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Re: Microsoft to Battle Windows Piracy

  • Subject: Re: Microsoft to Battle Windows Piracy
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 04:24:23 +0000
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: schestowitz.com / MCC / Manchester University
  • References: <dtcqm5$2ned$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk> <1140476165.712773.172960@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>
  • Reply-to: newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • User-agent: KNode/0.7.2
__/ [rex.ballard@xxxxxxxxx] on Monday 20 February 2006 22:56 \__

> I certainly don't advocate privacy, and I strongly feel that there is
> no integrity in anyone else advocating piracy of Microsoft products.  I
> may not agree with many of Microsoft's business practices, but this
> does not justify stealing their products.  On the other hand, I think
> that Microsoft may be a bit delusional.
> Microsoft seems to think that any machine NOT sold with Windows
> preinstalled MUST be running pirated Microsoft software.  Furthermore,
> they seem to believe that almost ANY change to the hardware
> configuration constitutes the need for new licenses.

To be more accurate, change of the motherboard constitutes the need for new
licenses. If the motherboard is shown to be faulty, the same rules do not

> On the flp side, I've seen many people - even people in this group,
> advocating the purchase of OEM licenses being sold under false
> pretenses.  There are retailers who may have legitimate OEM licenses,
> but only for sale with completely built computers.  There are others
> who have been advocating the purchase of educational licenses for use
> by people who are not students.
> Microsoft however, is very inconsistent about their own licensing
> policies.  For example, the EULA indicates that the owner of an OEM
> license can transfer that license to another user, or to another
> computer so long as the licensed software is completely removed from
> the previous computer.  Therefore, it is quite legitimate for a
> customer to purchase an OEM Windows equipped machine, from some company
> like Dell, and then purchase a new machine without Windows, back up the
> existing software and image to an external drive, then put Linux on the
> old computer, wiping out the original Windows installation.  They can
> then install/recover the image to the new computer.  In this case, this
> would be a lawfully permitted transfer.

In the bizarro world. *smile*

> If a retailer were to allow you to "trade in" you old Windows system
> for a new machine, they could also legally transfer the old license to
> new hardware, so long as they converted the original computer - the one
> "traded in" to Linux or FreeDos before selling it or donating it to
> charity.
> But then we have a different glitch.  Microsoft has told recipient
> charities that all they have to do is provide the serial number of the
> hardware and they will be entitled to Windows - even if the computer
> was donated with Linux installed.

In which case, the recipient need not bother talking to Redmond.

> I'm personally sitting on 8 Windows NT 4.0 licenses, 4 Windows 2000
> licenses, and 2 Windows XP licenses, all legally obtained, either
> purchased separately or as licenses for OEM equipment.  The problem is
> that I'm only using Windows on 4 computers.  Several computers are
> running Linux exclusively, including several of the OEM machines.

Over here, 2 out of 3 machines have a Windows licence (glued to the Dell
housing), but all run Linux exclusively. These 2 Windows licences, not
surprisingly, were paid for by the University. It sometimes infuriates me
that the University pays for unused licences (there are many other example)
and simply assumes that budgets can be 'leaked' like this, at the expense of
those who pay tuition fees.

> Microsoft seems to be very unwilling to stipulate exactly WHAT my
> transfer rights might be.  If I were to sell my OEM machines with Linux
> installed, or donate them to charity - as Linux machines - would I
> still be able to sell the Windows licenses?  Would I be able to use the
> libraries with WINE?  Would I be able to buy new hardware  with no
> Windows and install my copies of Windows on the new machines?
> Microsoft is wilfully ambiguous on this matter.  The "plain English"
> license can easily be intepreted several different ways.  Microsoft has
> publicly declared that the OEM licenses are bound to the machines they
> were sold with, but there is no indication of this in the OEM licenses.
> And finally, the OEM can sell machines to a corporate customer who has
> a direct relationship with Microsoft.  The corporation purchase their
> own copies of Windows from Microsoft directly.  As a result, the
> Corporate customer now has 2 legal licenses for Windows.  When the
> Corporate customer then donates these computers to a recycler, is the
> recycler allowed to install the OEM Windows license on a newer machine
> since he has destroyed the old machine?
> Suppose the recycler donates the old machine to charity as a Linux box?
> I'd really like to hear from billwg or Erik F on this matter.  They
> seem to have a better understanding of Microsoft's policies than
> anyone.  Personally, I am so confused by the whole mess that I pretty
> much have no sympathy for Microsoft at all.

I don't concur with you on that one. The last thing I would want is for a
thread to devolve into a discussion involving FUD and endless exchanges of
futile arguments. When this happens, I ditch the thread.

> If the piracy Microsoft is going after is retailers who are selling
> installation kits as "licensed media" - then good for them.
> Personally, I wonder why they don't go after these idiots who subscribe
> to MSDN and then start using their Windows licenses, especially Windows
> 2003, Visual Studio, SQL Server, and MS-Office licenses - in the
> machines that they take to client sites, or in their home computers -
> long after the official product has been released - even though MSDN
> licenses clearly specify that they are not allowed to run these preview
> copies once the official product has been released.
> The one good thing about Microsoft going after the piracy is that it
> will pretty much polarize everybody.  Mostly it sounds like Microsoft
> is trying to create as much fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) as
> possible related to any PC not made by an OEM such as Dell, Gateway, or
> HP.

In my humble opinion, it can only encourage more people to adopt Linux. If
Fred Bloggs was caught red-handed by Microsoft and paid heavy fines, that
would definitely drive him away from the iron fist of Microsoft.

More people begin to realise that a brand new machine can be purchased for
under GBP 150. It's a tempting thought. When hardware is cheaper to
manufacture, fewer software vendors can set the pricelist high enough to
merely cover the wage of the developers.

It becomes absurd when a licence for 1 piece of software, which is easily
replaced by FOSS, costs 3 times the value of a new workstation.


Roy S. Schestowitz      |    Open Source Reversi: http://othellomaster.com
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux     |     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
  4:05am  up 3 days 16:24,  7 users,  load average: 0.27, 0.49, 0.56
      http://iuron.com - Open Source knowledge engine project

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