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Microsoft XP License Prohibits VNC 798

Posted by timothy
from the there's-an-interesting-clause dept.
jhml writes: "Looks like the monopoly muscles are flexing. According to this article in Infoworld, the XP license prohibits products other than from Microsoft's from being used to remotely control an XP workstation. So ... guess they were having a little trouble with VNC being widely used?"
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Microsoft XP License Prohibits VNC

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  • by Bonker (243350) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:32PM (#3178688)
    I was curious, so I installed XP a little while back. Ran just fine with two different versions of VNC
    • Ditto,

      I used it to control a buddy's computer and set up the software to allow him to take over my machine in turn. I had no problems getting it running - other than doing the IP forwarding thing on my firewall.

      I understand it works for all sort of machines, too. Take that microsoft terminal server!!!!

      The fact that it's free, performs the same functionality as TS but works on multiple platform means that it totally rules.

      anyway....

      J:)
      • Microsoft Terminal Server?

        You mean remote assistance?

        Assuming you do, remote assistance is much more efficient than VNC; instead of regularly sending JPEGs, like VNC, the remote assistance program simply can send the window styles, etc. to the other computer, the location of the windows, and the description of the contents, and after that it only has to send changes in things like window location, window size, etc.

        If only it would work on other platforms.... (which would be extremely hard to do, esp with the huge amount of window managers out there)

        On an unrelated note, I saw XP ads all over that webpage
        • by xonker (29382) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:01PM (#3178841) Homepage Journal
          remote assistance is much more efficient than VNC

          Maybe -- but the point of the discussion is whether you're even allowed to use something else.

          Microsoft's remote assistance might be better than VNC -- but they should have no right to tell users that they can't use VNC. If you pay for XP (or get it preloaded...) you should be able to use it any way you choose.

          I do wonder if that clause in the license was meant to prevent using VNC, or if it was an attempt to prevent multiple users from accessing a single Microsoft box and running multiple instances of Office or something like that. Perhaps the author of the original story should have contacted M$ and asked what their take was on that. I'm sure that they would likely have disavowed that they were trying to prevent using VNC in conjuntion with XP. (I doubt they could enforce it anyway...)
          • by Archfeld (6757) <treboreel@live.com> on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:20PM (#3178942) Journal
            has found a click thru license that has been upheld in court. They can demand all kinds of things but what the courts let them get away with is entirely a different matter
            • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:43PM (#3179044) Homepage
              has found a click thru license that has been upheld in court. They can demand all kinds of things but what the courts let them get away with is entirely a different matter

              Err not quite, there is one case although the precedent is fairly weak, the case was pretty narrow and was not appealled. The case involved a CDROM with telephone numbers on that would not be copyrightable as a mere aggregation of non copyright data. The court held that the shrinkwrap license established a contractual agreement not to copy the data, although the precedent is weak since there were other issues involved.

              Also in the DeCSS case the existence of a shrinkwrap license was considered significant, although it was not decisive in that particular case.

              That is beside the point in this case however since the clause would probably constitute an illegal restraint of trade if interpreted as in the article. Also the courts are much more willing to interpret clickwrap as establishing the type of copyright protections that they are used to in other media, than they are to allow the introduction of extraneous terms.

              • by studerby (160802) on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:01AM (#3179313)
                has found a click thru license that has been upheld in court. They can demand all kinds of things but what the courts let them get away with is entirely a different matter

                has found a click thru license that has been upheld in court. They can demand all kinds of things but what the courts let them get away with is entirely a different matter

                The case you're talking about is ProCD,Inc. vs. Zeidenberg [emory.edu], and your remarks are close but a bit off. Because white-page phonebook listings and similar "brute-force" database lists that are the product of hard work but no creativity are *not* protected by copyright (The Suprmeme Court's "Feist v. Rural Telephone" decision), ProCd was able to gather up phone books and create a national phone CD. Zeidenberg then took the CD, created a web interface to the data and was sued by ProCD.

                Zeidenberg won in District Court, ProCd appealed to the 7th Circuit and lost there, and Zeidenberg did not appeal to the Supreme Court. In the 7th circuit ruling, Judge Easterbrook specifically reversed the trial court on the enforceability of shrinkwrap licenses. The way courts do things, this precedent is binding in all the District Courts in the 7th Circuit, but not elsewhere.

                From a copyright perspective, this decision is ludicrous, because it in essence says that any publisher can slap a "contract" on something (book, cd, etc.) and thereby void any rights consumers otherwise might have, but until someone with bucks take the matter to the Supreme Court, we lack a definitive answer to the problem...

          • I'm toying with an analogy in my head here.

            I'm thinking, if microsoft really didn't want VNC to be used, why not do some programming voodoo to make it crash or something?

            I think the end user license is kind of silly in forbidding software a user can run. I think its more that microsoft won't support XP configurations running VNC, not that they want to ban people from using it. Or maybe they do, in favor of their built in remote admin stuff.

            I can think of an analogy of someone buying a car, and reading the owners manual which says "please only use 'GM/Ford/your car company's name here' oil filters when changing oil, or this company's spark plugs when doing a tune up" ... it's a suggestion, and if you blow your engine by using a crappy oil filter or something , I don't think the warrantee would cover it. Same here, Microsoft probably just doesn't want to support software , so they tell you not to run certain software.

            Although I think its kind of silly, VNC is incredibly useful, even over slow dial up connections.
        • VNC doesn't send JPEGs, nor does it regularly send the entire screen over the wire. It only sends rectangular areas of the screen that have changed. This is potentially less efficient than sending what is effectively GDI over the wire, but it isn't nearly as bad as you make it out to be. VNC works fine for running typical apps over a DSL connection, and is more than adequate for remote system administration on a LAN.
        • There is a terminal server client for Linux called rdesktop. I have an old crappy laptop running win2k sitting in the closet that I access remotely if i happen to need a windows app. Works great.
        • you obviousally never have used tightVNC.
          I can get near realtime response on a 33.6 modem connection (and that kiddies is all you can get from 56K modems without having a T1 line and a $12,000 modem rack at the other end.) It's faster , better and you can even increase the jpeg compression so high that you get insanely fast comms with some very tolerable artifacting. (you can read it but most graphics have the wierd over-compressed look to them.)

          and best of all VNC/TightVNC is free, open source, and compatable witha huge range of computers and platforms... something that microsoft has yet to have the technology to accomplish.

