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EPIC Makes Privacy Case Against Windows XP To FTC 238

Posted by timothy
from the force-nor-fraud- dept.
jeffy124 writes: "EPIC has posted their complaint submitted to the FTC regarding Windows XP. Do note that it is a pdf file and will require a pdf reader of some kind." Hotmail, Passport (adult and child versions), Hailstorm, email harvesting, and deceptive privacy policies in general all play a role here; there's plenty in here that ought to spark questions about Microsoft business practices even among die-hard free-marketeers.
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EPIC Makes Privacy Case Against Windows XP To FTC

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    first with Jazz Jackrabit, now with the MS bashing!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    pdf2ps MS_complaint.pdf MS_complaint.ps
    gv MS_complaint.ps&
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So, ignoring the fact that your use of MS software encourages others to use it, on a paid basis or otherwise, you're telling us that you're exactly the kind of pirate that allows mass media to dismiss all Open Source users as habitual thieves, and a market not worth having? Good for you. I hope you're hapy pirating your MS software because you're helping to ensure that there will never be an alternative.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot's/OSDN privacy policy is just as bad.
  • Being a long-time free marketeer myself, I an still hopeful that the states will punish MS for their practices.

    This makes me nothing less than evil amongst many of my so-called friends, but I believe the equations are more complicated.

    To start, sure, the Sherman act and many other laws are probably unfortunate. The free market may be more moral, provide for better outcomes, etc. etc. But once we have injected enough government interference into a free market, you can't let up on that interference selectively and expect good results. Look at the S&L problems of the late 80s, for example.

    Next, we all want to believe that the rule of law is important. The laws may be unfortunate and wrong, but at least they should apply equally. Microsoft has repeatedly shown its intent to blantantly IGNORE the law and fight the law with its corporate power. This gives them an unfair advantage compared to companies that do not ignore the law. So the correct course of action is to fight the law, not to hope that it isn't applied and fight against its application.

    Next, I am not at all convinced that the law should apply basically identically to people and then to the corporate "persona". In many cases we grant a weird and selective immunity to people operating under the corporate persona. I'm not sure exactly how this applies to the MS situation because I haven't had time to think about it...

    Next, consumers have gotten used to the government protection and now expect it and are not interested in acting as their own advocates. Without the guise of government protection, you'd expect that more devices to correct the market would appear - devices such as Underwriter's Laboratories, Consumer Reports, consumer reporters on the nightly news, etc. WITH the guise of government protection, and with the ability of corporations to protect themselves through their own power, the consumer basically has no advocates or guides, and the situation is pretty pathetic.

    Regardless of how one feels about the law itself, one should see how clearly and obviously MS has been anti-consumer. As such, it's important to separate free-market advocacy and MS advocacy. You may not like what the government is doing, but MS is still acting quite despicably. Someone has got to punish them somehow. It's a pretty sad situation if the states have to be the ones to do it instead of the consumers. But it's a pretty sad situation right now anyway.

  • Would converting her to reiserfs fix the poweroff/fsck problem?

    Thanks for the suggestion ::grin::. Basically all we had to do was teach her to use Logout/Halt. The problem is over.

    Also, I've tried StarOffice (on Mandrake 8) but the fonts really suck. Any help here?

    I am not familiar with the Mandrake distributions. We use Red Hat 7.x with the latest KDE and whichever fonts get installed with it. StarOffice brings a few fonts of its own, if memory serves me. For all our documents we use only Helvetica/Sans Serif and Times Roman/Serif fonts. I'll look into it and see if one of my guys knows how to set other fonts in StarOffice.

    (The reason we only use those two fonts is because I read somewhere that those are the two easiest on the eyes. I found that out through one of my customers in Switzerland.)

    Thanks for the tip on Insight ::grin::

    Cheers!

    E
  • by ciurana (2603) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:42PM (#2190544) Homepage Journal

    This is disgusting. I'm an advocate of laissez faire capitalism. This move by Microsoft and Windows XP is downright criminal because it abuses those users who know the least. A knowledgeable user won't fall for this. A newby, on the other hand...

    Can we offer alternatives? I think so. For the last couple of years I'd advised people to go either of two routes (including my customers):

    Buy a Macintosh
    If you're a newbie there still isn't a computer as easy to use as the Mac. It's more attractive than a PC, it doesn't break as often (i.e. DLL or hardware conflicts), and it requires overall less attention than Windows systems do. All the common applications are available in it, and it delivers better performance for a smaller configuration (i.e. a Mac running MS Office requires half the RAM as a PC for accomplishing the same task).

    Use Linux Systems While it's common to hear "my application X only runs under Windows!" I found that either a filter/converter exists for the application or that they can use StarOffice and carry on. There have been very few instances in which a given piece of software was Windows-specific (i.e. QuickBooks Pro); in those instances we suggest deploying a single Windows system used for that activity and sharing all resources from the Samba network.

    I have two anecdotes related to this.

    The CEO of a company we rolled out refuses to move off Windows/Outlook/Office. Every mayor virus and worm out there has hit him alone since we converted the rest of the network (30+ people). Yes, we installed VirusScan and Norton Utilities and everything else. On Monday he called to ask for a quote for converting his system to Linux. He's seen that we can fix everyone else's system without even having to physically go to their office, they have almost no downtime, and they can do their business with Linux/Solaris applications.

    The other anecdote is about my 66 year old Mother. She's as computer illiterate as they come, having retired a few years ago and having had admin assistants all her professional life to take care of things for her. She wanted a computer so I gave her one of my old Compaq Presarios. The catch? We installed Linux + KDE + Netscape. She's happy web surfing, exchanging e-mail, visiting newsgroups, etc. We set an idiot-proof configuration for her, and if she wants a new program we install it remotely (i.e. we recently installed StarOffice and Mozilla 0.9.2 in her system). She knows about Windows, but she uses Oscar for Instant Messaging off the AOL web site, and everything else she needs as an Internet surfer is readily available to her. Flash, Java, etc. etc. are all readily available to her.

    (I was ready to buy her an iBook if this little mental experiment didn't work. It never came to that. The only problem we had with this was that, at first, she kept forgetting to shut the system down so we had a long fsck on every startup.)

    Based on our experiences, we can safely say that the best way to escape the Windows XP tar pit is by educating the users. Don't rant against Windows. Take the time to explain to others why there are better options out there. Show them what the alternatives look like. Give people credit and assume they're smarter than you thought. You'll be surprised at how well they understand what you told them.

    Cheers!

    E
  • Apple's address is One Infinate Loop.

    Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
    --
  • as a thief ? If you are gonna pirate, just do it. Don't waste our time trying to justify it as social protest against M$ or the robin hood syndrome. I don't pirate software, thats like stealing from myself. How can I as a sys admin expect my users to maitain licenses and legit products if I can't ??
  • The FTC will just say "look, Microsoft is already undergoing an antitrust trial, so siddown and shaddup".

    The FTC hasn't done crap about protecting free trade in recent years, and I don't see that it's reasonable to expect them to do an about-face now.


    --
  • FWIW, there's an SP2 available for Win2K.

    --
  • > Marketing people are slime, they should all be forced to spend large amounts of time with John Tesh.

    But they'd LOVE to hear Tesh -- just ask Steff. You need to submit them to something that will give them pain. I really pissed one marektroid off with a Sex Pistols tape, so that should give you a clue.

