and are unwilling to give them some found money, you're part of the problem.

        What problem is that? The whole idea that I owe the FSF for merely using software they wrote is the problem. If that was the case, the FSF could just charge money.

        I've sent a few bug fixes to a few different authors of GPLed software. But after 3 or 4 times of having my fix ignored I've become somewhat disillusioned with

  • by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @09:54AM (#7519651)
    Californians, who like many others had little choice but to pay Microsoft's high prices for its monopolistic proprietary software, now have a unique opportunity to help the Free Software Movement

    RMS's stance on non-free software is tiresome, borderline-communist, and impractical. I agree with others [slashdot.org] that his motives are not great software, but software li[b|v]re.

    But OH-my-goodness...the contributions he's made! Take a couple of hours and read Richard's biography Free as in Freedom [oreilly.com]. It's a must-read, and as always Richard has ensured it will be a free one as well. You may love him or hate him, but more than that the man has earned the respect he deserves.

    Support the FSF.
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:01AM (#7519712)
    satisfying to see some of those fortunes being spent to help create good software for a change

    Classic (unnecessary!) Slashdot editorializing in a news report.

    Hint: News has an impact of its own. Ending every story with an inflammatory spin, one that's often misinformed, is not needed.
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @12:23PM (#7521053) Homepage
      Man, some of you just don't get it. Slashdot is not a news reporting agency. Slashdot does not try to report the news. Slashdot editors are, by no stretch of the imagination, journalists. All Slashdot does is report the existence of news stories. You have to RTFA to see any actual reporting.

      Those of you decrying Slashdot's lack of "credibility" are missing the point -- the only Slashdot posts that aren't "credible" are the ones that don't include a link to a news story.

      Generally speaking, after a story is posted to Slashdot, people are expected to comment on it. That is the purpose served by editorializing. It serves to incite, inflame, or encourage commentary -- whether you agree with the editorializing or not. Example: If thousands of people agreed that it was not satisfying to see Microsoft vouchers going to the FSF, then they would post here and say so. Thus, the Slashdot model -- the real Slashdot model, and not the one you imagine -- would continue to be a success.
  • Ok... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @10:40AM (#7520093)
    So, instead of getting the money back for the software you didn't want (or ask for) in the first place, you turn around and give it to someone else? Right ... I think the FSF can find their own funding. If you really want to support someone, then donate your money to an OSS project that you actively use instead of the FSF. This makes a hell of a lot more sense to me.
  • I'm not in the U.S. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tmark ( 230091 ) on Thursday November 20, 2003 @11:02AM (#7520296)
    I live in Canada, but during the time period listed I bought a laptop while I was in grad school in California. As I read the settlement document, I'm eligible for a claim as long as I certainly purchased the computer "for use in California". So, am I reading this right ? Am I eligible for a claim even if I live outside California (and the U.S.) now ?

    The reason I ask is that website allows you to have a claims package mailed, but you have to specify a state, which makes me wonder whether a) out-of-country-claimants are ineligible, or b) whether the form was just poorly designed.

    Any thoughts ?
  • case? I intend to because I don't think this settlement is good enough. If I wanted to claim the money I would have to produce records of the software I got between those periods and that includes "Product ID"s, "Product Key"s, "CD Key"s. But I kept none of that information. Does anybody save that? And the amount refunded seems way too low. $16 Windows/MS-DOS, $29 Office, $26 Excel, $5 Word, Works Suite, Home Essentials 97 or 98. It's all falling short of true compensation for Microsoft's blatant abu
  • People mention poetic justice...

    When I was a frosh in the forms, my friends and I thirsted for mail. So we sent away for various free stuff- info from weird religions, product samples, software trials, etc etc.

    While I never requested any information from Jerry Falwell Ministries I somehow ended up on their mailing list. At some point during the school year, I got a letter from them asking for donations- as well as a $1 check.

    The letter purported that they had an anonymous shadow donor who was willing to match all donations. So if I cashed the $1 check they sent me and sent them that same $1 back, they would end up with $1 total profit, coming from the anonymous donor.

    Probably a common scam- a lot of the folks they'd target would feel guilty about cashing the $1 and keeping it. And they'd figure, why not send them back their $1? But then they'd have the checkbook open, made out for everything but the amount. Then they think- why not make it $5? Or $10? Not that much money, but whatever they send in will be doubled by the donor lurking in the shadows, so why not?

    That is what they were betting on with this donation drive. Except that they picked the wrong guy with me.

    I went ahead and cashed the check. Before doing so, I made a photocopy of the check and letter. Then I wrote a new check, just like my pal Jerry said to do. After that I send a letter, a $1 check, and the photocopies of what Jerr sent me to a gay and lesbian rights group.

    I can't remember the group though. I was a bit bummed that I never got a reply expressing the humor- or the extreme grattitude for donating a whole dollar!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I would not donate my voucher to the FSF, because the GPL, which the FSF promotes, helps Microsoft. It does this by making it impossible for small companies to reuse code to build commerical products that compete with Microsoft's. It thus kills Microsoft's competition in the cradle.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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