          Nope, they tried to shovel that MS solution down our throats here at corperate... It was mysteriously was deleted, and TightVNC is used instead... (Wonderful how the IS/IT policy is written so that any freeware and Open Source is allowed in the company.... and how if they try to complain I just ask why it says evaluation copy- please register on some of the "tool apps
          " they sent us and isn't that a violation of copyright and I should call the BSA?

          The weenies at deployment and the NOC shut up quite quickly when threatened with the BSA.... See they are useful!
    • But it means the world if you ever get a software audit. The IT people where I work are paranoid on this case and the follow licenses to a T since it means a huge fine for the company (and the behind of the IT head).

      • I'm not convinced they're trying to slay VNC or anybody else. I think they're covering their own butts. With all these backdoor viruses floating around, I think MS is trying to prevent themselves from being taken to court if somebody is hacked. It sure saves them from having to write code to fix Outlook Express.
        • aren't the backdoors/virus opportunities typically in Microsoft's products? how does prohibiting use of a 3rd party product CYA as far as an OS vendor is concerned? isn't that the point of an operating system, to be able to run applications on it? frankly, the issue in the article concerns more that just using 3rd party software to replace software the OS vendor supplied with the OS (wanna replace that calculator?).. it's about what software you can use for remote control ... and that REALLY scares me that MS can force you to only use their remote controls for their OS. CYA my Ass, come on. when the license specifically reads that you can't use any other remote controls except the ones they proved, i would tend to RUN in another direction. suppose the license reads "you can use this software, but only how we tell you you can use it: the following uses are explicitly prohibited...".
        • by Negadecimal (78403) on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:49AM (#3179499)
          I think they're covering their own butts. With all these backdoor viruses floating around, I think MS is trying to prevent themselves from being taken to court if somebody is hacked.

          For some reason, I read this and imagined a sign outside of a bank entrance: "By entering this bank, you agree not to steal our money."
        • I don't think that creates any legal protection for them. Trojan writers are criminals and you can't reasonably expect them to cease and desist because you added a stupid clause to your EULA.

          If Mr. Rich Lately walked through the unlocked front door of a bank at midnight, strolled down the stairs, opened the vault (which has no locks) and made off with the life savings of a few thousand people, the bank could not just say "Well it's not our fault, it's illegal to steal, after all."

        • How many million Windows-boxes were hacked?

          How often was MS sued?

    • by rseuhs (322520) on Monday March 18, 2002 @05:31AM (#3180158)
      Aren't people really too dumb to realize that shit like this is just the first step?

      Now it's "no big deal, VNC runs just fine".

      In 2 years when the next version comes out and VNC won't run anymore it's "no big deal, VNC wasn't legal anyway, it should not run"

      It's the same with WPA:

      Now: "No big deal, it works fine"

      In 2 years: "Subscription is great because you don't get any WPA-codes for unsupported versions anymore anyway."

  • by JPriest (547211) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:32PM (#3178691) Homepage
    I never could get the sub seven client to run under wine anyway...
  • ssh ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jkujawa (56195) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:32PM (#3178693) Homepage
    I wonder what they think of people using SSH to remotely log-in to a windows box. I believe that the openssh daemon compiles natively under cygwin.
    • Re:ssh ? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jallen02 (124384)
      Not only that, I have the SSH daemon running as a service under W2K professional. I even use VSS command line stuff and work remotely using vim with a SSH daemon running on my office work machine. How is that for cool. I think I would go insane if I did not have Cygwin on my windows workstations.

      Jeremy
    • Re:ssh ? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Wakko Warner (324)
      What the hell good is SSH on a windows box? Ooh, I can run "cmd.exe".

      - A.P.
      • Re:ssh ? (Score:3, Informative)

        by gclef (96311)
        Ooh, I can run "cmd.exe".

        and with cmd.exe, I can manage a machine. You don't really think that I GUI log into 300 machines to install a patch, do you?
    • Re:ssh ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mark_lybarger (199098) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @11:11PM (#3179151)
      from reading the license, it appears that ssh is also excluded (though probably not a popular and noteworthy for the article).

      "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."


      this is really stretching it, but say you've got a dual boot machine with linux/XP on it. by reading this license you can't boot to linux and remotely run any software on the box. maybe "Workstation computer" is defined someplace else in the license to only include that area of the computer with the xp install, but i'm not counting on it.

      • Re:ssh ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lord Ender (156273) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @11:49PM (#3179274) Homepage
        you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer To me, this looks like it is against the license to have a server with CGI on a WindowsXP computer. That is a much bigger deal than the VNC thing, in my opinion.
        • Re:ssh ? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          From my reading, you can't even use a non-microsoft monitor.
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday March 18, 2002 @01:55AM (#3179740) Journal
        ...you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product.

        Notice that last part, where they prohibit running the windows user interface remotely on a machine that is NOT licensed for windows. What they want to prevent is using workstation licenses to set up a "windows server", which could let you run windows programs from a non-windows machine.

        This is to keep people from buying a small number of windows licenses and putting a few machines running VNC or the like in the server room, to run those few windows applications that the company hasn't been weaned from yet.

        Again they're monopolizing - this time by trying to block migration paths from windows to non-windows shops.
      • Read more closely (Score:3, Insightful)

        by achurch (201270)
        "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

        this is really stretching it, but say you've got a dual boot machine with linux/XP on it. by reading this license you can't boot to linux and remotely run any software on the box.