    I owned a Jesus & Mary Chain tape around that time. Maybe I should have played that next . . .

    Geoff
  • by Detritus (11846) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:56PM (#2190554) Homepage
    From the complaint:
    Microsoft's principal place of business is One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399.
    One Microsoft Way?
  • If I were to buy a Mac right now, I would end up spending around $3000. A roughly equivalent Intel system would be no more than half that.
    You haven't priced Macs recently, have you? A 500 MHz G3 iMac w/128 MB RAM (even includes a CD burner) is available for $999 [apple.com]. A 500 MHz G3 iBook w/64 MB RAM is available for $1299 [apple.com].

    These systems include OS 9 & X, so they're easy for beginners, and also have standard Unix development tools.

    I agree that x86 based system are available for a lot cheaper, but then you have to deal with the whole Windows thing.
  • With the current goverment in hand I think it is hard to believe that they will care.

    Here is why.

    First they said, yes M$ has a monoploy, but they are not really planning on doing anything about it. More of a slap on the wrist than anything else.

    Next, they ruled that the boyscouts could discriminate against gays, because they are a private organization. (gays are second class citizens in the US now).

    Next they ruled that they could discriminate cause they are a religious organization against gays (gays are second class citizens in the US now).

    They are thinking still of passing an ammendment to the constitution to prevent 'desicration of the us flag'. (yes this is in congress again) Oh please don't they have better things to do than this? And this will accomplish what? How many flag burnings are there a year to justify this? And so what if they do. It is just a flag! A symbol. It is not like they are defacing the statue of liberty, by spray painting her pink or blue or something.

    They have not stepped in even though AT&T and AOL/Time Warner are talking about merging their cable systems (talk about mega crap cable). All the channels you don't want at a price you can't afford.

    People always want to blame the gays and lesbians first for ruining our country, but the truth is it is the politicians who don't know s*** about anything that are taking away our freedoms first and letting big companies step all over little people as well.

    You have no privacy, you have no rights to freedom, you have no right in your own home. Welcome to America, land of the used to be free....

    Yeah I'm pissed off at the state of america.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Thank you for pointing out that they are second class citizens in the US.

    Oh most states are throwing out there sodomy laws, and the few that do have them many apply to both same sex and opposite sex couples. (not all though).

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Anyone that is discriminated against should be in a protected class, if they are not harming others.

    Homosexuality is a consensual act between two adults (or teens in some cases). It is not like pedophelia where one is abused unwillingly or bestiality where one is an animal that does now know what is going on.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Supreme court is part of the US goverment..

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • yes and there are people who would like to overturn roe vs wade. They also think that this is the administration to do it in. D

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • "Since the Court is not an elected body, then it is supposedly impartial".

    They are appointed. They are appointed by people who feel the same way that they do. So if a supreme court justice leaves who do you think will be appointed to a new position? Someone who woudl be interested in a chance to oerturn roe vs wade or make it against federal law to be gay or something stupid. The administration would appoint he nes justice. So how can you say that they are impartial?

    The boy scouts recieve federal money as well as from religious organizations. They were not claiming that it was against their 'religious' beliefs, but against their interpretaion of the boyscout charter, which states that the boyscouts must be 'morally straight'. People confuse morally straight with gay-homosexual/straight.

    "The Court said that yes, the Constitution protects the religious views".. no it said First Ammendment Rights, it did not specify which part fo the first ammendment. (http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-699.ZS .html)

    This was about freedom of 'expressive association' or allowance for bigotry. I don;t care what you call it they are discriminating! And it is allowed. What if their religion said no african americans allowed or no whites? Would that be okay? Be careful this is defined in the constitution as one of the ammendments.

    "It's nice that you have the ability to sit back in a country that was created for you and presented to you and condemn the very principals that made us what we are", yes sit back and worry that these freedoms that made us free are being taken away. Currently most states have laws against burning the flag. You HAD the right to burn a flag. You HAD the right to..

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • "That the Boy Scouts denies membership is in no way impeding on an individual's personal liberties."

    I'd have to disagree here. The boyscouts KICKED out someone who loved to be a boyscout. ANd now they have the right to continue to do so. So what will be next for them? THey can now kick people out cause they THINK that they are gay, or they act gay.

    Yes I agree with the flag burning issue. But If you look at my initial post I did mention "They are thinking still of passing an ammendment to the constitution to prevent 'desicration of the us flag'. (yes this is in congress again) ". This is todays administration. Part fo the administration is democratic. It's stupid reall. DEmocrats / Republicans - I think the US gov is being stupid right now.

    Had Clinton or Bush or Congress decided to pass a federal law or add an ammendment to the constitution to prevent discrimination against sexual orientation the Salvation Army, and Boy Scouts would be violating fed law. But they wont. Cause it is okay to discriminate against gays. Oh and look at the results from the US census. There is almost 1/2 million gay couples. This is only the couples, what about the single gay person?

    You talk about the will of the people. HOw many states have removed there sodomy laws? How many have offerred domestic partner benifits? LOTS! THE will of the people is soon becoming that gays are normal people with normal rights.

    We are everywhere, were here, were queer and we ain't going anywhere! ANDWE WANT OUR RIGHTS!

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Hmm, this is kind of silly. So could you publish something in ROT13 then sue all the companies who make newsreader software for distributing a circumvention device? Heck, Microsoft distributes one with every copy of Windows now (Outlook Express).

    Probably some existing technology clause in the DMCA...
  • If this is accurate, there are only 256 possible keys! Wow. That is actually just like ROTX where X can be any number from 0 to 255. If the encryption is really that bad, I think you could make a strong argument that it is not actually encrypted at all. CSS looks like a well-honed 256-bit cipher in comparison. Jeez.
  • It's been vogue to complain about Windows, period, for years.

    --
  • by Lumpish Scholar (17107) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:33PM (#2190571) Homepage Journal
    "The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: 'You've just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport.' "

    "... users cannot receive support services for products without registering for Microsoft Passport. The user's product identification number [not provided with XP activation but provided with XP registration] is then linked to his or her personally identifiable Passport information."

    " 'If in the future Passport sends email on behalf of participating web sites, you will be able to follow instructions contained in the email to choose whether or not you'd like to receive additional email.' There appears to be no means by which users currently can limit the exchange of their email addresses with the Microsoft Network and no limitations on the unsolicited commercial email that may result from the collection of email addresses in this fashion." Yikes; built-in opt-out spam!

    (I de-moronized the quotes by hand. Slightly scary thing: The original document was written with Microsoft Word, then converted with Acrobat PDFWriter.)
  • by Lumpish Scholar (17107) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:42PM (#2190572) Homepage Journal
    A recent AT&T CEO (not the current one) once lamented, "Every year, billions of dollars of sales are made over our 800 numbers. Why can't we somehow get some cut of that business?" I think the idea was to arrange lower rates in exchange for a percentage.

    When several projects I've been on asked Oracle for a price quote, we were asked for our business plan. Oracle wanted to charge one (large) ISP for every dialup customer account! (Another project chose Sybase for a similar reason.)

    Bill Gates, MSFT's chief strategist, must have recently asked himself, "Billions of dollars are spent online every year, from computers running our operating system. Why can't ...?"

    The scary thing is, MSFT is providing some value to the online vendors. They've got lots of allies for shoving this down our throats.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • No, I still don't think they can set the price of WXP to $1000 for OEM's. They might try. And the OEM's might go along with it for a week or two. But the minute the consumers walk into Best Buy and see that last weeks $799 model now costs $1999 (the OEM has a margin, you know), they'll have coniption fits and won't buy it.

