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Windows Refund Day update 207

We've been locked out of the offices that Microsoft promised would be open today. Rick Moen: says... Its been a huge success... the message has been heard everywhere... there were TONS of reporters... from Chris DiBona: it was disappointed but unsuprised that the elevators to the 9th floor where Microsoft resides... were disabled. He was seen later telling reporters that if this one piece of the license was bogus, then the whole thing was worthless and that this means that people should feel free to copy and distribute Microsoft products to the world. He also noted that he would not wish this fate on any of his friends.
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Windows Refund Day update

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  • John Zachary was caught uttering the following rant...
    You don't have a choice? What OS are you using right now to read this?
    OS/2 (or I could be using Linux or Be right now), but that's only because I took proper steps to INSURE that. I think only 10-20% of computer owners are actually saavy enough to do this.
    I'm not sure what the logic is with this supposed lack of choice. Unless you put your computer together from scratch, you bought it from some vendor. Did you buy it knowing a priori that it would come with Windows? If this was so distasteful, why didn't you exercise your choice and
    • buy from a vendor that doesn't sell computers with Windows such as VA Research or
    • put your own computer together?
    Why is it that if you want a machine without Windows pre-installed, you have to either go to one of the niche dealers (which most beginning customers won't do, due to lack of information) or put one together by hand? That's like walking up to all of the car dealers in town, telling them what you want, and all of them replying: "Hey, if you want this specific model of car, then you can drive 50 miles to a dealer that specializes in that model or put it together yourself!"

    That isn't choice. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

    Choice in the operating systems market would be me getting my mother to call Dell and having Dell walk my mother through the purchase of a machine down to having her pick the 3-4 OSes they happen to be installing at the time. (And no, before you use VA Research ala Microsoft using BeOS in it's defense, let me just say that VA Research, for all it's potential is NOT Dell and isn't Gateway either)

    I'll believe there is choice in this market when does finally happen, and not one minute before.
  • My last hardware upgrade (a new motherboard) was a nightmare. Linux booted up without a hitch. I only needed to turn on VIA busmastering and ATX poweroff support, but that was not necessary to get a running system. Windoze on the other hand went ape shit when it found my new motherboard. It decided it wanted new drivers for my PCI bus. These drivers came on a cdrom with the motherboard, and my cdrom drive is attached to (you guessed it) a PCI SCSI card. Can you say catch-22? I eventually had to reboot to Linux and copy all the drivers to my hard drive before I could even get Windoze to boot. I fscking hate plug-and-pray. The only reason '95 is still on my hard drive is for games, but at the rate Wine is going that reason may soon vanish and my world will be a much happier place for it.
  • Have you looked at the junk parts that OEM's are putting in their PC's to save a few bucks, especially the likes of Compaq, Acer, and Packard Bell? Things like Winmodems, cheap hard drives, etc. The parts sold to the OEM's are often of lower quality that those that are sold retail. Don't get me wrong, they still pass QA, but they fall in the lower range of what passes, so they sell them to the OEM's and don't have to have them as closely associated with their brand name.

    Cost savings is part of the reason MS has been so sucessful in strongarming the OEM's into exclusive contracts. The OEM's are trying to keep costs to a minimum becuase their market is so competitive. They would rather make a deal with the devil^H^H^H^H^H MS for a deep discount on Windows rather than have to pay retail price for it and have to pass that cost on to the consumer, thus losing their competitive edge. Until these exclusive licenses are ruled illegal, this practice will continue and MS will have the OEM's on a short leash.

  • Heh.. well, IIRC, there's a little bit of a joke here -- People were supposed to get back a few Presidents (a.k.a. Dollars) on Presidents' day.. Made sense to me ;-)

    But yeah, it's kind of bad to have it on a holiday..
  • You mean they locked off the single floor?!?! I have serious questions about that..
  • I hope you were goofing off when you wrote that.. "Lunix"?!? "arguement"? "thes"?

    Oh well, probably shouldn't have said anything..
  • Interesting, never knew of this. Obligatory links: 1 [aoc.gov], 2 [hypermart.net].

    Note that Hanson was President of the United States in Congress Assembled", not "President of the United States", the current office.

  • Subject:
    [svlug] Other report posted on freebsd list
    15 Feb 1999 23:59:26 GMT
    marc_news@merlins.org (Marc MERLIN)
    Private Linux Box proudly running a modified RedHat Linux 5.2

    ------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------

    From: Gregory Sutter
    To: freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG, freebsd-chat@FreeBSD.ORG, announce@bafug.org
    Subject: Windows Refund Day: Bay Area Report
    Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 15:14:38 -0800

    FreeBSD folk,

    This report is being written from the CoffeeNet, where we've all met
    after the event in Foster City. We didn't exactly "storm the Gates",
    but both the Linux and FreeBSD communities turned out in force,
    accompanied by a couple of others (I saw a Sun and an SCO person).
    We got to the parking garage where the Microsoft "welcome table" was
    set up. There were Microsoft-sponsored refreshments and a lot of
    press, including many major stations.

    A few of us grabbed some press members with cameras and headed for
    the main entrance. We arrived and were greeted by a friendly
    Microsoft security guard, who told us that we were not allowed to go
    up to the ninth floor (where the Microsoft offices are). When the
    press members began questioning her, she called another person, who
    apparently called security, because they showed up long before any
    Microsoft representative would talk to us.

    I was interviewed by several press members at this time, right from
    the lobby of the Microsoft office. Several others had arrived by this
    time and we were becoming more forceful in our attempts to get to the
    Microsoft Office. People began getting on the elevators, only to find
    that they had been locked down so that nobody could visit the ninth
    floor. those going to the tenth and using the stairs found that the
    stair doors were locked from the inside as well, so nobody actually got
    into the office. (Later, they locked the elevators down completely.)

    After twenty minutes or so of increased numbers of refund attempters, a
    person claiming to be a Microsoft representative appeared. While
    several of us attempted to get some straight answers out of him, he
    would only give us the typical Microsoft doubletalk. He handed out a
    sheet explaining Microsoft's statement on the refund policy[1] and would
    only echo what was contained on that paper. Although several tried, we
    were unable to get him to admit even that this was Microsoft policy and
    not just a random statement.

    Around this time, the rest of the group arrived and the press began
    seriously interviewing everyone. I saw Eric Raymond and many others
    being questioned repeatedly on the purpose of the gathering and whether
    Microsoft had issued a statement. There was a _lot_ of mass media
    presence at the event, and Microsoft's attempts to stonewall us at the
    door didn't impress anyone. I look forward to the news reports tonight
    and tomorrow.

    Toward the end, we all just stood in the courtyard and kibitzed before
    finally breaking up around 1:45 to return to our regularly scheduled
    activities (and a fine gathering at the CoffeeNet). Gregory Sutter,
    reporting for OSS News[2], signing off.

    [1] For the full document, see
    after 20:00 PST today.

    [2] and Daemon News.

    Gregory S. Sutter My reality check just bounced.
    PGP DSS public key 0x40AE3052
    ------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------

    "Microsoft is to software what McDonalds is to gourmet cooking"

    Home page: http://marc.merlins.org/ (friendly to non IE browsers)
    Finger marc_f@merlins.org for PGP key and other contact information

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  • If you care to research the issue, this is known as the "resale doctrine" of copyright. Licensed software is arguably not a sale of copyrighted materials (the software is covered by copyright, but you have merely licensed, not bought it). Pick a fight with a lawyer or go look at misc.int-property [misc.int-property] or Findlaw [findlaw.org] for more information.

  • That had to be the quietest gathering of this ilk I've ever been to. Maybe it had something to do with the sterileness of the surroundings.

    Glass, steel, fake-looking (but real) landscaping.


    I want to die peacefully in my sleep as my grandfather did...

  • Actually, it's "Presidents' Day"... note, plural Presidents. The specific Presidents referenced are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who both had birthdays in February. Both centuries dead, and thus obviously longer ruling, and both generally considered among the "great" American Presidents.

    I think our _current_ President's day was a few days ago, when the lynch mob failed to get the votes they needed for conviction...
  • do not wish to force to pay for it!