        Wrong, at least going by the quote above--note how it says "you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run . . ." Since "Product" presumably refers to Windows, the clause doesn't apply while you're running Linux. (It might, on the other hand, apply if you had an emulator running Linux under Windows.)

  • by Peyna (14792) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:34PM (#3178700) Homepage
    Well, I've used both extensively, and I have to say that from my experience, remote desktop is much better than VNC. Unless you need to control your desktop from something other than XP or machine running IE6 you might have some problems. Never really ran into the issue myself, you could always carry around a disk with TSC if you needed to.

    Anyway, remote desktop runs much better than VNC, and is sure a lot better than a screen capture... oh well. Besides, with VNC can you play a CD on the remote computer and listen to it at your local machine? =]

    • Of course remote desktop works better between two Windows machines than VNC.

      Microsoft wrote support for it right into the OS.

      When Microsoft wants to, they can beat any program by using resources (source code) that nobody else has.

      Microsoft is *always* behind the curve with features.. they wait until something is popular, is proven in the marketplace... then copy it and do whatever they can to destroy the company/team that developed it.

      If I hear Gates or Balmer mention 'innovate' one more time.. I'm going to loose my lunch. Do they really belive that is what they do? Or do they laugh themselves to teh bank on the way back from the courtroom? Err, their videotapes do anyway...
    • Besides, with VNC can you play a CD on the remote computer and listen to it at your local machine?

      Yes, but you have to turn the volume way up ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:34PM (#3178704)
    "the XP license prohibits products other than from Microsoft's from being used to remotely control an XP workstation"

    Well, I guess Microsoft finally figured out how to take care of the thousands of trojans out there... Just forbid them in the EULA, and surely they'll all go away ;-)

    • Your Windows software License is only valid for use with the following list of MS-approved software programs...

      "Well, I guess Microsoft finally figured out how to take care of the thousands of trojans out there... Just forbid them in the EULA, and surely they'll all go away ;-)"

      No, it's not. It simply means that every computer that has a trojan on it suddenly is out of license for Windows.

      Since so many windows PC's out there _are_ trojaned (I still get minda scans in my firewall logs), that means that they can tell all these people to buy pay them a lot of damages, because the computer owners have committed breach of contract by installing the trojan on their computer.

      So, Microsoft will not scan the Internet itself for port 31337 (backorifice) and others, and when it finds a trojan, they can send in the troops...

      Actually, they can just bundle VNC with the next IEploder or outlook 'security update', making everybody who installs it out-of-license. They could then also claim billions more tax deductions to piracy losses.

    • by Alsee (515537) on Monday March 18, 2002 @02:10AM (#3179797) Homepage
      Microsoft finally figured out how to take care of the thousands of trojans out there

      OMG! Microsoft is abusing their monopoly to expand into the trojan market! Pretty soon there's be no option except Microsoft brand trojans!

      -
  • by Nailer (69468) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:34PM (#3178706)
    PCAnywhere 10.5 includes Windows XP support, and IIRC still uses its own protocol / mechanism for doing so, rather than MS RDP. Symantec have the Designed for Windows XP logo on the PCA box.

    How is this affected?
    • I'm sure that Symantec bought a hefty license to have PCAnywhere work with XP. "Rogue" applications like VNC are really the only ones in question.
    • by Reziac (43301) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:52PM (#3179079) Homepage Journal
      I wonder if this is fallout from another issue:

      At the XP rollout I asked (twice, once where the entire audience could hear it) about licensing vs "As a guest using remote assistance, you are able to run anything on the remote system"... frex, Word. But Word's current license is PER USER, *not* PER SEAT. (One computer, one copy of Word, 6 *possible* users == you are now required to have 6 licenses -- possibly 7 if your M$Office install was OEM, since in some confused way it appears that sometimes the computer itself is regarded as a user.)

      The M$ guy quite deliberately danced all around but never answered my question.

      Draw your own conclusions.

  • Look, more FUD. (Score:3, Informative)

    by NetJunkie (56134) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (hsan.nosaj)> on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:36PM (#3178712)
    Read the agreement. What Microsoft doesn't want you to do is to use VNC to create a terminal services like server where you install an app once and share it with your network.

    No one cares if you remote control it for administrative purposes.
    • Re:Look, more FUD. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by steppin_razor_LA (236684) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:41PM (#3178747) Homepage Journal
      Here is what the article quotes (I don't have XP so I'm not sure about it's license agreement)

      The way I read this is that this prohibits software from remotely driving the computer - whether it is for serving applications or for administrative purposes.

      Microsoft's XP license agreement says, "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

      I don't think it is even possible to set up VNC to be used on the Windows platform to set up application sharing -- the VNC instance is tied to the desktop -- IMHO that means it is only good for a single user and I don't see why it matters whether that single user is at the KB on the console or a remote console.

      I also agree with an earlier poster -- for the Windows platform, the Terminal Services client is *FAR* superior to VNC -- of course it is -- VNC works by sending bitmaps across the pipe -- the terminal services client can send API calls -- same principle as behind Xwindows.

      I often like to install both as there has been times when Terminal services has croaked but VNC hasn't and vice-versa.

      • Re:Look, more FUD. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AdrianG (57465) <adrian@nerds.org> on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:05AM (#3179329) Homepage
        • I also agree with an earlier poster -- for the Windows platform, the Terminal Services client is *FAR* superior to VNC -- of course it is -- VNC works by sending bitmaps across the pipe -- the terminal services client can send API calls -- same principle as behind Xwindows.

        Nonsense!! With Palm VNC I can take over my desktop with my Kyocera Smartphone. Can you give me a Windows Terminal services client that runs on a palm pilot? There are VNC clients and servers for a large variety of platforms. What do you think are the chances that MS will permit interoperability with Linux (which they've called THE major threat to Windows) or with PalmOS (the major competitor to WinCE)?

        Window Terminal Services are only far superior if you've already been assimilated. Even if I am sitting in front of a Windows machine, a Terminal Services client won't help me take over one of my Linux boxes. Terminal Services is mostly just good for locking me into Windows. No thanks.

