Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Phyrric Victory

Microsoft is planning on requiring legal and legitimate owners of their software to "prove" that their copies of the software are "genuine".

I recently bought a new laptop, which came with a real copy of Windows. When I installed it, I had to type in (twice) a 25 digit legitimising code, to prove that the copy I had wasn't pirated. This was tiresome and inconvenient, since really, the issue isn't with me, but between Microsoft and the company I bought the copy of Windows from.

The icing on the cake this time is that Microsoft will require the verifying code before you can download security patches. Pirated versions of Windows will not be allowed to download security patches.

In my view, this will have several effects.

Firstly, it means that in a few years, once Microsoft has started their plan, the many many computers with pirated versions of Windows will be left unprotected against the hoard of mal-ware, spy-ware and virus writers on the net. Left unprotected, they will become like wandering plague rats, spreading their viruses, their spy-ware, their spam-bots and so on everywhere they go. This is bad for most users, since it means that inboxes will continue to be flooded with spam, and unprotected computers (for whatever reason) will be put at increased risk.

Secondly, it means that people who don't want to jump through yet another hoop, or who resent having to prove that they legitimately purchased software, or are lazy, may finally be given the impetus to change operating systems. Even though I have legally purchased my copy of Windows, by the middle of the year, when Microsoft requires that I yet again prove my copy is legitimate, I may decide that it isn't worth the trouble, and just change OS, to Linux or some other Open Source system. I've been meaning to have changed for some time, and this may be the final shove that makes me abandon Microsuck for good.


  • At January 30, 2005 10:16 pm, Blogger Liam said…

    I've found my experiment with linux a source of joy. A highly confusing source of joy, with a steep learning curve, but nonetheless it's been a lot of fun so far.
    To top it off, my laptop runs about three times as fast as it did under Mac OSX. Sweet.

  • At January 31, 2005 11:25 am, Blogger Alex said…

    That last comment alone is almost enough to make me very seriously consider changing to Linux. I'll have to investigate however, to find a good version, and maybe even pay for some tech support. I don't want to install it myself either, so I'll have to get a techgeek in to put it in for me.

  • At January 31, 2005 12:18 pm, Blogger Liam said…

    Nah, just find yourself a distribution that you like the sound of---Ubuntu gets good write-ups for PCs, though I'm using yellowdog linux which is a ppc variant of Red Hat---and allow yourself an evening to install it. I went to the local remaindered book sale and got a 'Red Hat for Dickheads' volume for about $4, which was also pretty helpful.
    Read the manual, get a beer from the fridge, boot from the CDs. Most distributions go to great lengths to make their installations easy for people; I figure that if you can get your head around Windows drivers you can install linux.

  • At January 31, 2005 4:59 pm, Blogger Robert said…

    My dad writes software for the property settlement industry. For the last few years, he's been moving people off Microsoft Word and onto Sun Staroffice, because an identical version is available for Linux. Eventually, when their computer networks are due for an upgrade, he hopes they will be confident to leave Windows entirely.

  • At February 04, 2005 8:56 am, Blogger Ron said…

    I remember reading something in The Sydney Morning Herald late last year (sorry, I can't find the link) that the Dept of Veterans' Affairs has advertised for expressions of interest in the viability of changing their thousands of PCs over to OpenSource.

    Also some sources are suggesting that Mozilla's Firefox is now the preferred browser for about 20% of Internet users.

  • At February 08, 2005 1:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have a look at
    There is so much software that has my favorite"f" word.
    OpenSource/gnu/linux whatever you label it,is now as good,if not better than the traditional software,that most home pc users have been using.
    Most flavours of gnu/linux come in a Live cd format.
    This allows you to test run software off your computers
    cd-drive.You can play around without fear of erasing
    any data on your hard drive.When you finish,eject the disc and reboot back into Windows.
    Most Live cd distributions also allow you to install
    the operating system permanentely.
    This of coarse means that you have to delete Windows.
    There are many versions of gnu/linux available.
    As a home user try Ubuntu,Mepis,Knoppix,Mandrake..etc.
    Different versions fit people needs differently,so shop
    around.Distrowatch is a awesome resource ,and point of reference.
    I should point out not all gnu/linux operating systems are completely free (woops).
    But what they are free of is activation codes,registration codes,virus damage,spyware,adware,
    hijacking of browser...etc.
    Give it a try.


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