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Professor Michael Geist on Vista's Fine Print 314

Posted by Hemos
from the peering-into-the-dark-legal-innards dept.
Russell McOrmond writes "With Microsoft's Vista set to hit stores tomorrow, Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) looks at the legal and technical fine print behind the operating system upgrade. The article notes that in the name of shielding consumers from computer viruses and protecting copyright owners from potential infringement, Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user. If you are a Canadian and think that the owner of computers should be in control of what they own, rather than some third party (whether virus authors or the manufacturer/maker), then please sign our Petition to protect Information Technology property rights."
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Professor Michael Geist on Vista's Fine Print

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  • by 8127972 (73495) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:40AM (#17800990)
    .... are former Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac.
    • by eviloverlordx (99809) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:48AM (#17801096)
      .... are former Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac.

      All three of them? I wouldn't have thought that three people makes a stampede, no matter how fast they run.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        I wouldn't have thought that three people makes a stampede, no matter how fast they run.

        It's not the speed of the running, it's the weight of the runners...
        • by DaveM753 (844913) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:25PM (#17801676)
          it's the weight of the runners...

          "...Developers! Developers! Developers!..."
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ShieldW0lf (601553)
            The first culpable parties in this are Microsoft, the media groups, and the hardware manufacturers who agreed to be party to it. They're the direct actors, and should be dealt with via direct action.

            The next group of culpable parties are those who participate in the scheme. The people who pay for supporting hardware and install Vista on it are enabling this to continue. In their absence, it would not happen. They are indirectly responsible. Or perhaps irresponsible.

            The appropriate thing for those of us
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Doomstalk (629173)
      Because Apple would never ever ever do anything to abuse their position as the market leader. I mean look at their generous FairPlay licensing program! And that Trusted Platform Module in every computer they make? That's just there for giggles.
      • The TPM chip doesnt seem to be in Core2Duo iterations of Apple Macs - its not identifiable on the motherboard and it doesnt show up in an ioreg listing.
      • I mean look at their generous FairPlay licensing program!

        Yes, look at it. Its dominance is forcing the record labels to consider abandoning DRM altogether (see prior Slashdot article). And it's from a company who said early on that they weren't a fan of DRM and has refused to license it.

        Let's put it this way - less DRM means more iPods sold. The iTMS is just infrastructure to sell iPods, not a massive source of revenue. And they could make good money licensing FairPlay.

        Maybe I'm wearing rose-colored gl
    • by JimDaGeek (983925) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:07PM (#17801388)
      That is exactly what I did a few months ago. I dropped my wife's HP laptop and the screen broke. It would have been $600 to fix it so I bought an Intel Macbook. My wife loves it, and so do I. In fact she was always yelling at me for always taking it from her so I said the only way she could keep it is if I got my own Mac. A little later I got an Intel iMac and love it. I triple boot with WinXP for a few games, Visual Studio and MS SQL Server and Linux for my "fix".

      There is just no reason to go to the junk that is called Vista. I hope WinXP will still allow me to do the few things I need to in MS Windows for the next 3-5 years, then I can see what the OS landscape is like.

      As for others saying Apple is just as bad as MS when it comes to restrictions and DRM, they are clueless. I never had to do any "activation" on my two Intel Macs. The only DRM I have found is with iTMS, so I just don't use it or buy music. I did buy a few TV episodes from iTMS, however when I couldn't burn them to DVD to watch on my big TV, I stopped that as well. OS X is just far better than anything from MS. I get the juicy *nix that I love and a very good user experience for me as well as an easy to use experience for my wife.
      • by joshetc (955226)
        I never had to do any "activation" on my two Intel Macs.

        Hmm I've never had to do any "activation" on any prebuilt Windows PCs I've bought from Dell, etc. You can't build your own Mac which is where PC users come into activation issues, how does that compare?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by JimDaGeek (983925)
          I have had to do activation on pre-built WinXP computers. If you change enough hardware in it, you will have to activate it. Vista is a lot more ugly when it comes to activation than WinXP is. Also, if you do an upgrade to WinXP, you will have to activate it. Upgrading a Mac, there is not activation. You could actually buy one copy of OS X and install it as much as you want, though that is not the right thing to do.
    • by westlake (615356) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:16PM (#17802514)
      That stampede sound you are hearing....are former Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac

      Amazon Software Bestsellers (January 29 12:45 PM ET)

      2 Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
      4 Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade
      5 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade
      12 Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Upgrade
      13 Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Full Version
      14 Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003
      15 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Full Version

      Microsoft has twenty titles in the top fifty.