    For that price, the Macintosh will look very enticing. For that price, they'll seriously question whether they really need that new computer anyway.

    If Microsoft has to lower its price as a result, then they never really had a true monopoly to begin with. In my opinion, the only monopoly they have is a monopoly on Microsoft software.
  • Sun has a monopoly on Sun software. Does that make them a monopoly? Corel has a monopoly on Corel software. Does that make them a monopoly?
  • You misunderstood. Yes, I can download the GNU tools for Solaris. But I can also download the GNU tools for Windows. But if I want to run Solaris there is only one place to get it: Sun. (and I wasn't referring to Corel Linux, but to WordPerfect, CorelDraw, etc).

    Microsoft does not hold a monopoly on operating systems, web browsers or office suites. They only hold a monopoly of their own software. If you only want an OS to run your server, you have a dozen viable choices. But if you want Windows2K, there is only one place to get it. The only reason it makes any difference is because people *want* Windows.
  • by Arandir (19206) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:08PM (#2190579) Homepage Journal
    The wierd thing is that although there is no great groundswell of support for repealing the Sherman act, yet many people want to let Microsoft off the hook as some kind of "benevolent" monopoly. The problem is that you can't (or at least shouldn't) apply the law selectively.

    I say repeal the Sherman act! But only one day two of my new regime. On day one I would repeal all of the myriad laws that limit competition and hinder voluntary economic transactions. Then on day two we wouldn't need the Sherman act...

    If Microsoft is in trouble because they had too big of a market share while doing what is otherwise legal for every other business, then I want to know how much marketshare is too much? 50%? 60%? 90%? 99%? They say the sign of a real monopoly is the ability to set any price. But Microsoft can't do that. It can't price WinXP to the OEM's at $1000 (which, by the way, is still cheaper than most commercial Unices).
  • Your last paragraph sums it up as to why the Sherman act was passed in the first place.

    In the case of monopolies, especially monopolies in so-called increasing returns markets (markets where large market share tends to lead to even larger market share despite the existance of higher quality products), there are really two choices - you can let them use that monopoly to leverage other monopolies essentially without competetion, or you can restrict them from doing so.

    I do sort of agree with you that in the long run, the effects may actually be the same. In the unrestricted case, the monopolist will obtain even more monopolies because he can leverage his existing ones, monopoly prices will rise, but people will continue to pay them because they are heavily "locked in". Superior products will languish because they don't interoperate with the monopolist's products. But at some point, prices will rise so much and the quality of their products will be so poor compared to the competition's that eventually (hopefully) people will begin buying into the competition even though it is a painful transition.

    In the restricted case, a monopolist is restricted only to monopolies he obtains through competetion, as opposed to monopoly leverage. There will still be lock-in and rising prices, but only in that one market (if the restriction is enforced).

    The difference is that in the partially restricted system, the "swings" in price and quality should be less and competetion should be greater and more consistent because the number of monopolies is limited and they can only be obtained by putting out a superior product and competing with others.

  • by GroundBounce (20126) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @04:18PM (#2190582)
    The point is not that they require registration as part of support, it's that they specifically require you to use another one of their products to gain that support. Normally that's not a problem, but if you're a Monopoly, it is.

    One of the major points of the Sherman act is that you can't use a legally obtained monopoly in one market to gain an unfair advantage (and hence, most likely another monopoly) in another.

    Apple (or any other non-monopoly) can get away with bundling other software and services and it would not be deemed anticompetitive because they only have 5% of the market for the original product.

    The fact is that the rules are different for a monopoly because of the Serman act. A monopoly must be much more careful what they bundle than a non-mononopoly.

    The wierd thing is that although there is no great groundswell of support for repealing the Sherman act, yet many people want to let Microsoft off the hook as some kind of "benevolent" monopoly. The problem is that you can't (or at least shouldn't) apply the law selectively.
  • Heh, Seagate's Longmont, CO site is at 389 Disc Drive, Longmont, CO 80503
  • by BeanThere (28381) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:18PM (#2190585)

    The complaint charges that MS ties support to product registration. Yeah, so does my toaster warranty, and my VCR, and my TV, and my washer and dryer, etc

    You are misinformed. Legally, your toaster, VCR, TV, washer AND dryer are ALL under warrany whether you "register" or not. The law provides something called an "implied warranty", which means that an item you buy must be fit for the purpose for which it was sold. Specific duration warranties are provided for different types of products. The only way that a manufacturer can circumvent the implied warranty is by making a specific deal with the buyer - the customer must KNOW that he/she is making such a deal. Manufacturers would all like to circumvent the implied warranty in order to further their bottom line, but the only way they can do this is - you guessed it - product "registration". The "registration" is usually set up to sound like a good deal, it normally sounds like you are getting a good warranty when you "sign up", but if you do research, 9 out of 10 times you just signed yourself into a more limited warranty than you already had under law. So as long as you didn't make any specific warranty arrangement with your dealer, the dealer is legally required to exchange your product if it has manufacturing defects.

    Why is this very different from Microsoft's passport arrangement? Because when you install XP, you've no doubt clicked on an "I agree" somewhere, which means that you're agreeing to an alternate warranty arrangement, under which you MUST supply personal information in order to have manufacturing defects repaired.

    This is just one part of Microsoft's attempt to turn the Internet into a huge Microsoft proprietary network, like the Compuserves of yesteryear. Smart tags, Passport etc are all just parts of the plan - and by and large, they are succeeding.

    -----

  • by schon (31600) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:45PM (#2190591)
    'Net-enabled features' is vague, but it doesn't say 'everything to do with the Internet'.

    That's the whole point.

    You can probably make an educated guess as to what 'Net-enabled features' means - but 99% of the computer-buying public (ie. the very users that MS is targeting) won't. They will read that, and assume that they need Passport to USE the internet (after all, it came up when they told the computer that they wanted to use the internet.)

    This is exceptionally scary.
  • Yeah, now I guess we know who the villain in those kooky "Left Behind" novels is... Muah hah hah ha!

    #include "disclaim.h"
    "All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak
  • "Homosexual people are NOT second-class citizens in this country."

    Where do you get this from? They can be denied jobs they are qualified for. They can be denied housing they can afford. They are not allowed to serve in the military. They are not allowed to get married. Anal sex is illegal in most states.

    In what way is that NOT a second class citizen. They don't enjoy all the same rights as heterosexuals do they?
  • You seem to be pretty complacent and most americans are. Most americans like yourself thinks that people are starving or slaves in other countries and thinks to themselves "man am I glad I am an american" and do nothing to improve the country. Get out once in a while perhaps take a trip to europe or the far east. You'll see people living pretty much like you. They get up, go to work, come back home and watch TV or hang out with their friends.

    America is not as nice as you think it is and the rest of the world is not as awful as you think it is.

    One final note. If you were to throw a thousand random innocent black people into the legal system how many of them would come out? How many of them would get the death penalty?

    Yes that's your country.
  • The law was challenged in Montana. The lawmakers refused to take it off the books because "it's never enforced anyways".
  • He didn't say he was an Open Source user, did he? What he said was that he pirates MS products, and you just *assumed* the rest.

    -jcr
  • consumer is just the marketeer word for luser. At least sysadmins have the decency not to call people a luser in their face...