        Adrian

    • Intent vs Wording (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)


      No one cares if you remote control it for administrative purposes.


      Really? Does the license make an exception for "administrative purposes"? The quoted portion in the article certainly doesn't point to one.


      It might shock you and other readers, but a license in based on the wording of that license. The letter of the law, as it were. Not on any individual's interpretation of its intent.


      Granted, you wouldn't be alone. It wouldn't be the first time an astute reader pointed out a particularly nasty bit of licensing, the issue was published, a company experienced backlash and then promptly assigned their PR people to profess confusion over the issue as the license is reworded and its new version published. Even professionals don't always grasp what their legal / licensing team is up to.


      Of course, sometimes they do. And then the end user / organization is forced to deal with the license. Or legal action.

  • by tshak (173364) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:36PM (#3178714) Homepage
    The reason this is even mentioned is because it has to do with "Citrix like" remote applications. Essentially, you can't setup a Windows box and have 50 Linux desktops connect to it ala VNC (for example) without having the appropriate licenses. This is no different then your usual CAL (Client Access License) for using a Windows network. The EULA just get's more specific about "Remote Desktops" since it's getting more popular.
    • Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but 50 Linux desktops connected to a single Windows box isn't exactly useful, unless you use 50 machines that you need to access the Windows machine from, in which case you've got other problems.

      50 people on 50 Linux machines using 50 VNC clients connected to 1 Windows VNC server does not result in 50 people remotely running their own instance of Windows apps. Instead, they'll all be sharing the same mouse/kb cursor, and the same processes.

      It would be nothing short of chaos... why does this need to be regulated again?
    • by markj02 (544487) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:55PM (#3178823)
      That's nonsense. VNC does not allow you to "setup a Windows box and have 50 Linux desktops connect to it"--VNC doesn't magically transform a single user Windows machine into a multiuser machine. I wish it did, but XP is such a primitive system that that's not easily possible. As far as Windows is concerned, VNC gives you the ability to remotely control a machine into which you are logged in, no more.

      In any case, what matters is not whether VNC lets you do this but that Microsoft tries to impose such restrictions. It's just another indication of how much they are trying to milk and control their customers. Any rational buyer should run from that kind of company, and this should be added to the long list of anticompetitive practices to be investigated.

  • rdesktop on *nix (Score:3, Informative)

    by Da_Monk (88392) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:37PM (#3178721)
    I don't see the advantages of vnc...
    rdesktop is available for *nix (open source)
    and works via the web. plus it can do sound forwarding... I think the reason for this clause is that running both on one XP machine can cause problems (you get an error with rdesktop (microsoft official)).

  • by asmithmd1 (239950) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:39PM (#3178734) Homepage Journal
    from the article
    Microsoft's XP license agreement says, "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface,
    unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."
    So if you are running XP on the machine you are runnning VNC you do not violate the license

    • Microsoft's XP license agreement says,
      "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

      But what I highligted implies you can't do VNC either.

      My interpretation of what it this says "You can access the system remotely using only MS supplied tools if you have enough licenses."

      • by Royster (16042) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:35PM (#3179013) Homepage
        What part of "unless" don't you understand?

        But everyone seems to be missing the important problem with the license. The real problem with the license is that certain MS products get a free ride and get priviledges that competing products do not.
      • by Calle Ballz (238584) on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:13AM (#3179358) Homepage
        Lemme highlight the whole thing, so that you can read the whole thing:

        Microsoft's XP license agreement says, "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

        What microsoft wants here is everyone who uses XP to have a license for the device they are using XP on. So if your friend sets up a WinXP box with a VNC server, microsoft doesn't want you "enjoying the functionality and features of XP" from your win98 box, win2k box, linux box or your toaster. Microsoft feels that people may not upgrade from win98 to XP because they might use VNC to access a seperate, 3rd party XP machine. It's pretty gay, but unless you are running XP on all machines involved... you are breaking their license.

        Don't buy XP, don't worry about.
      • you may not use the Product to permit any Device to [...] display [...] the [...] Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product

      Meaningless rabid lawyerese. Taken literally (and how else would you take a literal license?) and given that WinXP is licensed according to what's inside the box, it follows that you can't use a monitor to display WinXP unless the monitor has a separe license.

      If you want to argue that a monitor is not a "Device" whereas (e.g.) a remote laptop is, then consider one of those funky Phillips 802.11b touchscreen monitors with a whack of built in functionality, regardless of whether it's connected to a box or not. Then you draw the line between what's a Device and what isn't. Remember to future proof your definition to include stuff that hasn't been invented yet.

      Microsoft really needs to run this stuff through a cluechecker before leaving themselves open to this kind of ridicule. It's folly to write a license that's impossible to fully comply with, then get all prissy when people choose to ignore it as a whole.

  • by WasterDave (20047)
    And I quote: "you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation".

    Presumably this would include a telnet/ssh daemon and the cygwin installation needed to make them useful? Cygwin is the life blood of unixen trapped in a windows world - what now if the pointy haired ones 'upgrade' to XP?

    Dave
  • moronic (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    A developer can put anything they want in their license agreement. It doesn't mean it is legal and it certainly doesn't mean they can enforce it. It certainly won't stop me from running VNC on Windows. Fuck 'em.
  • by unsinged int (561600) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:51PM (#3178801)
    Okay people, we've reached the 2-Borg limit on the main page...

    Time to find something non-Microsoft to post before the whole page gets assimilated.
  • Netscape (Score:5, Troll)

    by Deanasc (201050) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:52PM (#3178806) Homepage Journal
    Why didn't they just ban Netscape Navigator in the lisence agreement. Then they wouldn't have had to write IE. What other competing software don't they want people to use? Put that into the lisence too.
    • Re:Netscape (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hattig (47930) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @11:41PM (#3179250) Journal
      This has been badly moderated as a Troll, but the point is valid.