    In my case, I need to keep my copy, but the language in a contract can be deemed unenforceable if the conditions are onerous.

    See those signs, saying your lost belongings are strictly your responsibility? Depending where you are a good lawyer can turn that disclaimer into a joke.

    Moreover, since we are talking of law, for which I suspect you hold the same level of expertise as I: None! Consider where auto manufacturers had similar contracts, that were thrown out, because there was too great of an asymmetry of power between the writer and the buyer. You may have gone to law school, but like our esteemed congress representatives in the House and Senate have demonstrated, (despite most being trained as lawyers) ignorance of the law. The contract writer may not hold the power entirely in their hands, no matter how clever their words may be. That will be for a higher court to determine, rather than either I or you may deem as the correct Opinion.
  • If you can order ten thousand hard drives, you can get Compaq prices too.
    Otherwise, forget it. You're crazy if you think you can buy in single digits and get within 30 percent of the bulk rate.
    That's business: you seem not to be aware of it. Have you bought any electronic part in quantities over a hundred, even? I have- your wonderful retailer might be THREE TIMES the bulk price depending on the exact part.
    Sorry: DIY costs significantly more.
  • Posted by BobDole:

    Microsoft is between a rock and a hard place.
    They can't force someone to accept the EULA. And they can't make someone pay for the software if they don't accept the EULA. If they do not give the refunds, they are commiting breech of contract and liable to not only civil lawsuit for the cost of the product, legal costs, and punitive damages, but also it provides more food for the DOJ because then they would be forcing people to choose Windoze.
  • Posted by Mr. Assembly:

    You know this just shows why software "licences" or EULAs (end user license agreements) are such a big scam. Its an excuse for big companies to sue somebody for putting an extra copy on a server somewhere, but yet they don't intend to keep their end of the so called "agreement". If I were these people knocking on the door today, I would see if Microshaft knows how to say the words "class action". Maybe they would have a harder time locking the doors to a proccess server.
    You know, do these guys even know that they have a really bad PR problem on their hands? Do they even care????
  • Posted by Mr. Assembly:

    It could be like that beer commercial during the superbowl. If you ran out of toilet paper you could always grab the EULA..........
  • Posted by hrearden:

    1. Call Dell, GW2K, Micron, etc. Get your money back the proper way. Actually, I think MS said this early on, when you buy a Tshirt from the MAll, do you Storm Haynes for a refund?
    2. Just because you disagree on a licensing agreement does not give you right to violate it. I suppose if you sold me a house and I dont like it and I think I should get my money back and you dont like it, well, I guess I can just storm your door down and DEMAND you give me what I want. We have courts for this - use them please.
  • If you'd actually been following this story, you'd have known that.

    That is precisely the catch-22 that people are protesting, in case you hadn't noticed. MS says it's not their problem because you have to take it to the vendor. The vendor says it's not their problem because MS won't compensate them for the returned product.
  • The point was valid though. If MS can't hold up its end of the EULA, then the user should not be responsible for holding up his end either. To say anthing else is hypocracy.
  • I think you are missing the point to why 99.999% of the people buy computers. It isn't to spend countless sleepless hours tweaking /etc files or poring through video card and monitor docs to make sure settings will work under X Windoze. It isn't because they want to make sure they are using kernel version by recompiling their kernel every other day. It isn't to use vi/emacs/gcc/gdb to write their own check balancing program from scratch in C because current offerings have some obscure bug that can't be fixed because the former developers got bored with the project. It isn't because they want to go out and learn obscure markup commands in LaTeX to help their kids write a report for school or update their resume.


    I got one question.

    What in the hell does this entire message have to do with Free Choice, or paying for something that you didn't ask for?

    Frankly I could give a shit if you like NT more or not, although I would question your choice in forums to discuss such a thing.

  • So, please try your best to explain what choices are being suppressed by your lack of getting a refund? I don't think the refund has anything to do with choice; it reeks of mob rules from a group of people who are used to everything being free of charge.

    Here we go with another car analogy... (Screen fades like a pool of water and whooping sound ensues..)

    Ok. You just bought a ford from the dealership. Ford's, they run basically on Unleaded Gasoline. Some of them are nice cars, some of them suck rocks.

    But, Ford Motor Co. uses dealerships to sell their stock.

    Now, imagine going into a Ford Dealership and finding out that you have to purchase this special attachment to your gas tank to use FORD brand gas, and there's no way to get out of it, unless you want to buy a different car. And, it is common knowledge that most cars run better on unleaded gas than on FORD brand gas.

    But, there are only Ford Gas Stations around. So, if you buy a chevy, honda, diahatsu (sp) or whatever, you might as well start storing your gasoline in your tank, because you sure as hell aren't going to find it outside of specialty areas.

    Hopefully this made the point. This has little or nothing to do with Linux, Be, OS/2, or whatever, it has to do with the fact that people would like the choice that they deserve. Windows (or the FORD gas adapter, with the gas being binaries/whatnot) is the only thing that's keeping itself in business. There are no technological advantages to using windows, nor are there really any "ease of use" issues that are truthfully prevalent in windows that do not exist anywhere else.

    Other operating systems have installers. I'd say a good 90% of Windows being a force period in the market has to do with 3 things:

    1) Monopolistic Power (ie, bundling with PC's)
    2) Binary Compatibility
    3) Name (that of being the only one that most people know)

    When people see, hear, and speak about a subject, when they only know one answer or topic of discussion, the actual discussion of hte topic itself is moot because there is nothing to discuss. Hence if there is only Windows, there is only Windows to discuss and alternatives are ignored due to the fact of ignorance.

  • had lotsa fun walkin n talkin and waving to the passing cars, and up in SF, lotsa good free food...i had nothing to returnto M$, but had lotsa fun joking etc.


    HotsOS home http://hotsos.8m.com/
  • Linux users advocating software piracy is not something I'd like to see on the news. In this case, however, I think people will see it for what it is: a sign of frustration that Microsoft refuses to honor (or tell OEMs to honor) what is practically the single responsibility taken on by Microsoft and it's distributors in the EULA. If they can't even honor this one point in the EULA, why should they expect anyone else to honor their responsibilities under the EULA?

    IMO Microsoft is every bit as bad as the biggest software pirates out there. Neither one of them will live up to their responsibilities. It just looks worse when Microsoft does it because it's hypocritical as well as immoral, irresponsible, and illegal. By refusing to honor their agreement to give refunds to those people who do not want the software and refuse to agree to the EULA, Microsoft is stealing from those people. They can't sit on their high horse and tell the world how software piracy is theft while they are doing the same thing to us. They wrote the damn EULA, they should live up to it.

  • >Ok, not to be tha nit picker here, but it was
    > Han that said "Let the Wookie win" to C3PO

    Oops ... you're wrong.

    I guess I get to be the nitpicker.

    C3PO complains to Han about Chewbacca's anger at losing.
    Han says (in essence) that Wookies have been known to pull people's arms out of their sockets when that happens.
    C3PO says to R2: "I suggest a different strategy - let the Wookie win".
  • Perhaps:

    C3PO: "Let the Wookie win."

    (As in - Microsoft looses, it'll do the electronic equiv. of rip people's arms off)

  • At least in the copy of the NT 4.0 EULA I have handy, the words are:

    If the SOFTWARE PRODUCT was purchased by you as part of a Microsoft packaged product, you may return it to your place of purchase for a full refund.

    (Emphasis added.)

    So, don't go to MS, go to wherever you bought the system from.
    MS never wants to deal with you, only with your money.

  • You're right that if the EULA is invalid, people would only have the default permissions that copyright law grants them -- that is, none. However, they don't have that permission, nor a lot of other permissions, under the EULA.

    People would still have the legal right to use the software, however.
  • That's true. The problem is that you've paid Microsoft for the privilege of using the software. If you can't use the software for whatever reason (such as not agreeing to the license), they have to give you a refund.

    If MS forces you to pay the money, even if you don't agree to the license, then the contract is coerced. That means that the contract is no longer valid.

