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Microsoft Revamps Licensing Plans 356

prostoalex writes "Microsoft is introducing significant changes into its licensing program, faced with competition from Linux, as Reuters article suggests. First, Microsoft starts giving away free server licenses to its Software Assurance Program customers, if the PC is not actually used in production and is not present on the network. Such licensing would be convenient for disaster recoveries, where it's important to replace a failed server as soon as possible without calling Microsoft support or licensing partner. Support lifecycle is also extended to 10 years for a variety of products, including Windows 2000, Windows XP and SQL Server 2000."
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Microsoft Revamps Licensing Plans

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  • In 10 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neuro.slug ( 628600 ) <> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:36PM (#9352881)
    Will people actually be running copies of Windows 2000, XP, etc. in 10 years?

    -- n
    • Re:In 10 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:39PM (#9352908)
      Yes. Yes they will. I still regularly get systems coming into my repair shop running win95. Hell, I even get the ocational win3.11 system.
    • Will people actually be running copies of Windows 2000, XP, etc. in 10 years?

      Sure, some people still run MS-DOS or Novell's NetWare 3.x. I suspect someone out there is still using a TRS-80 Model III on a daily basis for their business. Is it a good idea? Well, that's for another discusion.

      • Re:In 10 years? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        My boss is still running a multi million buck a year business off of mostly old 486's running DOS something, I never found out the version number, I don't work at the "downtown" office, only visited there twice His attitude is, if it ain't broke, it don't need fixin'.. He paid obscene large amount of cash for it way back when, and it's still working! So he doesn't see any need to change. About a 30 guy shop, it's actually a cluster of smaller businesses run under an umbrella organization. He has two newer c
      • Re:In 10 years? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:26PM (#9353110) Homepage Journal
        Some of the TRS-80-era portable PCs were the most rugged computers ever made. I read a story a while back about them still being used in places where people driving things over the PC case was a plausible scenario.
      • Re:In 10 years? (Score:3, Interesting)

        AFAIK, there are still bbs's in the St. Louis area running MTABBS on trs-80 III's. They were some of the best in the mid 80's.

    • Probably... (Score:5, Informative)

      by macshune ( 628296 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:41PM (#9352919) Journal
      I've seen many businesses that still run NT4 and I even know a few folks that still use 3.1, but the latter is the exception, rather than the rule. It's pretty expensive to upgrade software, not just in the cost of the product itself, but in lost productivity and people-hours needed to perform the upgrade. when you have a large organization these costs can be prohibitive and procrastination seems very attractive. of course, any other slashdotter probably could tell you the same thing...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:53PM (#9352972)
        procrastination seems very attractive. of course, any other slashdotter probably could tell you the same thing.

        I could have done but I thought that if I waited a bit maybe someone else would say it and save me the bother.
      • "It's pretty expensive to upgrade software, not just in the cost of the product itself, but in lost productivity and people-hours needed to perform the upgrade" Cost is indeed expensive, but I've upgraded over a hundred computers to xp via network installation and it only took about a little over an hour.
        • Re:Probably... (Score:4, Insightful)

          I've upgraded over a hundred computers to xp via network installation

          You did check the hardware specs before hand, right? You didn't? Oh, well, I guess they were all newer machines then? Oh, you don't know?
          • Re:Probably... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jim_Maryland ( 718224 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:33PM (#9353916)
            Looks like the moderators were unkind to you. Your post is relative and not a troll. The original poster states that he upgraded hundreds of PC's to XP. While the upgrade could have taken roughly that amount of time, the real issue is all the additional planning involved as well as the post upgrade support. Unless this guy is working with a single hardware configuration, the research for pushing the upgrade out must be done to make sure the systems can support the upgrade (minimum CPU, memory, etc... for the supported OS). You also should take into account that users could have personal data and/or applications on their PC (maybe the managers have a management application the other systems don't, the engineers have CAD, etc...). Applications must be tested on the new OS (you'd be in trouble if you upgraded only to find out that a critical application is incompatible). Data must be preserved (even if it's just bookmarks for their browser). The main point is that while the actual upgrade of the OS isn't difficult, the preparation and training are. Users tend to get a little upset when their PC changes. They become a bit possessive once they customize it.
      • Re:Probably... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mystran ( 545374 ) <> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:16PM (#9353592) Homepage
        It's even more costly, if you have lots of inhouse software that refuces to run under the new OS. There are still people that use DOS-applications, because there's no replacement that would allow one to move data easily. When you have a small organization, it might not be possible to afford custom built software just to replace something that works.
      • Re:Probably... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Asprin ( 545477 ) <<gsarnold> <at> <>> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:52PM (#9353724) Homepage Journal

        We just upgraded our NT4.0 servers last month... to Windows 2000. The new software we're going to be running isn't certified to run on Win2003 yet.

        The reason we upgraded? New accounting software.