      By excluding previously allowed software on their systems, Microsoft are extending their monopoly over the software that runs on their system.

      It is most likely that this part of the EULA would be overturned in a court ruling as being unreasonable.

      In any company, to comply with the license, they must use a Microsoft remote terminal application. This is restriction of business (or product tying), as companies will comply with the license of course!)

      Someone should point this out to the 9 states and the DOJ as evidence that Microsoft are *continuing* to act in a predatory monopolistic manner, and that harsh terms need to be applied in order to allow true competition in the OS and application market.

  • Misinterpretation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peyna (14792) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:52PM (#3178807) Homepage
    From the article: Microsoft's XP license agreement says, "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

    It's hard to tell without the context of the quotation, but I would assume 'the Product' to refer to Windows XP or Remote Desktop. The emphasis also seems to be on "unless the Device has a separate license for the Product.". That seems to me to have a significant different implication than we are led to believe by the article. Does anyone have definitions for 'The Product' and 'the Device' from the terms of the license agreement?

  • by nahtanoj (96808) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:57PM (#3178829)

    That, because we are running their software, this means that they own the computer it runs on. What else could the deal with the "registered programs" and such be about? I own the damn network card, so doesn't that mean I can choose how to use it? It's the same ownership/license debate.

    I sick of it all...

    Nahtanoj

  • by ChrisKnight (16039) <merlin&ghostwheel,com> on Sunday March 17, 2002 @09:58PM (#3178831) Homepage
    When you can't crush your competition through weilding the club of monopoly, exercise your 'right' to stick innane clauses in your license agreement.

    Next up, and likely to be in Windows TX (Total eXtortion):

    - You may not use any fax package other than from microsoft to send faxes from Windows.

    - You may not use any compiler other than c# to compile software for Windows.

    - Tou may not use any internet tools that were compiled without .NET on Windows.

    - You may not use any installer tools other than from Microsoft to package software for Windows.

    - You may not read web sites with any software other than from Microsoft. (Oops, already did that one.)

    - You may not read Slashdot from a Microsoft Browser.

    I must say, I am starting to enjoy the sheer humor factor that Microsoft provides. While not yet having been punished for behaving in a monopolistic way, Microsoft goes out of their way to make sure everyone knows just how wide thei are willing to swing their axe.

    -Chris
    • Funny how thoughtless trolls without basis of fact get modded up... see my sig.

      PS. As I've said 100 times, you can use VNC, Citrix, or ANY desktop/application sharing program on XP - you just need licenses for each desktop session.
      • by GregWebb (26123) on Monday March 18, 2002 @08:49AM (#3180431)
        Which is still ridiculous, given that XP won't give you more than one desktop.

        You show me a way to get 15 people using the same non-server XP PC at the same time, each doing whatever they want, and I'll acknowledge that each of those 15 could justifiably need an individual license.

        While only one can use it simultaneously, though, the point becomes ridiculous. I mean, are they seriously suggesting that people will run a small bunch of XP boxes then VNC into them from Linux terminals, dancing round until they find a free XP box? And, even if they did, why is this philosophically different from shared computer labs / hotdesking / pool laptops?

        This is monopolist extortion, pure and simple.
  • by Vicegrip (82853) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:01PM (#3178838) Journal
    in XP Professional.

    I have no tolerance for this kind of invasiveness on how I use my computer and I sincerely hope Microsoft chokes itself on these crappy EULA restrictions. Stunts like these make me so mad... next thing you know, the BSA is going to start suing people for NOT using Microsoft Word.

    Mac, here I come. I'm saving for one starting today.
  • An Observation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inquis (143542) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:04PM (#3178852)
    I understand that this particular license clause is designed to keep you from using Windows XP as a terminal server without buying licenses. However, in our world of lawyering even though the SPIRIT of the clause may be indifferent to VNC, by the LETTER using VNC is against the license agreement.

    The point I want to raise is this: VNC is an innocuous program. It's not Napster or Morpheus, which I could see Microsoft actually blocking. It's instead something you throw on a box to make your life as an admin easier. In short, VNC is about the /last/ program I would expect the Windows XP license to prohibit you from using.

    My question: Windows XP has been out there for what, a year? It took people that long to realize that the license agreement disallows the use of VNC? How much longer is it going to be before someone finds the clause that disallows the use of OpenOffice? If such a clause existed, would people be able to find it and realize its implications? Furthermore, how much longer is it going to be before network admins decide that they'd rather not use an operating system where they don't even have any idea what applications they are allowed to run on it? Again, VNC is an extremely common and handy tool, it seemed like the LAST app MS would disallow. If VNC is disallowed, what's next?

    -inq
  • Unenforcable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptainSuperBoy (17170) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:20PM (#3178937) Homepage Journal
    Even putting aside the question of whether ANY clickwrap EULA license is valid, I don't think users should be afraid of enforcement of this.

    We already know that there are whole clauses in licenses that are unenforcable - there are certain rights you can't give up in a contract, certain types of liability that a manufacturer can't disclaim. If I make an unsafe product I can still be held accountable even though the license disclaimed all liability. How is this different? The contract can't dictate whether you can use it with other people's software.. that's your own decision.

    Imagine if the BSA was allowed to raid your office and enforce 'interoperability!' MS ends up suing you because you ran VNC on XP desktops, Oracle sues you because there was an SQL Server on the same machine as Oracle, and Netscape sues you because they're angry at the world!

  • Typical. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonynnous Coward (557984) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:34PM (#3179011)
    This kind of clause is not new. From the Windows 98 EULA:
    torage/Network Use. You may also store or install a copy of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on a storage device, such as a network server, used only to install or run the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on your other COMPUTERS over an internal network;
    however, you must acquire and dedicate a license for each separate COMPUTER on or from which the SOFTWARE PRODUCT is installed, used, accessed, displayed or run.

    The bold text implies that a Windows 98 license would be required, for example, on the BSD machine running a BSD client connecting to a Windows 98 desktop.