    You are correct in that copyright still applies. However, the provisions in the EULA go way beyond copyright; the provisions include things like no disassembly, no reverse-engineering, can only use on the computer you bought it with, etc. And nothing in copyright law says that, once you've bought and paid for a copy and possess it, that you can't use it. You can't copy it, of course, but you can use it on a single machine. And decompile it, and disassemble it, and reverse-engineer it, and remove it from one computer and reinstall it on another, etc.
  • They called a month ago when arranging this thing. The offices were supposed to be open. Plus, MS has known about this event (and the timing of it) for at least a couple of weeks-- they have had official and unofficial reponses. You figure they could have mentioned it then, if the hours had changed.

    Nope. They are just hiding. Scared of bad press-- so they figure no press is better.
  • I'd imagine that the vast majority of these people already tried contacting their vendors. If the vendor won't do it, then it's only logical to go one step above the ladder. What you're saying is that the salesperson who sold you the product won't help you, so now you're SOL. No point in trying to go to his superior. Since this seems to be a problem that spans companies who are all selling MS OSs, I'd say a class action lawsuit is well founded. But then again, IANAL... but I'd also bet that YANALE. Here's my view of the situation. MS wrote the license, the EULA is an agreement between the user and MS.

    It would seem to me that MS would be able to handle some freaking frefunds. I mean what percentage of people will actually want a refund? 1 or 2% maybe? Hell it would be virtually 0 if their contracts with OEM's weren't so restrictive.

  • Well from what I understand, the dorks all went to their local Microsoft office instead of the OEM that sold them the PC with Windows pre-installed, which is what they have to do to get a refund.

    So no, they didn't get money back. Why? They were barking up the wrong side of the tree. It WAS the right tree, however.
  • I'd also like to point out several vendors do push out boxes with alternative OSes preinstalled, and make quite a nice business out of doing so...

    I refer, of course, to VA Research, Penguin Computing, and the others that I can't remember the name of (because I don't buy prebuilt computers, not that they're not worth remembering.)
  • Just thought I'd point out, Userfriendly.org's comic today is about Refund Day kind of... I thought it was funny anyways.
  • You make it sound much easier than it really is. There does not exist a single vendor of laptops that will sell you a new laptop without Windows.

    Even VA Research laptops come with Windows, although it is not installed by default.
  • John, you are sadly mistaken if you think that people can easily buy computers without Windows. For instance, there is no x86 laptop vendor in the world who will sell you a new laptop without Windows. Even VA Research laptops come bundled with Windows.

    Your suggestion that people can avoid Windows by building their own computers also does not apply to laptops. It is simply not possible to build a laptop from parts.

    If you can point me to a single vendor who will, from the start, sell me an Intel x86-based laptop without making me buy Windows, then I will concede your point. Until then, you must accept the fact that there is currently no choice available in this market.
  • Actually, instaed of advocating piracy of the windows software, one must remember that there are two sides of every contract. Microsoft has said in the EULA that if you weren't going to agreee to the EULA, then you sohuld take it back foe a refund. This implies that Microsoft should have made provisions for those who were going to request a refund. This was THEIR side of the deal. You upheld your side by trying to get the aforementioned refund due you by not using, or having any desire so to use their software (and who can blame you?). Therefore it up to them to keep up their side of that deal as was proposed, written and placed in the EULA by microsoft. Further, this failure of microsoft to follow up on it's side of the EULA then (I could be wrong, but I dinnae think so) this constitutes Breach of Contract on the part of microsoft.

    Can we say "Class Action Lawsuit" boys and girls?
    Sure, I knew you could.

    just my two shillings worth
  • Well, We at our little store allow for free choice of an operating system and don't tie you down to Windows. So now we need to find the other 199,999 PC makers are
  • Well, I don't know if this is what it sounds like but if:

    Is this really a holiday about a damn politician? A live and even a currently ruling one???

    Wow, I can see them try something like that here (Sweden). A day for Göran Persson hahahaha, he wouldn't dare to set his foot in the country for 30 years, and I wouldn't want to be them the next elections...
  • And the places of purchase more often than not say "no" to the refund- which the contract plainly indicates is supposed to happen.
  • I was unable to attend this event and would really like to see some narrated pictures. Please? :)
  • This was significant, not in the fact that they wanted to just get their money back but in the fact that they were sick and tired of having a program they didn't want pushed on them.

    Their next step probably will be vendors (boycotts?) and will probably have the same reaction.

    As for it being a holiday, Microsoft told callers they would be open. They probably just bailed out when they realized what may happen.

    I wish I was there, but I couldn't be. Too bad. But to those who where there, think of what it was like. Linux has often been called David to Microsoft Goliath. This was in essence a slingshot forward.

    And about this hurting Linux and Open Source? Forget that. It is too strong now, and this was just people who wanted to return something that they didn't use.

    If you were given a glass of water every time you asked for an empty glass, wouldn't you be upset it you wanted the glass for juice or pop or whatever?

    (Usually I come up with good analogies, but today I'm not.)

    So don't give the masses who don't want the included software any trouble.

  • Hey, since some are suggesting that the EULA is between the OEM and the end user, then how could Microsoft uphold the anti-piracy aspects of the EULA? Shouldn't the OEMs be responsible for that as well?
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • Presidents' Day came about when Nixon combined Washington's birthday (originally the 11th, now the 22nd after the 11-day calender adjustment) with Abraham Lincoln's (the 12th) to be on the 3rd Monday of February, and it now commemorates all *past* presidents, living or dead.
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • Every major OEM (Dell, Gateway, etc) licenses Windows on a *per-platform* basis, not *per-computer*. What that means is that the copy of Windows you are getting was licensed by Microsoft as part of every copy of Windows on that particular model of computer.

    This does *not* mean the copy of Windows was free. What it does mean is that the real value will be the cost of the OEM's license divided by the number of computers of that model the OEM has installed the software onto. So you shouldn't expect to get very much (unless it's a new model with a small production size), but since money was never the real motivation here, you can give all the affected OEMs a big headache when you demand to know how much your license was worth.

    IANAL here, but the most secure way of getting a refund would probably be to find out before hand how much the individual license would be sold for (by the OEM) if it were listed seperately from the computer; because otherwise, the OEM can just argue that the license had no value by itself and therefore you would receive a refund of nothing (although you could probably make them accept the unused software at their expense, and print you a check for $0.00 ;-) Then if you wanted to fight, you'd have to bring an anti-trust suit against the OEM for bundling the software with the hardware (note that Microsoft would not be liable for this, pricing schemes notwithstanding, unless their license with the OEM specifically stated they could *not* remove the software prior to sale).

    Perhaps this scenario is even better for the movement than people getting $90 bucks back, because it would highlight Microsoft's licensing schemes with OEMs (which could be considered exclusionary, or predatory pricing) and would also highlight the OEMs' bundling practices. It also sets up MS and numerous big OEMs for a class-action anti-trust suit (has there every been such a thing?) with a much more solid argument than anything having to do with Internet Explorer bundling. Here, the bundling is clear because hardware and software are obviously seperate products.
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • I'm not talking about damages resulting from copyright infringement, I'm talking about damages resulting from violation of the EULA. You yourself said that the license with the end user is between end user and OEM. Therefore any violations of the license must be managed by the OEM and not Microsoft (unless you purchases a shrink-wrapped edition). Not just copying [which would be a violation of copyright], but reverse-engineering, transferring to another computer (not a violation of copyright as long as one copy exists), etc, etc. Microsoft can only ensure that the OEM is not violating *it's* license between it and Microsoft.
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • ... the vast majority of computer users get along just fine with Windows, myself included.

    So, how many crashes have you had today?

  • Microsoft has to stand by their license. If they won't abide by it, then they should face appropriate legal penalties.
  • Boy, this should knock some wind out of the already-sputtering M$ defense in the DOJ suit. Reading all of the horror stories of people trying to get a refund, there's only one word to describe the OEM-Microsoft relationship: MONOPOLY. M$ can't sit there and say they don't hold a monopoly when every major OEM is REQUIRED to sell systems with windoze installed, regardless of what the consumer wants/needs. That's bad business, folks, and I dearly hope M$ pays the price... BIG TIME.
  • You've missed the point. Regardless of what's popular and in demand, consumers are being forced to pay for Windows whether they like it or not.
    These people aren't even asking for alternative OS's... they'd like to install it themselves, yet the OEM's are telling them they have a contract with Microsoft that requires every machine they crank out have Windows installed. Could this be one reason why consumers are so hooked on Windows, because it's being jammed up every orifice from every marketing angle? You betcha! Millions of people like Coke, but that doesn't mean when I walk into a store it's the only drink available. Defend M$ all you like, but consumers have the right to free choice, especially when shelling out thousands of dollars for a computer. Frankly, I find $$$ more appealing than a shoddy OS I wouldn't use anyways.