        Microsoft seriously overrates the value of upgrading something that is working without having a compelling reason for doing so. Sometimes I wonder if they actually use their own software at all.
    • Re:In 10 years? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, I probably will still be running Windows 2000, if I haven't switched to Linux or another platform by then.

      I'd like to upgarde to XP, but I absolutely will not tolerate product activation in something as mission-critical as an operating system. It's not an option for me. I refuse to permit my OS vendor from deciding on a day-to-day basis whether I'm going to be allowed to boot up my machine.

      That seems to be OK for most folks, so I'm just going to put my tinfoil hat back on and go back to Win2K now.
    • Re:In 10 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:50PM (#9352961) Homepage
      If they shift Longhorn just a few more times this could well happen. ;-)
    • Re:In 10 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:51PM (#9352964)
      I got a tech support ring that a printer was not responding on Thursday.

      Ancient printer on top of a locked cabinet. Noone around could find a key and aside from the door in the front there was a power and cat5 cable coming out from a hole in the back.

      After about 10 minutes w/ my Gerber ripping the cabinet open I discovered a 486DX running a PC-DOS print server.

      Pushed the reboot button on the front of the case and to my shock it actually booted back up again (old PC HD's have a tedency not to spin back up). Tested it and it printed fine.

      Pushed the cabinet back up to the wall and chuckled to myself. Made a note in our ticket system and called it a day.

      Just a note: There's alot of shit out there running that sometimes the IT department doesn't even know about. I wouldn't doubt if there are a few other of these PCDOS print servers and prolly a few 3.1 machines around.
    • Re:In 10 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fleabag ( 445654 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:53PM (#9352977)
      In corporate land, they may well be.

      We replaced a horrible mix of Win95 and Win98 with Win2K in 2001. There is still a bit of Win95 around, but it is dying slowly.

      We are looking at Longhorn coming out in 2006 (maybe) or 2007 (probably) or 2008 (possibly). If Longhorn comes out in 2007/8 - we would not even consider upgrading until 2009. If there is no driver to change, then we would push further; Longhorn will mean new PCs, which jacks up the cost again. I could easily see a scenario where we are happily running Win2K in 2010. We might be getting a bit itchy by 2014...!

      99% of our users need email, simple office and a browser. If Win2K does the job (and it pretty much does)...then what is the incentive to drop $20 million on new PCs and a new OS roll-out? And yes, some form of Linux desktop in about 2007 looks pretty attractive to me...
    • I have clients that run DOS programs. Trust me. People will be running 2000 and XP in 10 years. Why do you think Microsoft delayed the removal of support of Windows 98? I bet they found 98 machines running in their offices.
    • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:12PM (#9353059) Homepage Journal
      When it comes to budget, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rules the day. Companies would prefer to keep using the same computer systems forever, if they did the job. And I cannot say that's really a wrong attitude.

      Of course, at many companies, the attitude is "even if it is broke, don't fix it unless it's stopping production outright". I just spent two weeks in a rather insane upgrade-a-thon at a customer, because they got bought by a larger company, and their new corporate IT department nearly had a heart attack when they saw the state of their systems. Many computers were stilling running Windows 95. Their main server was running Novell NetWare 4.11. These products are ten years old, unsupported, obsolete, and flat out broken. Win95 can't even get a DHCP lease without three patches (Y2K bugs). Oh, and a fleet of ten megabit unmanaged repeaters. And dead anti-virus software. And missing the disks for the backup software. And...

      When corporate deployed their anti-virus software to this site, it darn near exploded. Over 8000 infected files on one PC alone. Their WAN guys were screaming bloody murder about all the worm traffic coming from this site.

      It was great fun. For sufficiently small definitions of "fun".
      • by ( 410908 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:11PM (#9353319) Journal
        Chemical company, has a big, proprietary machine specially made to run some simples mixes-and-test in an automated manner.

        Damn thing breaks, refuses to start the procedure...

        reboot gives nada...oki, I have to move myself to that lab and see for myself.

        No doc, cryptic error message from the (also) proprietary software...

        Call the company that made this (still exists ! yeah !!!) and they tell me they don't have ANYONE in their organisation that has any sort of experience with that old beast... and that If I am ready to wait, they can have the documentation out of deep storage in just under a week...YUCK!

        BUT !!! they also have a name and phone number in their file about a guy that seem to be a specialist on the hardware...
        Maybe there IS an IT Gos somewhere, smiling at me...?!?

        After a quick phone call, I have some shocking news :

        1/ The guy is dead (god bless...) at a nice 85.

        2/ The guy was the former head of the Lab...yes, the Lab I was trying to service. He took retirement some 10 years ago, and was kindly making maintenance to his former company, being the one that ordered and used the machine in his time...

        ordering a full replacement machine is in the 5 zeros order....

        => I now have a nice undergraduate CS Student that is building an interface with a more modern machine (PII something I found ready for the trash bin), using Linux and the docs that came from the builder...