    //rdj
  • You might actually be wrong. Remember Microsoft tied MSN INTO the operating system. If they have the view that all internet applications must go through the internet via some MSN stuff that the companies don't realise is there, it could very well be that way. Remember when they tied IE to the OS? I was running Netscape and watched the difference inthe speed at which it connected to the internet befre and after I had to install VC 6.0 (which requires the OS tieing version of IE to access the help files).
    There is definately a chance they did that. What is going to stop them? Remember they think they ca tie in everything into the OS. They also think the OS is the way to access the hardware on the machine. Thus by default they can control how certain aspects like require Passport service in order to access the various parts of the computers hard used for connecting to the internet.
  • You make a good argument, but you fail to consider 2 things:

    Macs are more expensive than Intel-based systems. If I were to buy a Mac right now, I would end up spending around $3000. A roughly equivalent Intel system would be no more than half that. Cost is a major issue for people who are not serious computer users, and sometimes even for those who are.

    Linux-based systems are difficult to maintain. Using Linux can be easy, as you have demonstrated with the case of your mother. However, there's little doubt that she could not have installed new software--let alone the operating system itself--without your assistance. Unfortunately, not all users have someone to hold their hand and maintain their systems for them.
  • Why is this making me think of Revelation 13?

    To wit:

    11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

    12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

    13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

    14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

    15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

    16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

    17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

    Emphasis mine. I don't know about the forehead thing, but I'm sure "Six hundred threescore and six" has got to be in the Windows Registry somewhere!
  • by donutello (88309) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @04:41PM (#2190620) Homepage

    Next, they ruled that the boyscouts could discriminate against gays, because they are a private organization. (gays are second class citizens in the US now).

    Homosexual people are NOT second-class citizens in this country. Yes, there are some morons who think homosexuality is somehow wrong but they are a fast-shrinking minority.

    That issue aside, just as it is important that the state protect ones right to practice ones sexual orientation, it is just as important to me that a private organization has the freedom to make and enact its own rules.

    I don't want to live in a society where the majority is able to cram its opinion down everyones throats. The down side to this is that the lunatic fringe is able to practice what it wants to but the up side is that if there is a small minority that is right about something, they are not automatically silenced because of being considered the lunatic fringe.

    This freedom is very important to me and I'm willing to pay whatever price it takes.

  • I got a kick out of the Parties section. Most of them make sense, EPIC, EFF, MAP, etc. But Nader's CTFAI? Seems like a bad case of me-too:
    The Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues was co-founded by Ralph Nader and Remar Sutton. CTFAI monitors auto fraud activities for consumer groups, attorneys general, and plaintiff firms. CTFAI has particular interest in consumer privacy since using the Internet is a common practice for consumers looking for information on cars and loan.[sic]
    Uhhhh.... yeah. Right.
  • Sorry if this is slightly off-topic -- it pertains to Passport but not XP.

    I've got a roomful of semipublic PCs (usable by anyone in my organization) and I'd like to completely lock them out of Passport. I've started by adding a half-dozen lines to the Hosts file [google.com]:

    • 127.0.0.1 lc1.law5.hotmail.passport.com
    • 127.0.0.1 login.hotmail.passport.com
    • 127.0.0.1 login.msnia.passport.com
    • 127.0.0.1 login.passport.com
    • 127.0.0.1 passport.com
    • 127.0.0.1 www.passport.com

    But of course M$ can get around this by adding a new hostname or just using IP numbers. What's the easiest way to prevent all traffic to/from Passport at the level of the individual PC (not at the firewall/router level)? Thanks.

  • I wouldn't buy from a company that makes their site inaccessible to anyone with a fairly well-made, mostly standards compliant browser such as Mozilla, IE or Opera. I think many would feel the same way. Imagine people going on the road and finding out that they cannot buy something because all of the computers are running an oler version of Windows like 95 or 98 and can't use the .Net extensions. They would be pretty pissed probably.

  • by OmegaDan (101255) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:34PM (#2190625) Homepage
    this is true --- but how can you hold consumers responsible for what business have conspired to keep secret from them? The consumer privacy sitaution in the US is absolutley out of control and business is dying to keep it that way.

    I will say though, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see a few relatively unknown foundations (mostly non-profit?) fire a shot across the bow like this.

  • I blame it on us, the consumers

    I have to partially disagree. It is my belief that one of the purposes of our government is to execute the will of the people. We have a representative democracy where we select a few individuals to represent our best interests. We don't have tmi to personally investigate each topic concerning our nation to the level of detail which it requires. That is the full-time job of our government officials.

    Now maybe you can argue we should've complained louder. You could also very well argue that our government is not doing a good job of protecting the interests of its citizens.

    But then you also have to remember that corporations are run by citizens. Citizens own stock in corporations. By ensuring successful businesses, the government is also ensuring the livlihood of those citizens with interest in that corporation's success.

    Personally, I think the government needs to a better job of considering -- what is it? -- the needs of the many with the needs of the few.

    I've only tinkered with actually contacting my congressman to express my views. So, I do take some of the blame. Corporations spend a lot more time and money talking to the congressmen that citizens do.

    Maybe we citizens should take a level of interest on par with that of the corporate world.

  • They say the sign of a real monopoly is the ability to set any price. But Microsoft can't do that. It can't price WinXP to the OEM's at $1000

    Question: If Microsoft decided to raise the price of Windows XP by 20%, would they get away with it? Since you will no longer be able to buy any previous version of windows when XP is out, what will the average IT manager do? Pay up, of course. Even if the price were raised +50%, there would be grumbling but everyone would be forced to pay.

    Converting everyone over to Macintoshes would be ridiculous for a decently sized company. Linux is in no way a replacement. What about all the thousands of custom MS apps that are running rampant in the corporate world? Applications are they key. If the choice were shutting down all business operations while you convert every app and retrain every user to click on a foot instead of a start button, OR pay an extra few bucks for the CEO's new workstation, what will people choose?

    Then there's the problem of The Killer App, namely Office. If you can't open up the word doc from your PR agency or vendor with 100% accuracy, there will be hell to pay. So everyone is tied to Office, and Office is tied to Windows.

    Of course, MS can't start charging $10,000 per copy of XP, simply because few people could afford to pay it. But then again, at the height of the Ma Bell monopoly, they could never charge $10,000 for a phone either. But in either case, the company can set whatever price it wants within the customer's raw ability to pay. And there is no viable alternative other than to pony up.

    Sounds like the signs of a real monopoly to me, even according to your definition.

  • From the Magusson-Moss Warranty Act [cornell.edu]:

    No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name...

    It's an interesting question whether this covers Passport.

  • If you have to run Windows, run Windows 2000, the "business version". Microsoft isn't trying to violate the privacy of businesses.

    Win2K SP1 is actually a reasonably decent OS. It's far better than anything in the unprotected family (DOS/Win1/2/3/3.1/95/98/ME), and somewhat better than NT 4, mainly in the driver and system adminstration area.

    And Win2K, being for "business", doesn't have all the privacy violation crap of XP. There's still too much unnecessary crap loaded at startup, but you can turn much of it off.

  • No, they're pointing out that Microsoft's claims in their description of their product are contradicted by the actual behavior of their product. They absolutely believe Microsoft when it says that the criterion for being able to participate in Passport is having posted a privacy policy.

    Riddle me this: What's the difference between a site with no posted privacy policy and one that states "This site will sell or give away any and all information that it receives about you to anyone at all"?