  • I was able to catch the early news coverage of refund day on three of the four local television stations. The fourth station (KTVU channel 2) does not have an early news show. All three stations that I saw had good stories on the event, with interviews with the various participants. All of the stations highlighted Linux as an alternative to Windows, and all of them pronounced Linux correctly. All three stations had at least soundbytes from Eric Raymond, and from a Microsoft PR flack. None of the three portrayed the Linux advocates as weidos, crazies, or anything else derogatory. and none were particularly nice to Microsoft either. There were lots of pictures of penguins on t-shirts and signs. It was really great to see all this publicity!

    In terms of quality and accuracy, I would have to rate the local CBS affiliate the highest - Channel 5, KPIX. They made the exact issue of why people want the rebate, why people use Linux, and the EULA allows them to ask for a refund. They also did a better job of explaining how the OEMs and Microsoft pass the problem back and forth between each other. They also had the best balance between the Microsoft spokesman and the various Refund day people. A transcript of their report is at:
    This link may only work on 2/15 - I could not find a date-specific link.

    Channel 4, KRON, the local NBC affiliate, did a pretty good job, with better coverage of the actual event. They were the only ones showing the Microsoft people not letting people in the elevator going up to their office. They also had the longest story, with the most interviews. One of the news anchors, Suzanne Shaw, explained after the story ended that Linux was started by Linus, that it is available free, and that "nobody owns it." She actually sounded like a Linux user. Their story is available on the web at:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/ramhurl.cgi?file=1 999/02/15-refund_kronv.rm

    KGO - Channel 7, the ABC affiliate, did what I thought was the worst story - among other things they spelled Eric Raymond's name wrong - Eric Ramen!!! They also did not make it clear exactly why people would expect a refund, or how the EULA was involved. All in all, it wasn't a bad report, just the weakest of the three. As far as I can tell, video or text for this story is not available on their website

    I was really impressed by the amount of coverage the story got from all three stations. I'm looking forward to 10pm, where the local Independent / Fox affiliate has their news hour. They are the most popular local news broadcast, and do very good coverage of local news stories.

  • Somebody outa report them to the Fire Marshall!
    Why? The locks on the stairwell doors only keep people out, they don't keep people in.
  • Hello

    You said ...

    `Any company is free not to do business with M$, and then they do not have to pay their "tax."'

    Simply put it isn't that simple.

    From what I understood, the root of the problem is that OEMs are strong armed into taking an all or nothing approach to bundling Windows, with any given line of machines they sell. With Windows at 90% of market (I don't remember the source of that figure, I think it's based on M$ licence sales) it is impossible for that OEM to sell two OSes one of which is non-MS, on any line. It dosn't take a marketing genius to figure that selling X machines on a given line, without Windows, could only be justified by guarenteed 50% of the sales(assuming the mark-up is the same) plus enough sales to offset the additional cost of buying unused licences for each of those machines. Again it dosn't take a MBA to figure out that any new, potentially competitive, (non-Windows) OS will have to overcome the burden of going from zero or close to zero users, to enough users to buy at least, say 80% of the computers, in a given line.

    /* Begin rant code block

    How would you suggest that a development team go about making an OS that is can beat the long term viability arguement(FUD) and robust enough to lure away enough people from M$ to take over 80 percent or more of any computer line? The only people capable of installing and using a brand new OS with a high number of new features and configurability are the geeks. Many uses of computers in the market require a high level of dependibility that M$ can't (or won't) deliver, so those businesses look away from M$ for solutions. The risk of direct punishment from is M$ is lessened because of the DOJ case, and many OEMs are in brave fashion. Risking server lines now is a bit like a desperate cry for help on the part of the OEMs to geeks and the business. If the DOJ case ends tommorow and there still is a M$ after the dust settles, they will be looking to punish deviants. The server lines offered now are a testement to the sheer numbers of Linux users and the desperation of companies like Dell and Compaq to be able to make their own rules.

    The installation of any OS is a hard battle for most people to overcome. The masses don't know enough to know who to trust, so they go to the big OEM's to protect them. The day all OEM's are allowed to sell low end systems to the masses (under five hundred dollars) with a non-M$ OS preinstalled with M$ adding a total financial burden of 0 dollars to the cost, is the day you see M$ actually have to compete.

    end rant code block*/

    Hear is a relevent definition, see one of many mobster movies for useage.

    rack'et, n.[probably echoic.]

    3. (a) an obtaining of money illegally, as by bootlegging, fraud, or, especially, threats of violence;(b) any dishonest scheme or practice;

  • I forgot to point out that you can, of course, simply resell the software if you have not agreed to a license forbidding this.
  • Yes, I am spouting sh<beep>, most likely, buthey!

    Word works. Games work. Internet access works. Visual C++ works (great).

    Your idea of `works' must be very lenient. Word decides suddenly that the formatting of my document should look jumbled, since it's 02.15... Games suddenly decide I don't need sound or big bad video... VC++, I dunno, but I have a prejudgement of anything at all that REQUIRES IE for its help system.

    Now, I may be bitter towards Windows right now, because NT has suddenly gone ape dookie because I bought a PCMCIA modem and tried to use it. (wheee, KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED because of a bitty card) This, of course, warrants a complete reinstall, because `repairing' f<beep>s it up even worse. I've still not succeeded in reviving the NT partition on the laptop, because of bad Matrox drivers. Not MS's fault per se, but VERY annoying when I get the illegible screen of death after a reboot.

    Oh yes... I'm not a believer in the Linux Only crowd. I just happen to use Linux extensively. Other OSes I use are FreeBSD (oh no! I'm a traitor! AIEEE! :oP ), SunOS5, HP-UX (*shudder*), and yes, Windows NT on occasion (the company's laptop; the company's software licenses. No pressure here.)

    Your original point, I guess, is that folks should use the OS(es) that work(s) for _them_. I know I do.


  • I have a OEM copy of Blows 95 still in shrink wrap, but I'm still too busy drinking ... maybe whne I recover later this week I'll return it
  • Even though YOU'VE never had a problem with the brakes on your 1994 (whatever)mobile car even though millions of others have had theirs fail while on the road does not mean shouldn't issue a recall. Furthermore, you would PROBABLY want to take your car in too even though you haven't had a problem, right? I know I would.
  • Besides, don't most licenses contain lines stating that the license may be changed without warning?

    So they can change the license under you to "you now owe us everything you have ever owned, currently own, and ever will own. You consent to being shot if you so much as murmur disagreement."

    Or not.

    No corporate lawyer worth a streetsweeper's salary would let their boss sign a blank cheque that big.
  • Isn't there a fire code in that city?!?
  • I think you are missing the point to why 99.999% of the people buy computers. It isn't to spend countless sleepless hours tweaking /etc files or pouring through video card and monitor docs to make sure settings will work under Windows 3.1/95.
    If my time was figured at minimum wage and Microsoft gave me the software AND the hardware free they'd still owe me.
  • Microsoft has repeatedly announced a 64 bit version of NT. Where the hell have YOU been?

    Yes, we all know about Microsoft's sterling record in living up to preannounced enhancements of NT. Can you say Cairo? Good, I knew you could.
  • You're right that most people are perfectly happy with Microsoft products. But what you don't seem to be aware of is how MS structures its agreements with OEMs to prevent competing products from ever having a chance. The margins in commodity PCs are extremely small, and if you sell PCs most of your customers are going to want Windows. Back when DR-DOS was gaining popularity, MS struck deals with OEMs that gave them major discounts if they paid the discounted MS-DOS license for every CPU shipped, even if MS-DOS wasn't installed. Since price was the primary point of competition and since most (not all) customers wanted MS-DOS, the OEMs really did not have a choice. They had to sign the per-CPU agreements or go out of business. They'd still sell you a machine with DR-DOS, but it would cost $50 more than the machine with MS-DOS because you were paying for both OSes. Before the per-CPU licensing went into effect, DR-DOS was gaining significant market share. With the per-CPU agreements and some other maneuvering, MS killed DR-DOS. The 1995 ruling against MS made it's per-CPU agreements illegal.