        It might even have a GUI 8)
    • People are still tolerating Win95 (usually becuase the computer in question is too much a POS to run anything newer) so i'd say, proably so.
    • I think they mean a 10 year LIFECYCLE, there is a big difference between 10 years from the date released and 10 years from NOW
    • Re:In 10 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hpa ( 7948 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @11:08PM (#9354044) Homepage
      One of the first "real" adoptions of Linux (like 1993-1994) on a corporate scale was a company that makes elevator controllers. Their motivation was quite simple: they need to be able to serve the elevator controller, in situ, *in 50 years*. They can't trust any company to do it for them, so they stashed away all the source code, all the tools, *AND* several computers on which the tools can be built.
    • Why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:02AM (#9354228)
      Frankly, any machine that uses a motherboard that supports the Intel 440BX chipset is ready to run Windows 2000 Professional.

      Win2K Pro--once you install Service Pack 4 and all current security patches--is actually a very nice operating system for business applications and Internet access. I myself run Win2K Pro (SP4) on a home-built system that uses the Abit AB-BM6 motherboard with a Celeron "A" 500 MHz CPU with 384 MB of RAM and all programs run decently fast.

      Another big advantage of Win2K Pro is the fact that software driver support for PC hardware is nothing short of superb. On a fast enough system with USB 2.0 and IEEE-1394 external connections (which are supported in Win2K since there is plentiful third-party driver support for these connections), Win2K is actually a pretty good platform for editing files downloaded from digital still cameras and MiniDV/MicroDV digital camcorders.

      It's no wonder why Win2K Pro is still much-liked in the corporate world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:36PM (#9352882)
    And this is why Linux is good for you, even if you don't care about the actual software and are a Windows-only user.
    • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:48PM (#9352945)

      Microsoft's domination (a much better term than "monopoly") is coming to an end.

      And the courts had absolutely no part in ending it...

      • by AcidPhish ( 785961 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:28PM (#9353114) Homepage

        Its the so called law of the jungle. With the legal systems not able to control financially powerful organisations such as M$, then the natural reaction to this problem is for open source to become one of the only competitors to M$.

        Unlike the courts, in competition such as this, the vast amounts of highly payed lawers cannot be of much use.

        • Unlike the courts, in competition such as this, the vast amounts of highly payed lawers cannot be of much use.

          One word: "patents". Nuff said.

        • Unlike the courts, in competition such as this, the vast amounts of highly payed lawers cannot be of much use.

          Sure they can: IP lawsuits. Or even threats thereof. We live in the SCO years, after all. Now, imagine a beefed-up version of SCO, with the same agenda, more cash and more cunning. With the current state of the legal system, we were lucky SCO was in only for the PR effect.

          Never underestimate the competition - especially when they can bend the rules in their favor a lot easier than you can.
    • > And this is why Linux is good for you, even if you don't care about the actual software and are a Windows-only user.

      Oh, I don't know about that. I think that my startup company may go with Windows. I only plan to host a single webserver to handle the 3M+ hits per month. I'm very focused on redundancy and recovery so if something --gods forbid-- would happen to the webserver, my backup cluster of 300 servers is ready to hop into action right away. It's really convenient that MS came up with this -and t
  • From MS' point ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pherris ( 314792 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:36PM (#9352887) Homepage Journal
    Extending XP et al lifecycles make sense. Maybe they think if people are forced to make a choice they'll go to Mac OS X, GNU/Linux or BSD.

    IMO this is a sign that other OSs are legitimate competition. I suspect this was the reason for also extending Win98's lifecycle.

  • I don' see how... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is going to help anyway, unless their liscence allows free access to the operating systems source code and allows them to modify it, Linux is still better.
    • by OldSchoolNapster ( 744443 ) <oldschoolnapster@hot m a i> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:15PM (#9353063)
      The only thing Microsoft could do to improve their software is open their source code? Amazing.

      I'll bet the guys in Redmond are slapping their foreheads as they read this post thinking, "All this time we have been doing things like making the Windows more stable (my laptop running XP hasn't crashed ONCE since my last reinstall) and supporting all kinds of wierd software and hardware, and making it easy to use. What we should have done is be more like Linux. That's easy to use and supports almost every component ever made, right?"

      I don't know what is more sad, that somebody bothered to post this drivel, that somebody modded it up, or that people actually believe it.

      Now if you will excuse me, I have to go find out which .conf file(s) I need to edit to get my tv-tuner card to work in my linux box.
      • ceace - Ye frometh thine 1990's!!

        modprobe bt989 ; mknod /dev/video1 c 81 1 ; ln -s /dev/video1 /dev/video0

        and tahts in slackware - not exactly user friendly distro of the year.

        according to hauppauge's website, it worked out the box on red hat 7.1 (afaik)

        (this is based on a bt878 chipset)
      • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:03PM (#9353277)
        my laptop running XP hasn't crashed ONCE since my last reinstall

        Comedy gold...