    The Windows 2000 EULA is more blunt:

    You may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to display the Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product.

    Good thing that except for those unfortunates who live in UCITA states, these clauses are likely to mean dick.

  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:45PM (#3179052)
    VNC isn't the application that would be affected here. VNC is basically a free version of PC Anywhere.

    The application in trouble here is rdesktop, which allows you to connect a Windows Terminal Server or MetaFrame server over the RDP protocol.

    MSFT doesn't want you to run MS apps on a server without owning a MSFT product. A CAL costs like $30, while a windows xp pro license is like 200.

    I bet this sort of licensing restriction is illegal. I'm sure that IBM and Unisys had similar lines in their EULA's 20 years ago with mainframe systems to force companies to purchase expensive green screen terminals. Today people routinely connect with IBM 3270 emulators without any legal hassles.
    • Not to worry. The only reason there aren't any Unix, Mac, etc. clients for RDP is because Microsoft's contract with Citrix Systems (maker of the "multiwin" engine that enables Windows Terminal Services to work) specified that Microsoft would not release RDP clients for non-Windows operating systems; that market would belong to Citrix. Citrix believed that they would make the bulk of their money selling ICA protocol to terminal vendors, but then Microsoft turned around and muscled the terminal vendors into using Windows CE on their terminals.

      But it's all irrelevant now: the five-year contract was signed in 1997 and expires this year. Therefore, Citrix is scheduled to die this year. Rest assured that all of the value add that Citrix provides will now be built into the system by Microsoft.

      That includes clients for non Windows platforms. It's a downright draconian licensing model: for each client connecting to Terminal Services, you have to buy a Client Access License, a Terminal Services Client Access License (yes, they're two different things), a Citrix license (if you're using Citrix), and... if you're using a non-Microsoft operating system, or a Microsoft operating system older than the one running on the Terminal Services host... you also have to buy a Windows [2000] Workstation license!

      Add up all that free money for Microsoft and it doesn't really matter what OS you're connecting from.
  • by justsomebody (525308) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:54PM (#3179085) Journal
    I think there's a greater problem as VNC, because VNC is free. What about all this people that bought Citrix clients. They also access and control Windows desktop with non-Microsoft product. I can't imagine that Citrix reseller would tell you that even though you've purchased a valid license, you've still got to buy access client from Microsoft too.

    Story reminds me on time when I needed to purchase Terminal server. With all the licenses needed (you need WinNT + client licenses + terminal server, but funny is that client side is even more expensive because every client needs Win98 license + WinNT full license + Terminal server access license) I just smiled my self and felt quite happy about my decision to move bussines to Linux.

    I don't know, but that makes accessing WinXP trough SSH illegal too. But where is some Microsoft WinXP SSH client.

    It might came a bit out off topic, but story reminds me on Windows license stickers, that must be sticked on every computer that you sell Windows with. I sell only well designed and expensive cases (otherwise I rather avoid that job), this could break their level of class. It's like some Ferrari reseller would put a sticker on the car he just sold, but to get back. There has come to dispue about this topic and dispute was over the moment I asked for damage covering. You can't sell classy PC case with stickers on it. This just isn't way to do bussines, it's more like cow branding to which ranch do they belong.

    Now in these days of XP licensing, I can't say I haven't expected something like that. Nobody can say that without a lie, even the toughest Microsoft fans.

    To get a little more out off topic (but with a point again). Interesting is how they protect their rights. And what kind of material do they use to lower quality of other products. Recentlly I recived two CD-s for Windows 2000 resellers "How to compete with Linux environment". I don't think that I've ever read this many "bullshit" in my life as I've reada in that material. Just to cover some points (Comparing Win2000AdvSrv with Redhat 6.0, while document is dated late 2001, Linux has no 1000Mbit eth support, Linux has no VPN support, Linux has no PPP dialer, etc, while other file (dated few days in difference) comparing Samba with Win2000 says that weak point of Samba 2.2 is that it doesn't come preinstalled on releases prior to 7.2, so you must set it up on your own...).

    This (sad) reality (unfortunatelly) shows how over protective (no body count and no regrets) thay are. It seems like they'll soon lack of new enemies and they want their customers to become ones. Now with that legal issue about remote control, they've just made competition alias Citrix harder job to copete with their solutions. It wouldn't surprise me if the next step would be selling licenses for use of non-Microsoft software. As how this software is not confirmed by Microsoft and they've got to approve it so this license would be just covering their expenses to test that software. It's long since they've shown that they're interested in money and not in users benefits.

    I know the last claim is off course missed one. But as current events are evolving... Who knows

    bout the article let's just say "Predictable and not impresssive anymore"
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @10:55PM (#3179089) Homepage Journal
    "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

    This is taken out of context, but I'm assuming 'Product' is referring to XP. It doesn't say you can't run VNC, it says that there needs to be a seperate license of XP for the client. That is bogus for VNC users, but if you look a little closer at the wording, I'm not sure they exactly intended to wipe out VNC. It sounds like they're saying 'you have to be using XP to control XP', but that's only true if this agreement is for the home edition of XP. Again, this was taken out of context, but I can't help but wonder if this was taken from the Corporate version of XP's agreement.

    If that's the case, suddenly it makes more sense. What MS is trying to do is get companies to buy the XP Enterprise Edition (at least I assume there's a version like that...) that has 25 client licenses. In which case, using PC Anywhere to connect to that product would require an extra license. This sounds shitty unless you think about it some more. Computers are getting more powerful, right? So it gets to a point where you could have one computer powerful enough to perform a number of people's needs, all you'd need is a terminal to connect to it.