    Answer: The latter site can scoop out all the private data from your Passport (except for the Wallet) without your even being aware of it taking place.

    Contrary to Microsofts claims, Passport users actually have more control over their personal data when they visit sites that have no privacy policy posted! That's a deceptive trade practice.

  • No, but it sure as hell implies it.
    you need pasport to use 'net-enabled' features such as auto update, any MS product that uses the internet.
  • Dunno 'bout you, but at my /. settings, none of the 'top' reply's have, up 'till your post, even mentioned Linux.
  • You can use most ttf fonts with your linux systems.

    If you want to do it by hand (it's pretty easy) che the man pages for ttmkfdir and mkfontdir. Here's an step by step instruction [zube.com].

    If you are lazy check out this link [mandrakesoft.com]. It's for Linux Mandrake with rpms and all.

    You may still have problems with some original fonts which may override the new fonts (helvetica IIRC). There are known bad fonts that come with X which don't scale properly and it's ok to ditch them as you discover them and you know you have ttf replacements. mv them to a spare directory before you kill them.

    Good luck.. :)
    --
    $HOME is where the .*shrc is

  • by Self Bias Resistor (136938) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:17PM (#2190646)

    "38. The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: "You've just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport."

    Am I reading this correctly as MS not allowing an internet connection at all without a Passport?

    Actually, no. What the paper is saying is that the setup of Windows XP to use the Internet automatically (this is where the problem lies as the user has no control over its appearance) presents you with a screen that requires you to setup a Passport account in order to use Microsoft's Internet services (ie. multimedia, IM etc). It doesn't stop you from installing your own software. The scary part about this is that the average user (as opposed to technically adept "geeks" like most of the Slashdot audience here) don't know this, and this gives Microsoft an(other) unfair advantage over its competitors. Paragraph 44 of the complaint [epic.org] also shows this.

    What people have to learn is that the more that people want to have everything taken care for them (the iMac's software was preinstalled because people wanted to take it out of the box, plug it in and use it), the less control they will have other what they can do with their computer. Giving the power to set up your PC to someone else (especially corporations) and they will mean that it will be less suited to what you want and more to what Microsoft (or Compaq or whoever the company is) wants. The answer is simple: stop treating the computer like it's a glorified, Internet-accessible TV. Computers are complex machines that can be custom-built for various purposes (eg. servers, graphics computers). They are meant to be interactive. You reap what you sow, and the less effort you put into setting up your computer, the less you'll get out of it. The reason that XP is able to exercise this level of control over your computer is that people will not make the effort to take that control.

    Although I will protest against having to register an account just to download some software (this means you too, FilePlanet [fileplanet.com]).

    Self Bias Resistor


  • XP's anti-piracy features should also put an end to the "casual piracy" so many of us are guilty of.

    That's OK, I have a Win2k corporate installer. Whew.
  • by andyh1978 (173377) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:37PM (#2190658) Homepage
    You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport.""
    Am I reading this correctly as MS not allowing an internet connection at all without a Passport?
    No.

    You've just connected to the Internet.
    So you're already online.

    I'd say you just need a passport for, oh, instant messaging, voice chat and video (i.e. MSN Messenger).

    'Net-enabled features' is vague, but it doesn't say 'everything to do with the Internet'.
  • by sjbe (173966)
    Forget it being in the registry, this one floated around usenet a while back

    Convert each character in the name William Gates 3 to it's ascii equivilent number and add them up. The result comes out to 666.

    Yes I tested this a while back, and yes it really does come out to 666. I forget if you need his middle name too so that might be necessary but I don't think so. The 3 is neccessary because Billy boy's name is Bill Gates III (the third).

  • by sjbe (173966)
    Here is a link that lists the calculation. It's Bill Gates 3.

    http://www.bold.net.au/~dschell/microshaft.html#66 6

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:49PM (#2190662) Journal
    I wonder what they are asking for as Relief? Let's take a look:

    REQUEST FOR RELIEF

    Wherefore, the Complainants request that the Commission:

    A. Initiate an investigation into the information collection practices of Microsoft through Passport and associated services;
    B. Order Microsoft to revise the XP registration procedures so that purchasers of Microsoft XP are clearly informed that they need not register for Passport to obtain access to the Internet;
    C. Order Microsoft to block the sharing of personal information among Microsoft areas provided by a user under the Passport registration procedures absent explicit consent;
    D. Order Microsoft to incorporate techniques for anonymity and pseudo-anonymity that would allow users of Windows XP to gain access to Microsoft web sites without disclosing their actual identity
    E. Order Microsoft to incorporate techniques that would enable users of Windows XP to easily integrate services provided by non-Microsoft companies for online payment, electronic commerce, and other Internet-based commercial activity; and
    F. Provide such other relief as the Commission finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from Microsoft's practices as described herein.

    I imagine that Microsoft will scream bloody murder on Point E.

    And I wonder what other redress for injury could be ordered.

    I'm sure many folks will volunteer suggestions.

    ;-)

  • by Ratteau (183242) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:42PM (#2190664) Homepage


    I submitted this earlier but I guess the editors wanted to wait until they could get a copy of the complaint (understandable). The story about it is at CRN [crn.com] earlier today.

    Sure, call me a karma whore, but there are some quotes/explanation from the executive director of EPIC.


    --------
  • Didn't the Cdn government rule against MS a year ago when one of their federal departments chose MS office over Corel Office? I remember Corel ended up getting something like $20 million smackaroos!

    Yes, you're right. I had forgotten that, but a quick google search yielded this [itnews.com.au] link. In any case, I don't think Corel's complaint had anything to do with MS's unfair business practices, just with RevCan's bid management.

  • by Sydney Weidman (187981) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:15PM (#2190666) Homepage
    Nobody in Canada will do anything about unfair or deceptive trade practices or anything else related to Microsoft. They can't afford to apply commercial law to Microsoft because Microsoft is a major sponsor of the Federal Government's "Connecting Canadians" initiative. They're afraid to do anything bad to MS because MS might retaliate by dropping their sponsorship of the myriad of government programs which MS sponsors. Too bad we don't have activist organizations here that have the courage to stand up to this kind of treatment.
  • Maybe they do. Dmitri's presentation didn't offer any example code. I wrote that just from my understanding of it.

    To paraphrase his presentation he said "Each byte in the file is XOR'd with every character in the word 'encrypted'."

    So the code I wrote was how I interpreted it.

    --
    Garett

  • by garett_spencley (193892) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:43PM (#2190670) Journal
    A little off topic but you're post brought up the subject and I want to vent some anger just like anyone else upset about the DMCA vs. Dmitri thing.

    The thing that angers me the most about Dmitri's imprisonment is how much actual work he had to do to break Adobe's so-called "secure solution".

    I don't live in the U.S so I don't really have a problem doing this:

    #define key "encrypted" /* this is no joke according to Dmitri's presentation */

    while((c = get_byte()) {

    &nbspbyte = c;

    &nbspfor(i = 0; i < strlen(key); i++)
    byte ^= key[i];

    }

    Slightly better than rot13. But not that much... The only real work was figuring out the key. Oh they made that _really_ hard.....