    So after 1995, it really was the free market that kept out would be competitors, right? Wrong. MS restructured its agreements with OEMs such that rather then charging for Windows 9x per-CPU, they charge a licensing fee per "model." If Toshiba were to install BeOS on a 650CT, they'd still have to pay a license fee for Windows 9x. To avoid paying the license fee they'd have to introduce a new model, which means silk screening and manuals, which just isn't worth it for a niche market. But it gets better. Besides tying the license fee to a model number, the discount is also dependent on a high percentage (I don't know the number) of all systems they sell shipping with an MS OS. There is no incentive on the OEMs part to expand their offerings in alternative OSes, because they would lose their licensing discount in their primary market if the alternatives were even marginally successful. The large OEMs are finally starting to offer Linux on their servers. The only reason they can do this is because of relatively low volume of servers, higher margins, and the high cost of Windows NT server. I don't think you'll be seeing BeOS, Linux or FreeBSD on Dell's low-end machines, at least not without MS getting it's cut. MS has its hands tied with the antitrust case, but if they win the case, you can expect that MS will start turning the economic thumb screws again.

    I'm amused by your comment about MS's practice of forcing products on OEMs so they can get Windows as "for the most part stopped." In what way has it stopped? MS told Gateway that it could not ship Netscape as the primary browser (with its icon on the desktop instead of IE's icon). I have no problem with the browser being part of the desktop, but there is no technical reason that prevents IE from being part of the desktop and Netscape being you're default web browser on the desktop. Are you going to tell me that Gateway had a choice? Sure, they could have chosen to go out of business.

    Have you read you're EULA for any MS applications? The EULA states that you are only licensed to run the application on an approved MS OS. It doesn't say they won't support the application on non-MS OSes (which would make sense), it says you are not allowed to run the application on other platforms. There aren't any non-MS OSes that can run MS Office, but MS has made it illegal just in case. The list of abuses of the market and thier customers goes on and on.

    MS has no interest in the free market, they throw up roadblocks at every turn. Those of us who don't want any of our money going to MS's war chest have every right to be pissed off and to want our money back.

  • Somebody outa report them to the Fire Marshall! Hahaha
  • Ahem. Many of us here are programmers by trade. Being a programmer, one tends to appreciate efficiency. Obviously, the use of '!=' is more efficient than equivalent english phrases such as, "is not" or "does not equal". Since such conventions are generally understood, it makes perfect sense to utilize them in inter-geek communication.

    Now, I'd strenously recommend you seek some form of anger-management counselling. If something as small as != gets you that riled up, you've got some serious issues to deal with.

    Have a nice day.

  • Thank you. Thank you for having the courage to stand up to the mob, without the veil of Anonymity. You have my respect.

    I agree with you that most users do not wish to tinker with their software. They DO want an integrated solution that "just works". But can you HONESTLY tell me that Windows 9x "just works"? Yes, it's markedly easier to configure. A well-trained monkey could do it. But it fails misserably in the area of stability and reliability.

    It's not a rare occurence to see Win95 eat it's own registry...on the average user's machine, (ie, a user who doesn't back up their registry) there's not much you can do. Re-install. When you have 64 Meg of RAM and can't use IE, Visual InterDev and Netscape at the same time because you're out of memory. Or when Word97 crashes for the umpteenth time, can you really honestly say that it "just works"?

    And don't get me started on 98.

    I haven't addressed NT because most users don't use NT. However, NT is it's own kettle of fish.
    As for your experience, I can sympathize. I used to be an NT supporter. Compared to 95, it was a godsend. I'd heard of Linux but wasn't really interested.

    (-- Begin Tangent --)

    But, a quick change of jobs later, and I was working with UNIX (HP-UX in specific) for 8+ hours a day. I got spoiled. Windows became more and more restrictive. The more time I spent in UNIX, the more I began to feel like I was fighting my computer to perform what SHOULD be simple tasks. Finally, I broke down and installed FreeBSD. It was...different. Enjoyable, even.

    Since then, the Daemon has migrated to it's own box and I now dual-boot between 95 and RedHat 5.2. NT is nary to be seen! Why? Because I only boot back to Windows to run 2 apps. (Word97 and Paint Shop Pro) I have found that I no longer have any need for NT. I can do twice as much on half the hardware.

    (-- End of Tangent --)

    But, it's different strokes for different folks. NT is easy to set up. Linux takes time. I can have an NT box built and configured "the way I like it" in under a day. It took me weeks to get everything tweeked just right under Linux. (Some might say I'm STILL tweaking...but I'm loving it.)

    Ultimately, I agree with you. We don't need 'One OS to rule them all', be it NT, Linux, Mac, Solaris, etc...The fun comes from diversity. I think we tend to forget that sometimes.

    That being said, I sincerely hope that you haven't given up on Linux. It's a decent OS if you give it a chance. And it's getting better every day.
  • I'd just like to say that we [linux-hw.com] outgrew my garage about 2.5 years ago, and I have garage space for 4 vehicles.

    Although we're certainly not Dell, Compaq, Gateway, etc., etc., we're a long way from a garage operation.

    I have all ideas VA won't fit in Larry's garage, either. We're both doing very well without pushing MS products.

    Dell started in a dorm room, so what's the stigma there?

    There are alternative OS shops that sell and support Linux.

  • My company has Linux laptops for sale. That's all we do. No Windows or anything else on them.

  • So in order to avoid the Windows tax, you go to linux-hw?

    PS450WS100, 450MHz P2, 128M, 4.5G $2873.
    Dell Dimension, 450MHz P2, 12.9G, 17", Zip $1799.

    The Dell talks about heaps of software, multimedia (CD, sound, gfx) and so on. I'm missing something here; why is the PS over $1000 more expensive for 8G less disk space and probably a 14" monitor instead of 17"? Admittedly, I didn't spend more than a couple of minutes looking, but neither is your average business bod who is even considering switching. The $$$ count alone kills the linux-hw option for anyone without more cash than sense.

    Okay so it works with Linux but that's not enough of an incentive for me to stop buying Dells and dropping Win98 - paid for or otherwise - in the round file. Seems you can "pay" for Windows, or "!!!!!!___P-A-Y___!!!!!!" for Linux. Linux-hw obviously charges a "bad at maths" tax.
  • What about those who are in need of a bit more integrated machine such as a notebook? While it's nice having access to OEM notebook parts, I know that not everyone has such access. Most retailers won't carry parts so that consumers to build their own notebooks because they are aware of all the warranty risks involved. We need to find a nice, high quality notebook manufacturer who is willing to sell a tested, bare machine.

  • Now why would we want to do that? We have Linux, after all....

  • Sounds to me that Microsoft was afraid that Linux (or others, of course) users were going to harass them in their offices or cause damage. I wonder if thats unfounded.... At least they were prepared, thats a plus!

  • I wish people would take the time to read the EULA before they start talking about Class Action or any other types of Law Suits. The people they should be talking to are Toshiba, IBM, Dell or whomever they bought their PC from. Sure marching on good ol' MS sounds better but it isn't the right thing to do. The end result of all this hubbub will be that a few Linux users will get embarassed in court when a judge tells them they have filed against the wrong company and throws it out...

    Seeking the refund is futile if you don't goto the right people in the first place.
  • It goes something like this.. johnny cochrane is talking about endor, the ewok's and chewbacca and then says:

    Why am I talking about Chewbacca when a man's life is on the line?

    Why? I'll tell you why. I don't know. It doesn't make sense. If Chewbacca does not make sense you must acquit. Here look at the monkey.
  • I find the results of the Bay Area protest interesting in contrast with the Irvine event. Here, about ten people showed up, half of who had OSs to refund (myself included) and half of who were curious. In Irvine, we were ushered onto the elevator by an ultra-efficient security detail and sped to the 18th floor of the plush high rise.