        • It seems to me that, regarding system instability, that when Windows has problems, it's obviously Microsoft's incompetance. When Linux crashes, quite obviously, it's my fault! Clearly, I've configured something wrong. Bad software design? No, I just don't understand the underlying framework (I guess I have to). The software is stable. The software is perfect!

          Gimme a break. Windows XP/2000 is just as stable as Linux. Both have the same caveat: proper user configuration and maintainence.
      • by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:32PM (#9353411)
        (my laptop running XP hasn't crashed ONCE since my last reinstall)

        Last reinstall? Hah! How many have there been? Those two words say more than the rest of your message.

        Now if you will excuse me, I have to go find out which .conf file(s) I need to edit to get my tv-tuner card to work in my linux box.

        Let me know when you find a find a linux distribution that says editing .conf files can destroy your box, doesn't guarantee its safety--and then makes you do it anyway like MS and editing the registry.
        We'll be waiting....
        • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:29PM (#9353638) Homepage
          I've never needed to edit the registry to install hardware. And I've installed some pretty off-the-wall hardware in my time (Windows user since Win95). Don't get me wrong, the registry is a mess (much better in NT based OS's), but it's not as bad as you make it out to be. And my WinXP on 3 different machines (one home-built, 2 laptops) runs just fine, no crashes, no reinstalls. It's not a perfect OS, but they've gotten a lot better of late.
  • No Choice... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KrisHolland ( 660643 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:37PM (#9352893) Homepage Journal
    "Microsoft Revamps Licensing Plans"

    Microsoft had no choice really. It was either extend their tech support, or watch many people turn to Linux when they next upgrade.

    This just delays that, probably until longhorn where the choice between upgrading or Linux is to be made, in about 2 years.
  • It was time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by totatis ( 734475 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:39PM (#9352915)
    Given the bad acceptance of Microsoft's licencing scheme in the IT, it was time Microsoft did something about it. It's not enough IMHO, but still.
    What I like about current situation is that the appearance of solid competitors (around Linux) and the scrutinity of judiciary entities (namely EU), we might have a real free market again in the OS field. That would be great, no matter who the winner is. Free market is always better than a vorace monopoly, and I'd like to see real progress in the field, which can only occur in a competitive market.
    I think the next few years will be very interesting, indeed. Imagine if we had as much offering in the OS field as in say the gaming field.
    • Re:It was time. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BuckaBooBob ( 635108 )
      Well with the number of patents MS is submutting a day I think they are trying to force out linux as being compatible with alot of MS's new services.. I just hope that MS's doesn't attempt to force a patented standard on the windows user base and succeed.. Hopefuly the ball will swing towards the open source standard and MS is forced to drop its patented "Technology".
  • by rah1420 ( 234198 ) <> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:41PM (#9352922)
    When the disaster strikes, and the software is enabled, will MSFT come knocking on the door with an invoice for the previously 'cold' software?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:45PM (#9352935)
    Does this mean that they don't think they can keep up the 'a new version every 3 years and you will migrate' strategy? If so, is that because they can't make enough new products (Longhorn >= 2007 ? ) or can't get people to migrate.

    • Probably a little bit of both. Personally, I find Windows 2000 stable enough not to bother spending cash and a little bit of time upgrading to XP.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:58PM (#9353002)
      If so, is that because they can't make enough new products (Longhorn >= 2007 ? ) or can't get people to migrate.

      Yes. As software improves it gets harder and harder to improve it. As software improves people see less and less reason to upgrade.

      It's called "maturation," which, for some reason, most propriatary software makers never saw coming.

      • It's called "maturation," which, for some reason, most propriatary software makers never saw coming.

        I think they did see it coming... which is why so many bugs still exist in their products (not to mention all the vaporware -- why release it until it is time to prod the market?). While they were prolonging the "upgrade cycle" open source and free software caught up to and in many ways surpassed the quality of their proprietary alternatives (not to say that open source and free software is bug-free of cou
        • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:27PM (#9353391)
          No, I really don't think the bugs are there to drive the upgrade cycle. I think the bugs are they because they really don't give a shit. Shoddy workmanship. Not the fault, for the most part, of the programmers either, but of the entire aura of the software industry, reaching even into the training the programers get in college. A lot of OSS programers fall prey to this too I'm afraid and the majority of selftaught off the internet programers don't even know enough to know what they don't know, but defend their ignorance vehemently.

          It all makes for a lot of crappy programing on all sorts of levels and there are certainly still all sorts of improvements to be made in all sorts of places.

          But even given all that software is still maturing. A word processor is a word processor and MS word processors and their spawn hit their peak with 97. emacs and vi just keep working, and working, and working. . .

          No, I really think most of the propriatary companies really believed that by following their policy of only releasing upgrades in slow cycles well below the rate they were actually developing product they could extend the process for decades, relying on technology to outpace their own release cycle.

          Yes, this has certainly played a role in letting OSS catch up and even pass their product in some cases.