    --
    Garett

  • As numerous people have already mentioned, Microsoft and other large companies are quite willing to be the ones poking our eyeballs out and stripping us of our sight..

    but aside from that. consumer activism. Well, I may be mistaken here, but non-profit organizations such as EFF and EPIC tend to be started by consumers who feel that its time to do something about a problem, at least thats what I'd expect.
    Now if everyone decided to drop their current jobs and join some activist group, how much actual work would ever get done?
    On the other side, you may not particularly like Coke or Pepsi, but I bet you still drink stuff. One or the other of those two basically own everything that comes in a bottle or can, and equally evil companies own pretty much everything else. Sometimes consumers have to consume, even if they dont like it. Face it, no matter what you buy, somewhere down the line you're probably feeding a megacompany. (What about the stuff you picked from your garden? Well where did you get the seeds from? heh!)..
    Then theres people like me. I live in Canada. Sure there's lots of battles to be fought up here as well (and yes I tend to be on the apathetic side, but I still see whats happening even if I dont bother doing anything about it), but when it comes to anything related to computers, pretty much everything interesting (in either the good or bad sense) happens in the US. What does this mean? Well it means I can't write a letter to my senator (I dont have one), I cant easily obtain membership in many activist groups (although I'm sure they'd be able to take my money as a donation if I had any.. but its not the same thing as actually doing something now is it?)..
    Yet I still have to deal with Microsoft products on a daily basis..
    Yes I can whine at my local Microsoft branch, but even if they care, I doubt they'd be listened to down south..
    Yes I can "vote with my wallet", as long as I don't mind wasting the time finding/recreating my favorite apps in linux (mostly anime.. which means, a decent newsgroup binary downloader, an IRC client, and software to play the various media types.. I dont get much chance to use X but the command line variants that I've seen of the first two were not sufficiently useful for my purposes.. but that was around RH6 days.. maybe stuff has improved by now:P).. again, that apathy thing..
    I still won't ever purchase WinXP though.. why? Well, firstly, I can't afford to pay every year/month/second/whatever their scheme turns out to be, and also, Win2K is perfectly useful (minus not being able to reinstall without formatting the drive)..

    So.. the point of this ramble? Lets see: a) The purpose of organizations like EFF is to do the activism thing for all of us who are too busy/lazy.
    b) You pretty much can't avoid megacorps. There's almost nothing you can do that doesn't feed into their pockets (who do you think made those CDs you burned your Linux iso's onto?)
    c) The non-US population of the world has to put up with the fact that almost anything related to the internet (and most everything else computer-wise) is based in the US, where anything we say/do is pretty much completely ignored. And to make it better, US companies feel they have the right to prosecute non-US citizens doing legal acts in their country under US law (the DeCSS kid especially, he wasn't even on US soil as Dmitry was.. and under 18 at the time to boot. Go MPAA).
  • Boy, its a good thing they don't come wiht Linux or Freebsd or anything. That would be truly horrible.

  • The larger concern is that XP will be shipped with full raw sockets [grc.com]. This makes it likely (assuming XP becomes as ubiquitous as Win9X) for it to become the platform of choice for DDoS attacks...

    -- Shamus

    Insert pithy saying here
  • Blockquoth the poster:
    So, if Linux or some other flavor of *nix came with a decent desktop suite and an easy installer and finally caught on with the clueless masses, would you and Gibson then be whining about the dangers of placing its sockets in the hands of the ubiquitous laity?
    Err, yes. Again, it's not sockets per se, but full raw sockets. If you had bothered to read the article you would know that this is a problem! For example:
    Perhaps Microsoft hasn't been reading about the rapid rise (explosion) in the number of DDoS attacks which is already occurring. One must wonder how they could be unaware of this since they have, themselves, been frequent targets of those attacks. Furthermore, they must know, as I demonstrated above, that the widespread availability of Linux and Unix, with their "system-level functions to manipulate data packets" are clearly responsible and are a "critical factor" in the number of DDoS attacks.


    It is precisely because of the rapid growth in the number of hobbyist-owned Unix and Linux boxes -- often configured insecurely then compromised with Trojans -- that we are now seeing a rapid growth in the number of DDoS attacks.
    Also quoth the poster:
    The solution to the DDoS problem is to smarten up the routers, not to dumb down the desktops!
    Again, if you had read the article, you'd have seen:
    Many thoughtful and well-informed people have suggested that the real responsibility for stopping these attacks lies not with the behavior of the user and/or their Internet-connected machine (e.g. Windows XP), but with the Internet's ISP's. These people point to well-known and long-established RFC's (Internet standards documents) (RFC 2267) (RFC 2827) and other Internet "Best Practice" documents which recommend that packets carrying spoofed source IP addresses should not be allowed to "egress" (leave) the ISP's locally-controlled network. Such clearly invalid packets should simply be discarded as they attempt to "escape" out onto the global Internet.


    The beauty of "network egress filtering" is that each ISP becomes responsible for curtailing the IP spoofing of their own users. As I explain on my (still unfinished) DoS pages, once a forged packet "gets loose" from the ISP, and out onto the Internet, the task of tracking it back to its source is essentially impossible. The only opportunity to "block and drop" a spoofed packet is while it's still within the ISP's local network where it is EASILY identifiable as invalid and forged. Once that packet "egresses" onto the main Internet backbone, it's too late.

    Adding Egress Filtering For many ISP's, implementing egress filtering is as simple as adding a SINGLE LINE to the configurations of their various routers. For example, Cisco routers have included this option for years, merely requiring the addition of this single line:

    ip verify unicast reverse-path

    In most cases, that's all there is to it. However, despite the fact that this has been known and discussed for more than three years (the issue date on RFC2267) the vast majority of ISP's have simply not bothered with this simple security measure.

    I believe that proponents of ISP network egress filtering are COMPLETELY correct. I have stated this at the conclusion of my previous page describing the Wicked DDoS Attacks. My announced plans for "Spoofarino", a free, user-oriented utility for encouraging ISP accountability for the lack of egress filtering, has already been discussed by the computer press. Today, the practice of network egress filtering is more the exception than the rule, but we can hope that it will be widely adopted as these issues attain increasing visibility in the future.

    However, this potential for an improvement in the Internet's infrastructure notwithstanding, it is important to recognize that . . .

    Egress filtering does NOT solve the whole problem.

    While egress filtering will be a good thing once it exists, it fails to solve the problems of Denial of Service attacks in two ways:

    * Local Domain Spoofing: Egress filtering operates by verifying that a packet's "return address" lies within the local network domain. Egress filtering DOES NOT, and can not, verify that the packet ACTUALLY CAME FROM the designated machine within that domain. Since the local network domain being managed by a router often includes thousands of valid IP addresses, any machine may still generate forged packets which appear to be sourced from any other addresses within its immediate neighborhood.

    Therefore, the site under attack will still have difficulty filtering the attack and/or identifying the true attacking machine(s). Rather than identifying and perhaps blocking the individual IP addresses of malicious machines, the inbound routers of a site under attack would need to temporarily ban entire "malicious networks" from access. The effect of this would be that sites under attack would "go dead" to whole regions of the Internet which contain "locally spoofing machines". This is hardly an optimum solution, and even so, it requires a degree of router-blocking sophistication which is uncommon.

    * Non-Spoofing Attacks: The widespread availability of trivial source IP address spoofing is only one of the problems created by Windows XP's support for full Raw Sockets. Unlike any previous, unmodified, consumer Windows operating system, Windows XP supports the generation of SYN-packet floods.