      I'd say these numbers suggest that Vista is going to do just fine in the domestic consumer market.

      • by tha_mink (518151) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:33PM (#17802764)
        That stampede sound you are hearing....are former Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac
        Amazon Software Bestsellers (January 29 12:45 PM ET)

        2 Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
        4 Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade
        5 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade
        12 Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Upgrade
        13 Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate Full Version
        14 Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003
        15 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Full Version

        Microsoft has twenty titles in the top fifty.
        I'd say these numbers suggest that Vista is going to do just fine in the domestic consumer market.

        SHhhhhh. This is Slashdot, there's no place for money talk here. The POINT is that everyone will NOT buy it and only HATE it. I'll stick with BeOS thank you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by westlake (615356)
          SHhhhhh. This is Slashdot, there's no place for money talk here. The POINT is that everyone will NOT buy it and only HATE it. I'll stick with BeOS thank you.

          It surprised me to see Ultimate Vista so high on the charts.

          It suggests that the price and the hardware requirements for Vista are not the barriers some geeks believe. It suggests that the discounted pricing on Vista Premium for Vista Ultimate purchasers was dead on target.

          It suggests that buyers have nothing in common with the Geek, an entirely diffe

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grcumb (781340)

        Microsoft has twenty titles in the top fifty.

        Interesting. That datum made me decide to check something a little more relevant: The status of Apple in Computer hardware sales. Given that Apple doesn't focus on selling its operating system off the shelf, it seem more appropriate to check the GP's assertion that people are 'stampeding' to the Mac by seeing how Apple computers are selling.

        Now, this list [amazon.com] is updated hourly, so it's subject to change, but when I checked, Apple had the top 3 positions in the be

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by westlake (615356)
          So, according to this unscientific metric (albeit chosen by you): The majority of new computer buyers are buying Apple products. Sounds like a stampede to me.

          At any given moment, there are a half dozen or so Macs on the market, compared to the hundreds of variations on the commodity Wintel PC. We'll ignore the fact that you have left direct sellers like Dell out of the equation.

          Amazon.com is as close as we have to the old Sears, Roebuck Catalog on the net, the clearest reflection of middle class tastes a

    • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:21PM (#17802580) Journal
      Windows Vista is, at least for me, the anvil that broke the camel's back. I have been planning a switch to Linux for about two years and Vista is the prefect opportunity to commit. In fact, Microsoft has practically made it mandatory. I wonder how many other users feel the same way? Regardless, Ubuntu, here I come :).
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:41AM (#17800992) Homepage
    Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:52AM (#17801154) Homepage
      I think this is probably the best option we have, although I'm not sure how well it will work. Most people just buy a computer and use whatever software comes with it. And if you start to talk about why they shouldn't be using Vista, their ears turn off because you are being too technical (no matter how much you try and dumb it down).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        Turn it around. Ask them why they're "still" using Vista. Express polite astonishment when they say "It came with the computer". Compare it to the Chevy Corvair: Unsafe at any Processor Speed.
      • by ultranova (717540) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:05PM (#17801368)

        And if you start to talk about why they shouldn't be using Vista, their ears turn off because you are being too technical (no matter how much you try and dumb it down).

        "You shouldn't be using Vista, because it won't let you watch porn you downloaded from the Internet for free. It has this thing called DRM which will turn the good good parts to mosaic. We technical people call this downsampling. Oh, and it may even connect to Microsoft or the police and tell them what you're watching."

      • I remember a few years ago, when XP first began phoning home for automatic updates. Some guy at a bank figured out it was actually *illegal to have such software on a bank computer. Federal law, IIRC. Speaking of IIRC, does this sound familiar? Anyone remember the guy's name, or how it turned out?

        Seems like DRM and the other "trustworthy" shit in Vista could run into this issue too.
      • by mugnyte (203225)

        Why not combine the ideas? Everyone should begin an order for a PC from Dell, HP, etc - and then fight to get XP or Linux on it, regardless of the OEM pushing. When (assumed) request cannot be met, cancel the order.