    We were given free snacks and sodas and presented with a piece of paper with Microsoft's well-known position: It's between you and the OEM. A couple of Microsoft folks who were borderline-friendly stuck around to answer questions. There was no statement made other than the handout.

    The Irvine Company, who is Microsoft's landlord, handled the protest with the smooth competence for which Donald Bren and friends are known. They had only one request: No pictures on their grounds. Fortunately, I was able to sneak in a few. The Microsoft folks must have been listening, since they initially allowed pictures in their offices, but later prohibited them. My camera is a Canon XL1 MiniDV camcorder; it looks a great deal like units used by professional newspeople. I think I scared them, but I would have rather gotten better pictures.

    Unfortunately, I'm having some unexpected technical problems; pictures will be posted tomorrow morning. I'll post the URL in the appropriate thread.

  • Boy, reading this really gives me the warm
    fuzzy feeling about Microsoft. The same kind of
    warm fuzzy feeling one get's when a bottle of
    hot sauce is rammed up your rear end, that is.

    This could have been THE big chance of MS to
    improve their public image and reaffirm to Win-
    Users everywhere that MS is still there to back
    them up. They could have performed the refund as
    an act of good faith and goodwill to both the
    public at large and the DOJ.

    But no. Like the tight a**'d, customer screwing
    brute that they are, MS decides to lock out the
    very movement which could have helped them. I mean,
    come on. All these people wanted was a measly
    $50 or so check from the company. Is that so
    damn hard to provide? Probably. And if so, then
    they have real problems. As right now, MS is
    in the realm of "can-do-no-right".

    EULA's are contracts between two or more parties.
    As the EULA is worded, the parties are the
    producer(MS), the end-user(US), and the place of
    purchase(Wherever you bought the software).

    In the words of the EULA, the refund has to come
    from the supplier. Be it the store, the shop
    where the computer was bought, or wherever. If they
    don't honour the EULA contract, then the users
    should contact the producer of the EULA of the
    software. In this case, MS.

    They made the crappy software. They wrote the
    EULA. They are the one's who enter into contracts
    with VAR's and OEM's where a refund is not possible.

    It sounds like they want to sell software and
    put into place a scheme where no refund is possible.

    If this is true, they are violating consumer rights.

    They are violating their contractual agreements.

    This also means that they are liable for their
    product since they don't honour their side of
    the agreement, we don't have to honour ours.

    Did Windows crash and cost you money? Did a
    security hole in your WinOS allow people to steal
    your credit card numbers? Personal info? Allow
    people to crash you from afar?

    I think it's time to give back to MS what they
    have given to us for so god damn long.

    What goes around comes around, and it is high
    time that MS got a taste of the shit that they
    have been pouring down our throats for who knows
    how long.

    Don't pirate their software. Why would you want
    to violate federal law AND spread windows? If any
    thing, write letters to your representatives in
    the house. In the senate. Write letters to the
    better business beurouas. Let the people in
    official positions know what shit we are going

    But don't pirate. Pirating is NOT the way to go. They were
    unlawful in their conduct, we shouldn't have to
    sink to their level.

    MS turned their backs on the license agreement.

    They should realise the legal entailments of that
    action. And people who have lost countless hours
    worth of work and customers because the system
    crashed, should be compensated for their losses.

    Money isn't the important factor. It is basic
    responsibility. A contract which was accepted in
    good faith between parties. A contract which has
    not only not been honoured, but one which has
    been encapsulated in a system of contracts where
    a refund is either improbable or incredibly hard
    to obtain through normal means.

    Money isn't the goal. But money is one of the few
    things the company in question understands. And if
    that is the only method of redressment, then that
    is what should be reclaimed.

    Just my two cents.

    My apologies for the emotionally tinged post. but just hearing about their about turn face at such a public event and their disgraceful actions at a time when they should be attentive to the customers is a disgrace to any business.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • Build your own computers. Install whichever OS YOU
    want to install and run!

    VAR's and OEM's suffer because of their contracts.
    And as so many people have pointed out, it is because
    many people want WINOS that the OEM's stock it.

    While I believe that to be false, I also believe
    that people should have the full rights to chose.

    If that means building your own computer, then why
    the hell not? you get to chose the parts and better
    yet, you get to see which parts work for Linux and
    buy accordingly.

    OEM's need us. Not the otherway around. When they
    wise up to the growing need of alternative OS's in
    the market, then it may be worthwhile to go back.
    But for those who can, why not make your own
    computer and avoid windows completely?

    Why pay them to wait for a refund when you can
    avoid them completely and not ever have to shed
    a penny in their direction?

    I speak from personal experience as I've not
    bought a prepackaged computer system in my life.
    My systems being built from from parts of my
    chosing and the OS of my choice. (Linux).

    If you don't know how or lack knowledge of building
    computers, take that $50-$100 that you would have
    spent on Windows and spend it on a good book.

    Read and learn. Then go and buy the parts to build
    your system. Avoid companies who FORCE you to
    buy a Windows system.

    Crashes aren't appealing or sexy. They cost money
    and detracts from the enjoyment of entertainment.

    Lost term papers due to a crash sucks. Frozen systems
    during an art project bites. Knowing you actually
    paid for this faulty software is sad, but knowing
    you could have avoided all this is when it really stings.

    Learn and build your own. Free yourself from
    another limited system running a limited OS.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • I meant the people who support Windows and
    Microsoft. There are such people. MS could have
    done some damage control of their public image
    during this event through a show of goodwill
    towards people who were seeking a refund and
    at least make a token effort to strengthen the
    loyalty of people who ARE still using Windows,
    to quell the fears of those who work for MS and
    to show to the media that MS is strong enough
    to pay to refund would be's, that their EULA
    stands and is worth the paper it is printed on.

    Instead, MS has squandered their chances on a
    cheap attempt to brush aside a "weak" attempt at
    a refund. In doing so, they have not only added
    fuel to the big bad image already associated with
    them, but weakened the belief that Windows users
    had in MS.

    So no, I was not referring to the trust and public
    image held by the refunders, but rather, by the
    IT's and businesses, the home users and VAR's who
    are paying attention to such an event. I refer to
    their sense of belief, public image, and trust in
    MS. What little trust remains, that is.

    My apologies for not having been clear as to which
    group of people I was referring to.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • I agree completely! There should be more people
    who are integrating alternative OS's such as
    Linux into the Notebook systems.

    More importantly, I think it is vital to have
    more OEM type parts available for would-be
    laptop builders.

    I too have looked for parts to assemble my own
    laptop, but have found that what little parts
    which are supplied are not enough to build a whole
    laptop. This in itself is a problem as well.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • I agree with you wholeheartedly. Once again, a remainder that there are indeed many perspectives and that it is easy for one, such as myself, to get stuck only seeing from one angle.

    However, while quite a few of the users requesting refunds are probably doing it more for fun than for a cause, there are some issues here which should be addressed. Namely, the validity of EULA's and contracts which seem to be at odds. The difficulty of legitimate users from really obtaining a refund.

    I can appreciate the fact that you are having a good time with windows. I too used to have a relatively good time. But as time went on, the crashes got worse and the frequency of the crashes increased. I kept my system clean and powered down cleanly. But in the end, the system basically chokes itself to death.

    My main reason for switching OS's was reliability. Something I couldn't find in Windows. Games are great under Windows, but to be honest, with the new wave of games being offered for Linux, I really don't see the reason for my even bothering with Windows anymore. That's just my point of view and my personal method of doing things.

    But while the level of orderliness for the refund participants was not of the highest level, the repeated refusals on the part of the OEM/VAR with MS as the excuse and the defensive nature of company's responses to requests for legitimate refunds has likewise been disorderly and I would imagine, abrupt, leaving the refundee with no place to turn.

    It may not be a big issue in the general populace, but it is a big issue in the world of non-windows users. Much like it wasn't of much concern to people in England in regards to the revolts about a simple thing like tax, it comes down to one simple thing.

    People who aren't going to use the OS or benefit from it are paying for it. That there is a structure in place which allows for little or no deviation from this form of taxation.