          I think some of the companies just didn't think about it at all. They were young and just got caught up in the whole fervor of the thing, ploughed ahead blindly and got surprised when software turned out to be just another technology business prey to all the laws of the real world.

          Microsoft is a special case though. It's a company founded on a cult of personality more than anything else. I've never seen a company, except maybe early IBM, simply exude the personality of its founder more than Microsoft.

          And Bill is one of these people who simply does not acknowledge other people as valid other people. He has a "right to innovate." He has a right to conduct business however he likes, because his like is what's right. We get to do what he says, when he says it because we don't share his rights.

          So Microsoft simply thought they could make us upgrade forever without ever even considering that we might simply refuse. It wasn't in their world view that that was possible.

          And OSS catching up and even surpassing their product in some cases (well, virtually all really. The best Windows programs don't come from Microsoft) is certainly playing a role in disquieting them. It rattles their whole view of cosmology.

          Like the Protestant Reformation rattled the Pope.

          OSS has its own problem with maturation though. It likes to press ever onward at increasing speed and yesterday's project becomes uninteresting.

          Somebody has to do the last two percent of finishing up a project and tying a bow on it. In OSS this only seems to happen with the console programs.

  • Never Use (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pheonix5000 ( 661842 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:50PM (#9352958) Homepage
    Microsoft starts giving away free server licenses to its Software Assurance Program customers, if the PC is not actually used in production and is not present on the network So the liscence is free IF you never use it? hmmm...
  • by tji ( 74570 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:50PM (#9352962)
    free server licenses to its Software Assurance Program customers, if the PC is not actually used in production and is not present on the network

    That's a step in the right direction. But, I am not a big fan of that type of licensing. I ran into several applications that used this same logic. The problem is that we architect our services for automatic failover. So, the backup server must be available on the network at all times, and when the criteria for failover are met, it instantly takes over. It may even by synchronizing data in the background all the time.

    Only one server is every active at any given time, but both need to be running. Some licenses allow for this. But, it's obviously much harder to enforce licensing limitations in this model. It almost has to be an honor system, unless the application is fully HA aware and can ensure only one is active at any time.
    • It may even by synchronizing data in the background all the time.

      Only one server is every active at any given time

      No; you said yourself that the backup may be synchronising data, ready to takeover in the event of the primary failing. If that's the case then the machine *is* in use, it's just not serving data to clients.

      That doesn't make this new licensing scheme bad, it just means that it's not appropriate for your use (or ours, as it happens, as we tend to set things up as you describe too)
  • 10 years?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:51PM (#9352966)
    IT guy: Lets switch to linux, otherwise we're simply going to fall behind our competitors
    MD: No way! We still have 3 years on our licensing with Microsoft, we can't just throw money away!

    [in 3 years]
    MD: Hey Microsoft have given us a new 40% discount for a 3,000 year licensing plan! We can't possibly move to Linux now!
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:00PM (#9353006) Homepage Journal
    IIRC, it used to be five years for most of Microsoft's Windows products.

    In contrast, Linux's supposed #1 commercial distribution, Redhat? All official support was pulled after 16 months. I hope people can lobby to keep enterprise business away from Redhat.
    • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:34PM (#9353145) Homepage
      We moved from RedHat for that reason.

      Nonetheless, their decision was a business one and a legitimate decision at that. Linux and Open Source in general have a development model of release early, release often. If a bug is spotted, it's generaly corrected by a new release, not a bug fix to an existing release.

      If you don't like that model companies, RedHat included, are willing to backport patches to earlier releases. You can subscribe to such services for $$$.

      Basically, Linux comes in two flavours, one for early adopters, happy to patch adn upgrade as necessary, the other is for those who want long term stability. The first one can be free as in beer, the second can too, but much more rarely. If you need the kind of support and stability offered by option two, you're probably willing to pay for it, and quite possibly willing to pay redhat for it.

    • Apples & Oranges (Score:3, Informative)

      by RoLi ( 141856 )
      You are comparing apples & oranges here, when support for some Windows-version runs out, you are screwed, no more security updates - you certainly can't apply a service pack for WinXP to WinNT.

      With any Linux distribution however, because of the modular structure, you are able to upgrade whatever is needed yourself - almost forever.

      Of course the average Winlot will never acknowledge this fact...

    • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @11:40PM (#9354159) Homepage Journal
      Redhat? All official support was pulled after 16 months.

      What exactly does that mean? How do you pull support of free software? What's keeping anyone from moving to Fedora or Debian? As another poster has mentioned, you can replace any part of any free system yourself anytime. Help is cheap and competent. Security seems like a non issue too.

      Distributions like Debian make the version change as easy as apt-get upgrade. Fedora is moving in that direction, if it's not already there.

      I've never suffered data loss due to changing software since changing over to Red Hat 5.1. The data grew from there through Red Hat 7 and then to Debian potato, woody and now sarge. I did this on two different computers, but it could just as easily have been one.

      What kind of "support" did I need? Zero. How many support calls did I have make? None because I quickly learned that Google + LUG is a much faster way to get answers.