    • by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:54AM (#17801196)
      It is, but it's hard to boycott something that most people don't have a clear understanding of. Lets face it, 80% of the people have no idea what the difference between XP and Vista is, or even what Vista even is. Furthermore, even if they do know what Vista is, they would assume it's better because it's newer (that's what I thought when I upgraded from 98SE to ME, what a disaster). There's really no chance in informing the average customer.

      But, if Vista pisses off businesses, then MS has a real problem on their hands. Businesses are already reluctant to change. They're definitely going to reject Vista if it makes them less productive. At least I'm hoping that's how it would turn out.
      • by steveo777 (183629)

        (that's what I thought when I upgraded from 98SE to ME, what a disaster).
        I'll never forget having to fix my friends old laptop with ME on it. After one week the thing wouldn't run correctly and he hadn't even connected the thing to the internet. Just installed a couple games and Office. First thing I did was wipe the drive and install 2000. Which is probably what I'll do if Vista is as bad as everyone claims. But I really won't know until I get my hands on it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Implicit in your comment is the assumption that business IT departments are significantly more savvy than Joe Schmoe computer owner. My experience is that there are plenty of IT professionals, possibly even the majority of them, who accept what Microsoft tells them about their own products and generally don't ask questions about the company's pronouncements that a new product is "better" or "more secure" or whatever.

        If MS sends out the word that their new OS is a must-have, these people will only be held b
    • DingDingDingDing! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Svartalf (2997) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:55AM (#17801222) Homepage
      And here I thought that Vista would be a technical security risk. Heh, little did I know that MS would do something idiotic like this to go with the lot. I'd be strongly dissuading ANYONE who was my client to go do this "upgrade" because of this alone (never mind the potential and REAL security risks that the OS seems to have...).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?

      The point of protesting is to make your voice heard. If you get enough people involved, then word spreads about the problem. While the things you mention would be somewhat effective, the best predictor of effectiveness is probably the amount of people you can ge
    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:07PM (#17801400)
      Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?

      Not to buy. Have not given MS a dime since 1995.

      Explain to friends and workplaces. I cannot recommend MS products over the alternatives. With my friends, I clearly tell them if they are asking my advice, my answer is to buy a Mac. None to date have taken my advice, and they still ask me about "Windows problems" when I politely told them that I don't do windows and that I could not help them with windows problems upfront. Workplaces. They seem to be MS dependant despite years of suggestions to change.

      Refund? The principle of the thing is worth more than the money, and for most people, neither is that important to them.

      All I can say is that this petition is a day late and a dollar short, but although I have fixed my microsoft problem. I still know plenty of people that don't care or just won't change from the MS problem.

      I am _not_ brand loyal/disloyal. I treat all things as generic tools and will use what is best for the job at the current time, and things come and go on my shitlist, and I don't hold a permanant grudge until the company has gone too far. To date, only two companies have made my permanant shitlist, and I have brought one of them to court as well, and neither are Microsoft.

      Macs were on my offlist before OS X, but they have seen the light :)

      • by Aladrin (926209) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:31PM (#17801794)
        "Refund? The principle of the thing is worth more than the money, and for most people, neither is that important to them."

        The cost, to Microsoft, of the Refund is not just a lost sale. It's also the time and money that went into licensing and de-licensing that copy, and returning the money. It's not cheap for them.

        There's also the fact that everyone who does this can now tell everyone they know that they got their money back for their unused copy of Windows. Eventually, it'll stick in peoples' heads that they aren't stuck with Windows.

        It also gives you the ability to defuse anyone who says 'Yeah, but I've already paid for it, so I might as well use it.' If you haven't actually received the refund, they'll say it's like a rebate and you won't get it.
    • by Russell McOrmond (123550) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:41PM (#17801980) Homepage
      The petition is to the Canadian parliament, and is on behalf of all owners of Information Technology -- not just those who choose any specific brand of hardware or software.

      Our existing petitions have already had an important effect, letting politicians know that there are more constituencies in this issue than the incumbent industry associations. Our new petition tries to move away from the myths that DRM is about "content control" when in fact it is about "hardware control". This "hardware control" impacts your usage of hardware you own, regardless of whether you are using "premium content" or not.