    The Windows-hosted distributed attacks against grc.com employed 474 machines flooding our Internet connection with ICMP and UDP traffic. We were fortunately able to filter those attacks, and remain on the Web, only because those attack-hosting Windows machines were unable to generate SYN-floods.

    Attacks hosted on the future Windows XP consumer operating system will have no such limitations. Non-spoofed attacks, which will never be blockable by egress filtering, will be far more damaging when hosted by Windows XP than previous consumer versions of Windows.

    As this analysis demonstrates, network egress filtering is undoubtedly a good thing for the long term future of the Internet. But it does not, and can not, provide a cure-all solution to the problem of the Internet protocol abuse promoted by the existence of Windows XP's full Raw Socket support.
    Sheesh!

    -- Shamus

    O Brave New World, with such People in it!
  • What you mean is that people don't know anything other than Windows.

    Of course they don't but blind Linux advocation isn't helping anything. I work 2 computer jobs, doing user-support and sure, I've heard all the "my screen is blue and has some wierd message" complaints, but I can EASILY imagine setting up a Linux system for every user and having some of THESE problems:

    "It says I don't have permission to run this program." "How do I install programs?" "How do I uninstall programs?" "I downloaded a program, but its .tar.gz... What's that?" etc... Windows certainly isn't flawless, but from a user-support standpoint, I'd rather deal with it than Linux, because trying to explain the difference between binaries and source to someone who views computers as a tool rather than a hobby (this means virtually 0% of /. users) would be an exercise in futility.

    I don't like Windows any more than you do, but the fact is that people *ARE* content with the OS despite its annoyances. They *DO* know other things besides Windows, and those things include file-cabinets full of type-written, hand-completed records and correspondance rather than an Outlook inbox and Excel. To them, Windows sure as hell beats the alternative. Linux is, and may always be a 'techie' OS. It has a long way to go before I can envision any of my users seriously grasping it.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:19PM (#2190682)
    "Do note that it is apdf file and will require a pdf reader of some kind."

    Too bad it's not a secure PDF file, I was looking forward to trying Elcomsoft [elcomsoft.com]'s software that Dmitri wrote.

  • I remember a few years back that the FTC blocked microsoft from aquiring Intuit (those guys that make quicken, etc) because of features that Microsoft is now trying to include in XP. The FTC blocked that move because microsoft would then control a large portion of online money transactions.

    Here we are in July 2001, and Microsoft has now written their own version of the Intuit features they wanted when the FTC blocked them from aquiring Intuit. It should go without saying that this move should be blocked again, but who knows what will happen this time around.
  • It's sad that consumers have turned a blind eye to the behavior of Microsoft in this regard but consumers are not to blame for the behavior of Microsoft.

    The complaint is well articulated and although not as complete (detailed) as I'd expect - I'm not a lawyer so I don't know what's appropriate - it covers a wide range of issues which have been discussed on /. over the past 6 months. It's good that we have organizations like the EFF and EPIC to help consumers address this criminal corporate behavior but perhaps we have come to rely on these organizations to protect us - to a degree that isn't entirely healthy in so far as we (consumers) have not taken sufficient action ourselves. In that sense, perhaps the blame should fall - at least in part - on the consumers.

    --CTH
  • "If I were to buy a Mac right now, I would end up spending around $3000. "

    Good Lord why?! We're talking newbies here, and a $999 iMac will be great for them. $3000 will get you a PowerBook, let alone any iBook or iMac you can think of with money left over.
    ________________

  • Essentially their argument is that they don't believe what MS says about XP, so MS must be lying.
  • Um... this [slashdot.org]? Been hiding in a cave for the past few weeks?
  • From the PDF file:
    To establish your own private and secure personalized support web page where you can interact with our award-winning Microsoft Support professionals, first time users will need to (1) sign-up for Passport or sign-in to Passport and (2) complete a profile.

    My question here is, when were Microsoft's support professionals ever award-winning? Awards for most useless perhaps? I'm sorry, but I've heard nothing particularly good said about Microsoft tech support, except that if they really don't know the answer, they might not slug you with a $200 fee. Never mind that you've actually purchased the software and are a competent computer user or anything. (For anyone who hasn't read it, have a look at Microsoft Technical Support vs. the Psychic Friends Network [bmug.org].)

  • If you have one that works like it's supposed to, please tell me the brand. Mine doesn't adjust properly for being warmed up, and always toasts too lightly if it is hot from previous use. Also, my dryer (supposedly a companion for my washer) fits about 3/4 as much stuff and takes twice as long as my washer. Overall, I'd say Microsoft wins the "works properly" war on that front.
  • Yeah really, damn those consumer advocates and their stylish conformity. Next thing you know we'll be getting our news from these rediculously self-righteous organizations; FTCNBC or some such nonsense. You know what else is disgusting? How it's become cool punish criminals, and 'vogue' to 'dis Nike sweatshops. Damn communists and their civil rights.
  • Just to nitpick, this would make for copyright infringement, not theft. You can't steal something by making a copy of it. If you were to find a car parked outside, make a replica of it, and drive off in the replica, could the owner of the original charge you with theft?
  • By that logic, you can't make copies of software you own for use on other computers or for some sort of use on your own computer because it would be stealing. This is where fair use supercedes the profits of a business that, according to law, exists to serve the people (and thus, serve their rights).
  • We'll remember that argument if you're ever arrested for a thought crime and want help.

    --

    Remove Trash+ to reach my actual inbox

  • Actually it's more like 5.5 billion or around there.

    --

    Remove Trash+ to reach my actual inbox

  • Here where I work (large university), we're striving to prototype to just that. It's called eduPerson and it's a standardized LDAP schema that represents a unique person within an educational institution. When deployed, it will be cross linked to other LDAP servers similar to how DNS is organized. This will allow for a global directory across all participating universities/educational institutions. Public keys are also issued to all participants providing a global PKI (public key infrastructure) to be also be developed. As with other standards that started their roots in the university/educational setting, perhaps this one could spread to the private sector as well.

    http://www.educause.edu/eduperson/
  • I don't know about you but I don't vote with my dollars. I pirate all of the MS software I use.

    All of it.

  • If there was really a demand for a new OS someone would create one.
    Umm.. Linux.. duh..

    People are content with Windows.
    What you mean is that people don't know anything other than Windows. In fact, most people don't even realize what Windows is. As a computer technician/support specialist, I often hear questions like "My Microsoft is broken" or "I have this screen that says 'Starting Windows 95'. I bought Microsoft, not Windows!" Additionally, I would venture that 40% of the problems I encounter have something to do with lock-ups, blue screens, or Windows errors. I am quite convinced that none of those users are content with this problem.

    I don't think that any slashdotter thinks the government should "manage OS's." Rather, they want the rights of the consumers to be protected. Microsoft has a monopoly. In order to fix this monopoly they must be closely monitored or the will step on too many feet.

    There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and BSD. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.
  • by Hostile17 (415334) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:07PM (#2190737) Journal

    I wonder when Microsoft is going to have Linux declared a Windows Circumvention Device and have Linus jailed under the DMCA.




  • From Microsoft's own description [microsoft.com] of Hailstorm: HailStorm also turns the industry debate over online privacy on its head. Instead of debating how much organizations can get away with with respect to an individual's information, HailStorm starts with the assumption that the user controls all personal information and gets to decide with whom to share any of it and under what terms. By putting people in control of their own data, HailStorm relies on an affirmative consent model as the way applications, services, and devices interact with users. The user owns the data. Any access to that data, any changes to that data, and any use of that data requires the explicit consent of the user.