      Before I knew what I was doing, I paid someone $50 to set something up for me. It was easy to find the help locally, even in 1998. If you live in a big enough town, you will have a magnet high school with a BSD or Linux lab and many cluefull people. University towns are crawling with CS students who also know what they are doing and need cash nights and weekends. When they graduate, they are worth their weight in M$ licenses and EULAs.

      In the last six years, I've never had a security issue outside of Windows. This might be because I've continuously upgraded my software, but it still looks easier to protect old Linux boxes than Winblows. Even if I were so terribly lazy that I did not do security upgrades, I can still keep old machines from running dangerous services or make effective firewalls for them.

      So, I don't understand the fuss. What trouble have you really had?

      • First, an off-topic question to the moderators: How can self-professed ignorance ("I don't get it.") be insightful?

        Next, a response to the parent.

        When corporations talk about "official support," they're looking for a couple of things that F/OSS can't give them:

        1. Somewhere else to point the finger of blame.
        2. The ability to "crack the whip."

        Number one is standard CYA; if you do your own software support, then it's clearly your fault when things aren't working. The fundamental rule of succeeding in Corporat

    • by danny ( 2658 ) on Monday June 07, 2004 @02:11AM (#9354544) Homepage
      Red Hat's commercial Enterprise Linux [] is supported for five years.

      And even with the non-commercial offerings... Well, Fedora Legacy is still providing updates for Red Hat Linux 7.3, and I'm confident there'll be no problems finding updates for Fedora Core 1 for at least another three years.

      I agree that Red Hat did a shocking job of explaning what was happening when they changed their product line and started Fedora, though.


  • by e_AltF4 ( 247712 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:02PM (#9353014)
    ... and is not present on the network
    If you need your "free" backup sever after 18 months without any network connection (updates, security patches and application changes) and then attach it to the internet you might be not so happy with the results.

    Sasser & Co would eat you alive before you could even say "Hell, where's the Windows Update Button ?" or "Why is this crashing ? We installed the fix for the application 6 months ago!".

    Hopefully MS will allow network connections for updates. It would probably be cheaper to have a license ready instead of burning the "Update DVDs Du Jour" just in case you need it.

    Just my 5 €-Cents
  • So, um (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:03PM (#9353020)
    What you're saying is that

    1. Microsoft isn't going to make people play for licenses of Windows that they aren't using

    2. Microsoft isn't going to force upgrades anymore, at least not exactly.

    Gee, how altruistic of them.
  • Let me guess (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 )

    "Microsoft Revamps Licensing Plans"

    Such a headline always sounds like good news. Let me guess... This new Microsoft licensing plans will be good for customers, good for competition and especially good for free software including, but not limited to, GNU GPL, and there will be lots of positive feedback on Slashdot, am I right? Am I right? Please tell me I am! OK, I'll RTFA... Somehow I have a bad feeling, I don't know why... It must be that tin-foil hat and all that, I guess... *sigh*

  • DRP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j3ll0 ( 777603 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:17PM (#9353070)

    At the very least, this legitimizes the DRP testing that regulated industries (ie Pharmaaceutical) are required to carry out annually.

    In many cases these are full blown restoration of service off the corporate network.

    It happens now, but at least it will hapen in compliance with licensing agreements.

  • by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) * <doug@openge[ ]org ['ek.' in gap]> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:17PM (#9353071) Homepage Journal
    in action.

    All of this really makes me happy. If I am forced to use Microsoft products, then I have a decent shot at a better deal because of the FS/OSS products I make most use of today.

    It hardly gets better than that. Thanks to everyone who has worked hard to get us this far. For everyone else, myself included, please consider contributing in some fashion. You can write docs, test, pass the word along, purchase some software and get a nice box, etc...

    OSS: You get more than you contribute in return. How cool is that!

  • One question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:18PM (#9353077) Homepage Journal

    "Microsoft Revamps Licensing Plans"

    Please tell me, "to revamp" is a verb from "revenge," isn't it? Why do I always have bad feelings when I read "Microsoft," "licensing," "competition" and "Linux" in the same sentence? I must be paranoid or something.

    (By the way, wouldn't it make more sense if the link "as Reuters article suggests" actually pointed to the Reuters article [] instead of the Yahoo link which suspiciously looks like pay-per-click partnership program URL?)

  • Same old practice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vector0319 ( 530769 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:20PM (#9353086) Homepage Journal
    This article seems to remind me of the same thing M$ has been doing for years. They drop prices, work out licensing deals with organizations (ala University of Maryland), give away stuff, etc just to get their product in your hands, on your network, and essential to your computing life. M$ is not dumb. They have alot of smart people all working towards the same goal.

    Also I don't think linux pressure has anything to do with it. I'm just sick of their licensing practices period and I think that attitude is what is changing things. Who wants to pay extra money to have a server sitting around doing nothing? Not me. That being said I would rather use linux for core systems whenever possible.