    Let me tell you about an interesting feature that XP has that the rest of the Windows line doesn't: It can have multiple users running programs at the same time. Unix has done this for ages, but XP finally supports this. You can log in as yourself, run a program, then log in as somebody else and run a program there too. In effect, both your programs are still running. A company looking to save a few bucks could make a central computer running XP and hack a version of VNC to divvy up incoming connections into different users. Then they build a bunch of Linux machines using VNC that connect to this server and make it look like a Windows desktop. They could buy exactly one copy of Office and support a whole office with that license. This would be harder to do with Win2K, but it seems like it'd be fairly easy with XP. I think MS's license is saying that you can't do this.

    As a side effect, VNC and PC Anywhere are technically unable to be used legitimately, unless MS specificially says it's ok. They probably have done that with PCAnywhere (there's hints to that effect on Symantec's site), but VNC probably won't be since it's open source.

    Alot of people are interpreting this line of text as an attempt to maintain a monopoly, or to wipe out VNC or something like that, but that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If MS really didn't like remote computing, then by default all they'd have to do is disable the common ports used for it. I think it's more likely they're trying to prevent people from doing something that hasn't been attempted yet.

    • Let me tell you about an interesting feature that XP has that the rest of the Windows line doesn't: It can have multiple users running programs at the same time.
      WinNT (I think) and Win2K (certainly) can do this. Shift-right click a program or shortcut to a program and choose "Run as...". Alternatively, from a command prompt, type: runas /user:Administrator cmd.exe. (You may need a 3rd party program to do this under Win NT, but it should be possible.)

      Services also typically run as different users, as do system processes such as winlogon.exe, svchost.exe, csrss.exe and mstask.exe. As others have pointed out, Terminal Services also allows multiple users to run programs with their own privilages. In fact, Windows NT, 2K, and XP allow finer-grained control of processes, threads, and objects than Unix does. What XP allows is an easy way for multiple users to have their own individual desktops available at the same time (and their own Explorer process running on their appropriate desktop). Download Process Explorer from System Internals [sysinternals.com] to see how processes under NT work.

    • I think it's more likely they're trying to prevent people from doing something that hasn't been attempted yet.

      In this industry, that particular activity is usually called innovation.

      This is one of the threats Lessig points to in Future of Ideas; the use of private law (licensing) to prevent innovation by new entrants to the industry.

  • by Balinares (316703) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @11:14PM (#3179164)
    Okay, so basically, it makes sense -- sort of. I imagine they just don't want people to use software off a Windows XP box without forking the mandatory bucks Redmond's way. Which does make sense, the way they've long been imagining LANs: one Windows client per end user, connecting to the central Windows servers. They just don't want it to be legally possible to 'cheat' and use the server software without paying for the client licenses as well. You may or may not agree with their idea of a network, but hey, whatever works for them.

    However, that part of the license is really strangely worded. It can be read much more broadly than that, effectively forbidding, say, SSH clients connecting to an SSH server on the XP server box and running things there, or any other form of non-MS-client based networking. I wonder if they have something in mind. Do .NET programs, and more precisely, Web services, count as "other executable software"?
  • by Above (100351) on Sunday March 17, 2002 @11:27PM (#3179206)

    Anyone who has used the major vendors Unix offerings has been hit by some version of "per user" licensing before. Those who have seen this conclude they are all broken.

    Many unix vendors only allow 2 "users" to be loged in at once in default installs. Of course, if you install software that doesn't write to utmp (be that an SSH server, or a web server, or any number of other things) then the limit doesn't apply. The number of ways around this are numerous, and most don't even violate the license.

    Microsoft, finally getting with the program, has a similar problem. Their software can finally support multiple users and applications in a reasonable way. They realize, rightfully so, that one big honkin machine, running the same software, can serve hundreds of users. Rather than hundreds of machines, each with a license.

    This is a prime example of "value based pricing". I don't think the concept is bad, but many of the implementations are, well, bad. I'm afraid that there will never be a good solution to this problem.

    The most fair thing I can come up with is to charge a business per user. Period. If those users all log into a single computer, or each have their own, the fee should be the same. Thus companies can decide to be client server, with a PC on every desk, or mainframe like, with a big server or two and dumb terminals, all at the same cost. In the end, the cost to the software company to develop both is fairly similar, and having the price be the same prevents killing one market in favor of another.

    I feel microsoft's wording is overly restrictive here, but at the same time there are more than a few companies who would only buy one copy of {Windows, Office, Linux, Photoshop, etc} if they could find a way to get away with it, including spending a pile of cash on a central server. It's really sad that people won't pay for good software.

  • Makes me laugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lkaos (187507) <anthony.codemonkey@ws> on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:11AM (#3179350) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry folks.

    I'm tired of hearing people bitch about Windows. Linux is a better OS. You have no excuse. Go and buy RedHat and stop bitching about the MS EULA.

    It reminds me of all those people who bitch about voting because we have a "two party system" and then on election day, they still vote for democrats or republicans. Either your part of the problem or the solution.
  • by defile (1059) on Monday March 18, 2002 @01:18AM (#3179610) Homepage Journal

    That still doesn't change the fact that their EULA is not legally enforcable.

    The whole big deal with UCITA is to make these shrinkwrap/clickthrough licenses legally binding. Otherwise it's just bullshit.

    Would they sue you over it? Maybe, but they probably won't win on purely legal grounds.

  • by QuaZar666 (164830) on Monday March 18, 2002 @04:02AM (#3180034)
    it seems as though no one has read the XP EULA and the nonsense of all the comments. let me post excerts from it. No where Does it mentions anything about Remote Assistance and that you can not use VNC and it says that if you use Netmeeting, et al, you can use the other persons Word in the session.

    Qua

    * Installation and Use. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this EULA, you may install, use, access,display and run only one (1) copy of the SOFTWARE on the COMPUTER. The SOFTWARE may not be used by more than two (2) processors at any one time on the COMPUTER, unless a higher number is indicated on the Certificate of Authenticity. You may permit a maximum of ten (10) ("Connection Maximum") computers or other electronic devices (each a "Device") to connect to the COMPUTER to utilize the services of the SOFTWARE solely for File and Print services, Internet Information services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services). The ten (10) Connection Maximum includes any indirect connections made through "multiplexing" or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections. Except as otherwise permitted below, you may not use the Device to use, access, display or run the SOFTWARE, the SOFTWARE's User Interface or other executable software residing on the COMPUTER.