    I can't and really won't bother refunding. I'm one of those people in the masses who's used windows, didn't like it, and have decided to move on to better things. But at the same time, knowing that if I ever decide to buy who systems and knowing I get charged extra because of the OS, it is something of pride and principal. And in the case of mass manufacturing, profit.

    It is like buying bugs which come prepackaged with a bottle of soda. But it is a type of soda you really don't like because it makes you sick. But all the mugs out there come with it prepackaged. Clerks look at you funny when you ask for just the mug without the soda. They tell you to just buy it and toss the soda if you don't want it or to return the whole package and go shop elsewhere.

    It is ifuriating and in many senses, there is a feeling of prejudice. Of belittlement. And that feeling and attitude is not appreciated.

    I myself want a laptop. But I don't want the pre-bundled OS. Nor would I want a laptop specifically hardware tied to an OS I don't want.

    It is as simple as saying I want to buy a mug without soda. Without paying for the extra soda because unlike the Coke Cola drinkers, Pepsi drinkers won't benefit from the tax.

    Btw, on my campus, that is the case. There is no coke cola on campus, only pepsi. This is due to contractual agreements which force all shops on campus to sell only pepsi and pepsi related drinks.

    Many Coke Cola drinkers want Coke.. but are stuck with Pepsi, paying for a Pepsi drink which doesn't help them or their Coke Cola.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • Pirating Windows software is like scratching a
    poison ivy rash. It feels good for a moment, but
    causes the rash to spread.

    I honestly and truly believe that software piracy
    is responsible for Microsoft's stranglehold on
    the OS market - what proportion of small offices
    bought one copy of Windows 3.1, then went ahead
    and copied it to all of their office PC's, despite
    the license limitation? How many of the employees of said small offices "borrowed" the same windows disks to take them home and install them?

    And...how many would have done so if they'd been FORCED to PAY full price for a license for each use? A much smaller proportion, I suspect. Now, all of those pirates are stuck in a metaphorical rut. Every new Microsoft release gets bought (because the One Copy doesn't cost that much, and 'the boss' isn't familiar with the problems, and merely assumes that the 'new version will fix everything'.). Everyone in the office who's pirated the software has to also pirate the New Product so that they can use the files produced on the one legally licensed machine. The cycle repeats itself, the problem spreads....

    All I have to say is I hope Microsoft's anti-piracy crusade succeeds wildly...when it comes down to "pay up or get rid of Windows", hopefully a few people will think, and choose the latter option...
  • Wow, Your right, I fragged that one...

    *bows to superior knowledge*

    Uh, oops?
  • by Rexx ( 13426 )
    It is not software piracy of the EULA is invalid, correct?

    I think your concern is misguided. If someone cannot get a refund per the EULA, and they have not agreed to the EULA, then they are not bound by it.

    This is about taking accountablility and responsibility for one's own agreement, not piracy.

    If Micorsoft forfeits the EULA, then nobody is in violation of it.

    If someone pays for the software, but cannot get a refund, they should be entitled to do whatever they want to do with it, if they have made a good faith effort at returning it per the EULA.

    If you call that Piracy, then I would be proud to see the Linux community promoting just that. Nothing matters to anyone until it effects the wallet. All the yelling, screaming, and protesting in the world will not do a damn thing, but if MS thinks the invalidation of the EULA will effect licensing fees, you can bet they will take notice.

    I don't see how this makes the Linux community look bad at all.

    Forcing someone to adhere to their portion of an agreement, under the penalty of rendering that agreement invalid, is not something anyone should be ashamed of.
  • I'm sure someone must have reverse engineered some parts of Winblows by now. Even a lump of cole as big as that must have a couple of little diamonds worth extracting in it.

    Spotted on the M$ website...
    "Many of our employees have never written a line of code."
  • Hey, if no one but Microsoft used their crap, it wouldn't bother me whatsoever.
  • I think you are missing the point to why 99.999% of the people buy computers. It isn't to spend countless sleepless hours tweaking /etc files or poring through video card and monitor docs to make sure settings will work under X Windoze. It isn't because they want to make sure they are using kernel version by recompiling their kernel every other day. It isn't to use vi/emacs/gcc/gdb to write their own check balancing program from scratch in C because current offerings have some obscure bug that can't be fixed because the former developers got bored with the project. It isn't because they want to go out and learn obscure markup commands in LaTeX to help their kids write a report for school or update their resume.

    No, it's because for 99.999% of the people who buy computers want an integrated solution that works. They don't care about source code. They don't care about some counterculture movement that proclaims everything that isn't free in the economic sense as "junk". Word works. Games work. Internet access works. Visual C++ works (great). Quicken works.

    I have used Linux, BeOS, Nextstep, and NT. I do things with my computer that most people do and things that very few people do. I have had fewer problems with NT than I ever had with Linux (Of course, the Linux-heads will doubt my Unix abilities. That's fine, but you don't know what they are.)

    Don't want to use MS products? Don't. But don't go blabbering about choice if you are going to advocate that people shouldn't use Anything But Linux (ABL).
  • You don't have a choice? What OS are you using right now to read this?

    I'm not sure what the logic is with this supposed lack of choice. Unless you put your computer together from scratch, you bought it from some vendor. Did you buy it knowing a priori that it would come with Windows? If this was so distasteful, why didn't you exercise your choice and a) buy from a vendor that doesn't sell computers with Windows such as VA Research or b) put your own computer together?

    So, please try your best to explain what choices are being suppressed by your lack of getting a refund? I don't think the refund has anything to do with choice; it reeks of mob rules from a group of people who are used to everything being free of charge.
  • So, how many crashes have you had today?

  • Registry's fine.
    No phantom devices detected (I've never heard of this).
    Last hardware upgrade was an Intel video capture card. I've even used a beta device driver for my graphics card before with no trouble.

    I do quite a bit of programming for work and for my dissertation research. For work, I do ANSI and Windows specific programming. For my dissertation, after trying Java and not happy with the performance of Swing, I switch back to MFC. Some of my programs write and read from the registry, particularly my dissertation research. I also am writing COM components which must be registered. Still, no problems. My next project is to get a second PC for some distributed COM programming tests. After I learn how it works, I don't expect problems.
  • I, for one, am glad that I was not there. While I don't particularly like the way that Microsoft writes and markets its software, I also don't ally myself with buffoons.

    That's right, buffoons. Microsoft clearly and correctly made the point that if you bought Windows 9x bundled with a computer, then you must contact the vendor to arrange for a refund. Microsoft is not the vendor!

    Did you buy your computer from Dell? Gateway? Micron? Toshiba? Sony? Those are vendors! Those are the companies that you need to contact.

    And whomever said that if one part of the license was invalid meant that the license as a whole is invalid is not only wrong, but had the gall to follow up his demonstration of ignorance with advocation of software piracy. What a moron! Do we get to look forward to free/open software supporters being lumped together with software pirates?

    All in all, I think that "refund day" was nothing more than a juvenile publicity stunt that was doomed to failure. The very idea of scheduling the stunt for a US federal holiday virtually guaranteed that the Microsoft offices would be closed.

    A victory? Sure...a great publicity victory for Microsoft...and a significant step backward for the legitimacy of Linux and open software.

    Thanks guys...for nothing.
  • Not so. Absolutely not so. The EULA informs you that you must contact your vendor for instructions on returning the product for a refund.

    So here's the rub. What happens if the vendor says, "Look, we bundled the copy of Windows with your system and we're not going to unbundle it. Send the whole computer back."

    What do you do? It strikes me that you have one of three choices. You send the computer back and buy one from a company that offers you a choice (VA, Penguin, etc.), you keep the computer and throw Windows off in a corner somewhere, or you keep complaining to the vendor until you either get the answer that you want, you get tired of complaining, or you realize that you are fighting a futile battle.

    I worked for one of the big computer companies that sells Microsoft products. The policy was that if you didn't want Windows, then you could return the computer. That fit the letter of the EULA. Those were the instructions to be followed if you wanted to return Windows...box up the computer and return the whole works for a refund.

    None of these vendors have refused to honor their obligations. They just haven't done things your way. Welcome to the real world. Sometimes you don't get your way.
  • Sheesh. Can you read?