    Anyway I think alot of the posts so far are good especially the one pertaining to the updates on an offline server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:29PM (#9353117)
    With the number of recent stories about Microsoft changing their mind about something (the SP2 install story being the most recent), how long does everyone think it'll be before we see a retraction of this policy, with something along the lines of "Someone spoke out of turn again" being said?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:29PM (#9353119)
    As usual, they make a big deal of changes that are complete bullshit. Like there were people who were thinking, "Gee, I wish I could build a redundant server in case we ever need it, but that would mean buying an extra license or violating our existing license. I better just hope nothing happens to our primary server."

    These are not the licensing changes you're looking for, move along.
  • baby steps (Score:3, Funny)

    by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:34PM (#9353144)
    Oh wow -- free licensing for computers that are turned off! I can't wait to load up that baby and turn off the computer to see how it runs.
    Well, it's a step in the right direction anyways.
    Bob Wiley: Baby step to four o'clock. Baby step to four o'clock [].

    Good for disaster situations, but I'm sure a lot of people have already been using this "new" licensing scheme for a while now.

  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:38PM (#9353156) Homepage Journal
    Any chance that we'll get the legal option to connect a thin client to an XP box without booting off the user on the console?
  • makes you wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrisopherpace ( 756918 ) <cpace&hnsg,net> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:50PM (#9353212) Homepage
    1.) Just how much exactly is Microsoft afraid of Linux? How much marketshare does Microsoft percieve Linux to take?
    2.) How will Microsoft know if its plugged into the network? As well as the fact that a server w/o updates or recent data (yeah, I'm sure you could use removeable storage for that, but there goes the TCO), will be pretty much worthless. If it takes 8 hours to get recent data on it, and install the past 6 months worth of updates, how useful is it really? In addition, I don't like the idea that a server may be "calling home" to confirm that it is not in use. Sounds like a setup to me.
    3.) With the longer product life, is Microsoft realising that people actually don't want to upgrade their OS every 5 years, especially for mission critical devices?
    • by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:07PM (#9353300) Journal
      Everything from M$ since Win95, calls home if it's online in any way. Some firewalls can prevent this. Your box also gets snooped anytime you update. The Community College I just finised at was very careful about licenses due to fear. All classroom boxes were online. When it was time to update, the sysadmins did one box and then did the rest from ISO's, so M$ never snooped all the boxes. They also used deepfreeze, every time a box was rebooted, it was done from an approved image and anything downloaded or saved to the hard drive was lost. All boxes were shut down every night. They just didn't want to blow their discounts from M$.
      • Other than getting automatic updates, if configured properly, I do not recall anything like this. Do you have a link or two to confirm this? Sounds like an overly amount of paranoia, given that ive seen in the 30s-40s of pirated installations, that Microsoft never knew of. These installations were probably active for 3, maybe 4 years. Windows 98 and 2000 were the main culprits of piracy, I've found.
        • by BCW2 ( 168187 )
          They mainly snoop for Windows and office. A friend has a legal XP home machine with Office XP, and a pirated copy of Visual Studio. Never had a Problem with updates. M$ does check for a valid Win XP even in manual update. The early versions did not work very well and were easy to bypass. I fixed my old Win 95 box so that M$ never checked anything.

          The activation "feature" of XP is the only security related thing M$ evr did that worked the way they wanted., and most of us consider it a bug.
    • by tshak ( 173364 )
      1.) Just how much exactly is Microsoft afraid of Linux?

      Most people on /. keep asking the wrong question. The question is, "Just how much exaclty is Microsoft afraid of Apple". Apple is the one making huge headway on the desktop, not any Linux distro. I'm a developer who mainly works with MS technologies (C#, MSSQL Server, etc.) and it's amazing how many MS developers (even MS employees) have Powerbooks at home. The hardware is awesome, the OS solid, it's unix, and it has better office productivity sof
      • by hbo ( 62590 ) *
        Apple is famous for not understanding the "enterprise" market. Their platform is cool, but they haven't a clue about how to support it in a large business environment, which is something Microsoft knows quite a bit about. Combine that with the fact that licenses for multiple tens of thousands of desktop machines adds up to heart-stopping-serious money, even at volume discounts, and you see why there is growing interest around Linux on the desktop.

        Don't get me wrong, I lust after the newer Apple equipment.
    • by grotgrot ( 451123 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:36PM (#9353668)
      Just how much exactly is Microsoft afraid of Linux? How much marketshare does Microsoft percieve Linux to take?

      You should remember just how Microsoft took over.