      This is also not a Microsoft and/or Apple issue, as these bad laws impact all users of technology whether or not they are ever a customer of Microsoft or Apple.

      http://www.digital-copyright.ca/petition/ict/ [digital-copyright.ca]
      "THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon Parliament to prohibit the application of a technical protection measure to a device without the informed consent of the owner of the device, and to prohibit the conditioning of the supply of content to the purchase or use of a device which has a technical measure applied to it. We further call upon Parliament to recognise the right of citizens to personally control their own communication devices, and to choose software based on their own personal criteria."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?
      Stop spreading FUD -- we all know that electronic petitions are the most effective means to sway the minds of corporations, politicians, and parents everywhere!
    • the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy
      Didn't your mother ever teach you what the word "monopoly" means?
  • by giorgiofr (887762) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:42AM (#17801010)
    How about you just don't buy it?
    • by kebes (861706)
      An internet petition, of all things?

      Actually the petition linked to in the summary is not an internet petition, you are supposed to print it out, and mail it to your Member of Parliament (or to a local collector if you prefer, they list many on the webpage). I signed it and I encourage all Canadians reading slashdot to take a look.

      And to be clear: it is not a "petition against Vista" or something like that. It is a petition to prevent extensions to Canadian copyright law. There is currently pressure
    • by Dr Caleb (121505)
      How about sending a message to Parlament so they will think twice before attempting to implement the DCMA North?

      Our Parlement is in a minority situation, and they need every vote they can get.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by owlstead (636356)
      This is the same reasoning that many people apply to jobs. You don't like one part of a job, so you should resign and go to another job. Nevermind if the other jobs apply similar practices or have other drawbacks. Vista sure has its good points, but this for sure aint one of them. And since the damn thing will come pre-installed - something that *should* be forbidden due to unfair practices by MS - many people simply won't have this choice. So a petition is probably more effective - getting people not to bu
  • by gravesb (967413) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:42AM (#17801016) Homepage
    There is still a lot of debate on whether EULA's and click through agreements are completely binding. I won't get into all of the arguments on both sides, but I believe that companies are afraid to really go after anyone for breaking the asnine portions of these agreements because a court might rule that these documents are not binding contracts. They are handy for threatening people in certain situations, with cease and desist letters, and for making corporate users wary about potential law suits, thus restricting their usage and options. Of course, a court could hold that they are completely binding, and then the software companies would be free to attack an breach. So each side seems to be in an uneasy truce.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by porn*! (159683)
      How many really read a EULA? That seems to be the real issue. If you put a sign up at a public pool that says the owners are not responsible for drowning is that enough? I really have a hard time with a EULA declaring the publisher is indemnified for all work I've lost due to bugs and crashes. OTOH, I don't know that a 'sign' that is so dense and for all practical purposes never read can/should be enforcible in either direction.
      • by Courageous (228506) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:26PM (#17801706)
        How many people really read their 10 page mortgage application? Surprisingly few. And yet the agreement is legal.

        The concept is referred to as a "contract of adhesion," where insofar as the terms in the contract are those that can be reasonably expected to be found in similar contracts for similar purpose, the contract is considered binding whether or not a "meeting of the minds" has occurred over the material details of the contract. I actually don't like contracts of adhesion at all, and wish they didn't exist. But they do.

        In many states, and I believe now in at least one federal appellate district, EULA's have been ruled to be contracts of adhesion. You can imagine my alarm. So what I'm telling you is that that EULA you didn't read is likely legal. Evil, but legal.

        C//
        • by zoward (188110)
          They give you the mortgage application to read before you've bought the house. With software, if you don't like the terms of the EULA you can decline it, and the software won't install. You won't be able to return it since you've opened the box, so you're SOL. It might be different if the terms of service were on the outside of the box ... but they'd need to print it in .0001 point to make it fit.
        • How many people really read their 10 page mortgage application? Surprisingly few. And yet the agreement is legal.

          Actually, in some states, my own included, not reading some contracts before agreeing to them is grounds for the contract to be negated. That's why some contracts require you to initial each page.