    This is flawed logic, in my opinion. None of that matters if, once you've given that information over to the other party (which is necessary to do to complete a transaction), they just turn around and sell it to someone else. Microsoft isn't "protecting" anything. They're just "holding" our data for us. The problem is that I don't trust Microsoft enough to hold ANYTHING of mine, much less something personal and important to me.

    I'm sorry, but until Microsoft can secure their other, more trivial applications (as well as the not-so-trivial ones), there's no way in hell I'm going to give them a byte of my personal information. To me, it's just so incredibly obvious how dangerous something like this can grow to be. I'm not so concerned about someone hacking into my calendar; what frightens me is the possibility that medical records and tax information will ultimately start making its way towards Microsoft.

    Given their past record on security, the government should disallow this on the grounds that it is a risk to public safety.


  • That would be a good idea. Just as good would be allowing users to view back what we've submitted instead of just the time/date of submission, topic, and current status. Taht way someone can review previous submissions, and then copy&paste into a revised submission. Maybe I'll take a peek at the slashcode and see all that's involved.
  • The whole point of the free market is the valuing of fair competition. If your product is awful, other companies will have something better and you'll go out of business. But if there is one huge company, who gets to the top with an OK product, but then their product becomes an abusive piece of junk, but the company still has the advantage of size, money, etc. to squash any small startups' competition (with ads, propaganda, legions of lawyers, etc.), obviously the free market doesn't work then! The customer must buy a dumb product, without choice! In monopoly cases, the government must get involved for the very benefit of the free market!
  • by Ulwarth (458420) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:16PM (#2190755) Homepage
    What's disgusting is that it ever came to this point. Most businesses play a game of trying to play "nice guy" while being as fiercely competative (including nasty underhanded tricks) as possible. In most cases, I think this results in a pretty good balance as far as bringing the consumer a good product while making successful companies gobs of cash.

    I don't blame it on the government, or even on Microsoft. I blame it on us, the consumers. That we shrug our shoulders and say, "Eh, what are you gonna do" and keep straight down this path. Do we think that, someday, magically, they are going to stop doing this stuff? Of course not. As long as we keep voting with our dollars, they'll keep this sort of nonsense up.
  • by Derkec (463377) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:52PM (#2190760)
    Doubt it. If Microsoft actually required Passport to use the internet, they would get into even deeper trouble. Instead they merely imply it. So if I'm a normal user, that's what I think and so I sign up for passport. If I'm a Microsoft lawyer, I happily do a demo by clicking no and then use the internet. Slimy is the appropriate word here. The goal here is to make everyone who isn't well informed choose yes and you all know what follows after that.
  • by 4n0nym0u53 C0w4rd (463592) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:25PM (#2190761) Homepage
    From the pdf:

    The Windows XP operating system leaves the user with little choice but to employ Passport. As soon as the user starts a computer and uses a modem, a dialog box appears on the screen stating: "You've just connected to the Internet. You need a Passport to use Windows XP Internet communications features (such as instant messaging, voice chat and video), and to access Net-enabled features. Click here to set up your Passport."

    Wow, this sounds as bad as This [slashdot.org] story from earlier. What the heck are "Net-enabled features" in this context? Reminds me of those lame ass banner ads that look like error messages "Click here to optimize your system." Or junk (snail) mail that is printed with a font to appear to be handwritten.

    Marketing people are slime, they should all be forced to spend large amounts of time with John Tesh.

  • This is an interesting document - my wife is a solicitor (what we aussies calkl lawyers) and thinks its just about the weirdest thing she has read in years- it will last about 5 minutes in a court of law BUT it will do what is is supposed to do - generate a lot of publicity for the complainants who drafted the document and thus enable them to make money from their profiles as 'defenders' of the public.

    Not defending MS (heaven forbid) but this is an opportunistic grab for dollars and collumn inches rehashing tired old statements and looking like a way to turn more heat on MS thus hoping they will cough up some cash.

    Isnt there a legal rule about pursuing lawsuits which are trivial or designed to waste the courts time ?
  • by ednopantz (467288) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @02:48PM (#2190764)
    This thing is an embarrassment to Microsoft's many and often articulate critics.

    The complaint charges that MS ties support to product registration. Yeah, so does my toaster warranty, and my VCR, and my TV, and my washer and dryer, etc.

    It implies that users get tricked into signing up for Passport. Is a Passport registration necessary for non-MS Internet sites? If not, then what is the big fuss? It suggests you sign up; you tell it no, and that is it. None of this tracking seems to be mandatory if one doesn't choose to use their second rate online sites.

    Their online sites monitor user activity and sell that information for marketing purposes. What "free" online service doesn't?
    All of this stuff is in the various license click-throughs. At least they ask. Doubleclick never asked if they could profile me across the whole net.

    On a side note, who doesn't lie when portals ask for personal information? I tell one I am a hog farmer, the next that I am an exotic dancer, etc.

    So why is MS evil here again? Oh, that's right, that whole evil incarnate thing.

    They complain that the product manufacturer requires registration as a condition of support, then they complain about a suggested Passport registration, then about practices standard in the portal industry, finally complaining about potential security problems at a largely non-functional MS mega-portal.

    On that note, if security becomes a major problem at Hailstorm, it won't be the FTC that stops it. It will be the companies that pay for credit card fraud. We would get a ringside seat on VISA vs. Microsoft. I wonder who would win.

  • by rhammack (471235) <robb@rhammack.com> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:53PM (#2190767)
    Perhaps it's become "vogue" because there's so much to complain about....... And remember, if nobody complains, the chances of anything improving are pretty much nil. Micro$oft is in business to make $$$$, and will continue to engage in practices, deceptive and otherwise, which result in a net increase in $$$$. As consumers, we have an obligation to ourselves to provide feedback to indicate our dissatisfaction to microsoft by any means possible.
    Just as an example, anyone who installs linux due to dissatisfaction with M$ software should notify Microsoft of the fact, and that they chose Linux over Microsoft due to: [insert list of reasons here]. At the very least, you can then proceed to bash microsoft (a favored pastime) with a completely clear conscience ;)
    At best, if enough people prove to microsoft that they're actually <gasp> losing money!, there may be a slight chance of improvement. Case in point: Smarttags. If the outcry (and possible litigation) had not been so prevalent and widespread, It would still be slated for release in XP. Of course, they could just be waiting for a more favorable climate to release them;)
  • >You are misinformed. Legally, your toaster, VCR, TV, washer AND dryer are ALL under warrany
    >whether you "register" or not. Thelaw provides something called an "implied warranty", which
    >means that an item you buy must be fit for the purpose for which it was sold. Specific duration
    >warranties are provided for different types of products. The only way that a manufacturer can
    >circumvent the implied warranty is by making a specific deal with the buyer - the customer must
    >KNOW that he/she is making such a deal.

    In some countries at least, like in Sweden, there is no way to shorten the implied warranty time (or remove it or change it). You can make it longer.

    >Manufacturers would all like to circumvent the implied warranty in order to further their bottom
    >line, but the only way they can do this is - you guessed it - product "registration".

    And this is of course the reason, everything would eventually be sold in such a way that you had no warranty at all. Thus it is not possible to change the warranty (and a whole bunch of other things) in such a way that it gets worse for the consumer, only in a way benefital to the consumer.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

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