    It won't be posted until 20:00 pst. That's 8:00pm. Duh. It's 4:40pm pst right now.

    Dude. You really are SAD.
  • http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/02/biztech/ articles/16windows.html

    Just by coincidence (naaaw!) tonight, my Moby Database box (PII 300, 256 MB RAM, 30 gig of disk) running NT 4 SP 3 refused to reboot with the lovely classic C000021A Fatal Error.
    Eschewing the idiotic Microsoft "Lack of Knowledge" Base instructions (run Dr. Watson [on a non-bootable machine, duh] and then process everything through the Debug Symbols [dub cubed]), I plugged in the backup disk drive I have ready for just such occasions and was running again in three minutes. When I reinstall it will probably be my last EVER Windows install on my stuff (can't prevent clients from having me do it, though).

  • It's amazing how obnoxious some slashdotters are out there. If you want to make a comment make it a constructive one instead of blurting out moron or stupid.

    I for one am really elated at the events today. Alternative OS have gotten their word out and we got M$ attention. Even though few or nobody got their money back we can all agree we got what we wanted, (FREE PUBLICITY)

    I contacted my vendor.

    For some "moronic" reason they insist on returning the entire computer. How blind are they to the EULA? It clearly doesn't mention the HARDWARE!
    The license is for OS not the computer.

    They actually believe a computer can run without windows on it!


  • It's amazing how obnoxious some slashdotters are out there. If you want to make a comment make it a constructive one instead of blurting out moron or stupid.

    I for one am really elated at the events today. Alternative OS have gotten their word out and we got M$ attention. Even though few or nobody got their money back we can all agree we got what we wanted, (FREE PUBLICITY)

    I contacted my vendor.

    For some "moronic" reason they insist on returning the entire computer. How blind are they to the EULA? It clearly doesn't mention the HARDWARE!
    The license is for OS not the computer.

    They actually believe a computer can run without windows on it!
    Jesus christ I read that my vendor was going to honor the EULA and even ship computers with linux. Well not in C-A-N-A-D-A.



    johnnnyboy != resist.

  • Uh, did you try the STAIRS?
  • Yes, there is a major problem and some people are working on it and more people should be aware of it.

    The problem is that when we (Penguin Computing) approached Toshiba and all major manufacturers, they were unaware of the problem. Nina More, the Toshiba CA field manager, which covers all the CompUSAs, Fry's, etc in this state, said she has rarely heard a cry for refund...in fact she never heard of Bennett's refund in Australia!

    More attention should be given to the manufacturers because when under enough consumer pressure, they can choose not to sign unfair agreements with Microsoft or in turn initiate trade lawsuits.

    More Microsoft Refund Day attendees should talk to Nina Moore and realize it's easier to work with her then Microsoft. Why complain to Microsoft...has Microsoft ever given in to anything...not any market pressure, not consumer rights groups, nor the government.

    In so far as Microsoft, let them screw the government and the government will eventually screw with them. Why get involved? I think we all understand how Microsoft plays the game, we should not choose to participate?

    For consumers and open source advocates, I believe it's more worthwhile educating more evolved companies. The postings regarding how the manufacturers haven't budge is absolutely false. I make computing systems for a living and talk to these people everyday, and they really are unaware of the market for Linux or the requests for refunds.

    If you have bought a notebook from Toshiba or any of the manufacturers, please let them know. If you e-mail me, I will provide you with instructions on contacting them.

    Allison Huynh [mailto]

    Educating the Manufacturers [penguincomputing.com]

  • This looks even funnier than it really is when u read it from a linux box :)
  • Well there are pro's and cons. Yes, it gave Micro$oft and excuse to say they were closed. However, we were previously told that they would be open. Holidays are generally slower news days giving less competition for TV time or inches in the paper. Plus this is the first weekday after the impeachment trial. People have allegedly been saying that they are sick of this trial and sick of all of the coverage. Although I don't think it will be over for awhile, I do think that on this first weekday after the trial the news shows on CNBC, CNN, and MSNBC(well maybe not MSNBC althougth they did have an interview with Linus) will make an honest effort to cover something else. Tomorrow it will be back to the normal of the parsing Slick Willies words.
  • It's probably about the same as working for any local cable company in a monopoly district like mine Time Warner Cable of Oakland County Michigan. It also must be bad working for Northwest Airlines in Detroit Metro Airport where Northwest controls over 80% of the flights. Not surprisingly they get a lot of antagonism from their costumers on a daily basis as we pay by far the highest rates in the country. You know this LITTLE and I do mean little American Airlines strike. Here the Northwest Strike was 10 times bigger than the AMR strike in NY. Were talking it was the top story for about 3 months as we had essentially no other opion. That's just one of problems you have to face when you are a monopoly. Whenever something goes wrong, people have the right to question it and think that it was just because they have a monopoly. The only people who can hold a major position without having it keep them up every night are usually the hard core corporate republican backers, like head of the consumer affairs for Northwest Airlines at Metro is a heavy Republican backer and she's woman. Not surprisingly she has been the most chastized person in the state this past year. I have done more than my part.
  • Although the lifts were dissabled to the floor isn't it possible for Microsoft to say that they weren't functioning properly and are not responsible?

    However, if in fact they have forfit they're license agreement on one count, does this mean it is forfit on all counts? ie. other microsoft software products.

  • Microsoft headquarters in Silicon Valley is currently in Foster City, just a few miles north of the gleaming green towers of Oracle. They occupy the now infamous 9th floor of an office building in between the world headquarters for Visa.

    I showed up around 10:30 AM on my own and found it very quiet with only signs pointing the way to the "Linux Event" (sic) (a nice piece of Microsoft spin). I found my way up to the top floor of the parking garage where the press was assembled listening to a Microsoft spokesman explaining how customers have plenty of choice in their OS and the popularity of Windows is only due to its high quality. At this point only me and a handful of other people had shown up for the demonstration and we quickly found ourselves being interviewed by the press. I talked to 3 reporters.

    A little after noon the main contingent arrived to demand their refunds. Led by Eric Raymond (dressed as a Jedi Knight!), they marched through the parking garage up to the top floor in an orderly fashion. Several placards were carried ("I don't do Windows", "No Taxation without Open Source", "Pro-Choice"), and penguins were plentiful. I should emphasize that the BSD people had a strong presence at the demonstration.

    For the next half-hour, there was much interviewing by the press and a debate between Eric Raymond and the sole Microsoft spokesman (as far as I know, he was the only Microsoft employee that anybody saw). Finally, several attempts were made to gain access to the Microsoft office to demand a refund.

    After finding the parking garage entrance barred, we walked down to the courtyard of the building in an attempt to take the elevator. I had used that same elevator to get to the fourth floor to gain access to the top of the parking garage (an entrance later blocked). 7 people at a time, accompanied by the press, attempted to gain access to the ninth floor. The elevator was working, but was programmed not to stop at the ninth floor. After several attempts, eventually the police blocked the courtyard and at 1:45 PM we marched away (voluntarily) with not one refund handed out.

    All in all, about a few hundred supporters of the Free/Open Source Community showed up with perhaps around thirty people actually demanding refunds. There were at least twenty members of the press, both print and media and I talked to reporters from AP, Wall Street Journal and the San Jose Mercury News. They struck me as skeptical of Microsoft and sympathetic, but I was not very clear on how much they understood the philosophy of the Free/Open Source Community. But they seemed very willing to let me try to explain it to them. Microsoft stuck to its party line of that you have to get your refund from your OEM or the store from where you purchased it.

    I would call the event a success. There was plenty of press, a lot of high (but peaceful) spirits and Microsoft's arrogant stonewalling did not impress anyone (no sign of a counter-demonstration by the way).
    No one got their refunds, but I think an important point was made. I would have advised Microsoft to give people their refunds. Only a tiny percentage of people would ever demand a refund and the good publicity would more than make up for the loss of revenue. Of course, the issue was never money. Neither the people demanding refunds, nor the OEM's refusing them are worried about the money involved. The people who want their refunds do not want to pay for something they are not using on principle. The OEM's, for now, do want to anger Microsoft. And, Microsoft seems afraid that what would be a trickle today could be a flood tomorrow.

Forty two.