    * NetMeeting/Remote Assistance/Remote Desktop Features. SOFTWARE may contain NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop technologies that enable the SOFTWARE or other applications installed on the COMPUTER to be used remotely between two or more computers, even if the SOFTWARE or application is installed on only one COMPUTER. You may use NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop with all Microsoft products; provided however, use of these technologies with certain Microsoft products may require an additional license. For Microsoft and non-Microsoft products, you should consult the license agreement accompanying the applicable product or contact the applicable licensor to determine whether use of NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, or Remote Desktop is permitted without an additional license.
    • I'm confused (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nagora (177841)
      You seem to be saying that VNC is allowed and then you quote the EULA which says that you can't export the UI. The second paragraph also makes it quite clear that VNC is not allowed and that even using NetMeeting etc to use another person's program will require that the license for that product specifically allows such actions.

      So, are you agreeing or disagreeing with the story?

      TWW

  • Old news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by epsalon (518482) <slash@alon.wox.org> on Monday March 18, 2002 @05:07AM (#3180128) Homepage Journal
    This has been reported ever since WinXP license was released. I myself saw this problem in XP license.

    But who cares? I installed VNC on XP anyway and it works great (never could make the original "remote control" work because it needs another XP system).
  • My Major Issue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by boris_the_hacker (125310) on Monday March 18, 2002 @06:09AM (#3180204) Homepage
    My major issue with this is not the license, but the lack of choice for the end user. As a consumer, I can't go a buy a new computer without getting a copy of XP. I am forced into this license. But then again, that is why this causes so much fuss. I suppose now that I have gone from playing to 'getting the job done' choice is very important [being dictated to as to what I can and can't do when I am also forced into a license].

    Atleast with the GPL et al I can choose not to install it.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:03PM (#3181079) Homepage Journal

    The original market for stuff like Citrix WinView and WinFrame was where people really were remote; they were at their house connecting with a modem or at a satellite office connected to HQ via a leased line or whatever, and they needed some way to run applications that use a lot of network bandwidth (e.g. database stuff) with decent performance in spite of having a slow pipe. So you take the X11 type approach, and run the app on a machine with a fast pipe, and just use the slow pipe for the user interface.

    I set up a few such beasties for clients and they were happy. Then I heard that Microsoft was doing "the Borg thing" to kill Citrix, and I couldn't figure it out at first. Why? It's not like there was some MS-only alternative where MS would make more money (except on the app server software) and even WinFrame itself only ran on NT (unlike WinView, which was Citrix was phasing out anyway), so Microsoft still got to, as Don Fanucci might say, "wet their beak." It didn't make sense to me at first. But, as usual, I was being naive and assuming the Microsoft just wanted money, when really their motivations were more sinister. Well, maybe that's going too far.. it's just that Microsoft people were really thinking about long-term consequences.

    The reason WinFrame and VNC and PCAnywhere need to be killed, is that there's too much potential for non-Microsoft clients (well, it's more than merely potential, in the case of VNC). This is important, because there are very few reasons that a user actually needs to use Microsoft Windows -- it's usually just a few key apps that the users are locked into. Users could use things like WinFrame or VNC even when there isn't a slow pipe. You can have a whole office using a single app server for their Microsoft legacy stuff (it's not like MS Word is CPU-bound; a single box could service a lot of users), and then the users can run whatever platform they damn well want to. Thus, any remote access product that uses an open protocol, is potentially a migration tool and a threat to Windows lock-in.

    WinFrame ISA protocol was never opened, but they did apparently license it. In the mid-late 90s we had some users on WinView (an earlier version of WinFrame that ran on OS/2 instead of NT), and I bought a Macintosh program (which I ran under emulation on my Amiga :-) which let me dial into clients' app servers from home, so I could do some maintenance and cleanup stuff after hours when users didn't have files open. Cross-platform paradise! ;-)

    VNC is even worse, because it's been ported to everything. It really might be feasible to have a single MS box for legacy stuff, and a whole office full of Macs or Linux boxes. And once users try non-Microsoft stuff, they don't want to go back. From Microsoft's point of view, this stuff really needs to be crushed before it gets popular.

  • by Webmoth (75878) on Monday March 18, 2002 @12:56PM (#3181371) Homepage
    OK, this is so far down on the list nobody will read it, but here goes...

    I don't think that VNC is the issue here, because the EULA seems to be prohibiting running multiple instances of a program on separate displays. This is not what VNC is on the Windows platform: VNC is simply showing one instance on multiple displays.

    In this sense, VNC is no different than having a monitor splitter (like stores often have to showcase their monitor selection, being driven by one computer running XP).

    I have to wonder: is Microsoft's next tactic going to be requiring a separate license for each pair of EYES viewing their product?

  • by jcouvret (531809) on Monday March 18, 2002 @04:44PM (#3182730)
    What about commercial remote control software, such as LapLink, that provide much more functionality than Microsoft's remote console software? Laplink has been around for years. Is LapLink out of the business because Microsoft doesn't want them to compete with Microsoft Remote Desktop?

    As for the agrument posed in the licensing agreement;
    "you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

    From what I can understand, this licensing agreement limits the use of Windows XP to only one monitor/machine. Obviously you can't install Windows XP on other machines without a license, but this seems to say you cannot run any aspect of Windows XP from a remote computer, even though you are the proper owner and sole user of the software. What about using telnet to ping your Windows XP machine? Is that illegal? I would like to see this challenged because I don't know if it is really going to hold up in court. In a sense, Remote Access software, or VNC, lets you view your Windows XP machine using a different monitor. That's all it really is. No one can use the Windows XP box while you are remotely connected to it. There is still only one desktop available for use at any given time.

    This seems pretty anti-competitive to me.

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