      • They very rarely drop backwards compatibility - the old VisiCalc binary runs even today
      • They realised the value is making their suite of operating systems and applications appear like they had almost everything in common, even if under the hood they didn't. For example look at how little shared code there was in the office suite or how the desktop and server operating systems were fundamentally different
      • They entered all markets. This created a circle where if you had Windows on the desktop, you were more inclined to run it on the server, the notebook and the palmtop.
      • They created tight linkages between Microsoft software on different machines for example in authentication schemes, web browsers and servers, file system protocols, networking (uPnP) etc
      • Where their platform was not number one, they gave the development tools away for free
      • They have always done a really good job on developer information (MSDN)
      • They offer very little choice. For example look at how many different authentication schemes you can actually run on a Microsoft network, there is exactly one web server, one web browser, one gui environment, one distributed component system, two office suites, one developer environment, one device driver model (now), one way of doing i18n ...

      All of those practices appeal to managers ("it is easier to manage Windows servers and palmtops if you already manage Windows desktops"), developers ("write once, run anywhere") and users ("if you know how to use win95, you can use WinXP"). (As geeks we all know there is devil in the details but those statements are largely true in the big picture)

      Linux on the desktop is becoming the threat because that means it becomes credible to have Linux everywhere (servers, palmtops) (ie the same reasons why Windows spread like a virus :-)

      The Linux companies are slowly doing some of the same things, but at a far slower rate, and IMHO far more stupidly (ahem RedHat, take a bow). But Microsoft never makes the mistake of underestimating their competitors, and these actions are consistent with them learning what lead to their own success and ensuring the same doors won't be wide open for Linux.

  • more old news (Score:4, Informative)

    by lseltzer ( 311306 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:10PM (#9353314)
    Once again /. breaks a month-old story [].
  • snicker (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TastyWords ( 640141 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:36PM (#9353434)
    If the servers have to be turned off until they are needed and the original servers are running Windows, how often do you think the backup servers be turned on?

    I don't think Microsoft thought about that. And I'm certain they think their servers will stay online to compete with Linux. On top of that, I'm not certain I understand how an offline server is competing with Linux.

    There's a simple question here:
    Are they stupid or do they think we're stupid enough to believe this?
    Get your hip-waders out folks, it's getting deep very fast.
  • by Sgs-Cruz ( 526085 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:37PM (#9353441) Homepage Journal
    We don't necessarily need to see Linux destroy Microsoft - I'd be happy if all it does if force them to make good, secure, software that isn't insanely expensive.

    And it seems to be working.

  • by greycortex ( 600578 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:27PM (#9353628) Journal
    Such licensing would be convenient for disaster recoveries, where it's important to replace a failed server as soon as possible without calling Microsoft support or licensing partner
    That's funny. The last disaster recovery I was involved with kicked off with scrapping all of the hard drives. IIS, Exchange, and Windows 2000 Server were tossed and replaced with Apache and Sendmail on a couple of Mandrake boxes. Our network was lightning fast after that upgrade. It took a complete and utter failure of both the primary and secondary domain controllers for us to realise how stupid keeping the MS machine oiled is.
  • MS using MAC? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rspress ( 623984 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:36PM (#9353929) Homepage
    Sounds like MAC (Microsoft Ass Covering). The reason is two fold.

    1. Since all those people who have software update contracts with MS have basically gotten squat from them in the way of software this may pacify those business who purchased the plans. Better yet it may cover the ass of the IT department who said purchasing those plans would pay for itself in the long run.

    2. It provides a band-aid, even though it would not help that much, for the glut of worms and viri that have cost businesses money, data, lost employee hours and customers. More than likely if a system administrator was stupid enough to let his system get infected in the first place he would probably infect the backup server when he went to recover the files.

    Even though both of these things would really help MS in the long run, at least in the PR department, they still have to add a bunch of stipulations to getting the software. I think Microsoft would be happier if they got the PR and the stipulations meant that only 1 or 2 people were eligible to get the free software. They also blew a really good chance of helping to dispel the truth that their OS is full of security holes by allowing those with pirated copies to download the "more secure" SP2, but they quickly jerked that back and gave about the lamest statement to come from a software company to the press about it. Who knows, it could be a smart move if SP2 is not as secure as MS has been claiming it is.....they can just blame the pirates or linux or both.

    Microsoft is used to shooting itself in the foot but lately they seem to like emptying the whole clip into instead of just a single shot. It makes me wonder who is behind all this, Gates or Ballmer?
  • Good news for DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:49PM (#9353976) Journal
    Licenses are the olden day version of DRM. They're restrictive (if followed) and take away our right to do stuff with software we supposedly own (which we really don't. We just rent it).

    How the hell did such licenses become so popular? Because there was no competition. Everyone was doing it so you had a choice. Use software with a restrictive license or don't use software. But we have alternatives now, so why does everyone still use software with restrictive licenses? Because the software became the standard (i.e. Microsoft).

    People are shit-scared this will happen with DRM. But this article shows alternatives slowly starting to alter restrictive licenses. This is a Good Thing (TM) because if they can do it after such licenses have become the norm, they should be able to affect DRM and hurt it a lot.
  • That's nice (Score:3, Funny)

    by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @10:52PM (#9353988) Homepage Journal
    As benevolent as Bill is being with this, when are they going to release the source code?

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.