        • by noldrin (635339)
          A couple years ago a friend consulted a lawyer, and he said that anything past the first page had far less legal weight then what was one the first page. But this is Massachusetts where contracts are weak and verbal contracts are next to worthless.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by taustin (171655)
          Courts have also ruled that a software sale for a single payment, with no specific limit to term of use, is a "sale of goods," and governed by copyright law, not contract law. Therefore, contracts which limit the buyer's fair use rights are unenforceable. Adobe got spanked by California on that in their lawsuit against Softman over reselling bundled software. Clickwrap licenses or no. The issue of the enforceability of clickwrap licenses is far from settled.
        • by rainman_bc (735332) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:36PM (#17802808)
          The concept is referred to as a "contract of adhesion," where insofar as the terms in the contract are those that can be reasonably expected to be found in similar contracts for similar purpose, the contract is considered binding whether or not a "meeting of the minds" has occurred over the material details of the contract. I actually don't like contracts of adhesion at all, and wish they didn't exist. But they do.

          In order to have a contract you need:
          1) Offer
          2) Acceptance
          3) Consideration
          4) Intention
          5) Capacity to contract

          Of most interesting is consideration. When you purchase an item from a store there's consideration. I offer my $5 for your pack of cigarettes. Their needs to be consideration on both sides to have a contract.

          What I find interesting is that there is no consideration in a EULA; it's one sided. You've already paid for the license, and now you're being asked to agree to the terms after the contract has been made. At no point has any more consideration happened on your part.

          Agreeing to an EULA IMO is like making a promise. If I promise someone a trip to Vegas for nothing in return, there is no contract, just a promise and it's unenforceable. I'm quite surprised no one has challenged an EULA under contract law asking where the consideration is when you agree to the therms? Simply agreeing to terms of usage without offering up any consideration is quite interesting because the money is paid to the store, and the store then sends money to the manufacturer.

          Of course the problem lies in convincing a judge that a click-through agreement after a contract has been made is not binding, and who wants to battle Micro$oft? I for one don't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gr8Apes (679165)
      This has nothing to do with enforcability of EULA's. This is a statement of what will happen with your computer if you install the software, much as installation of this software will give you access to keyboards and mice and a display such as on a monitor.

      The only way around it is to remove bits of the software, like Windows Defender (sounds like a misnomer, more like "MS Monopoly Ensurer" to me) which are technically forbidden by the EULA. Now, recall that most that install this won't be savvy enough to d
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phoenixwade (997892)
      The people either favoring Vista or arguing against the "Vista is the reason the MS monopoly is over, by forcing people to move to XXXX" (be it Linux, MacOSX, Free BSD, pad and paper....) frequently state "Well, VISTA will be pre-installed on new machines." And that is correct, Vista will begin, almost immediately, to be installed on new machines. Dell, for example, is shipping Vista now.

      The article states:

      For greater certainty, the terms and conditions remove any doubt about who is in control by providing that "this agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights." For those users frustrated by the software's limitations, Microsoft cautions that "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

      If this really is in the license (I don't know) can it possibly be binding? For that matter, can AN

    • So each side seems to be in an uneasy truce.

      Is there anything in the law that prevents me and my brother from collaborating to make a test case? For instance, I make a piece of software ("Hello, World!") with an unreasonable shrink-wrap EULA, then sue him (who's in cahoots with me) for breaching it. Can we more or less lead a judge to make a ruling on the issue?

      • by woolio (927141)
        Is there anything in the law that prevents me and my brother from collaborating to make a test case? For instance, I make a piece of software ("Hello, World!") with an unreasonable shrink-wrap EULA, then sue him (who's in cahoots with me) for breaching it. Can we more or less lead a judge to make a ruling on the issue?

        IANAL, but this seems possible... Of course, if trial arguments end up invoking DMCA or Copyright laws, your brother might end up in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

        Besides, wouldn't
  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:43AM (#17801034)
    I wonder if they included the blue-screen-of-death feature that I've enjoyed for such a long time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Yup, they still support it. In vista they have a new and improved "translucent opalascent irridiscent coruscant blue" screen of death.
  • by Doomstalk (629173) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:44AM (#17801042)
    Am I the only one who is getting tired of reading all kinds of "Microsoft DRM is evil!" posts, and then seeing a post the very next day talking about how awesome Apple is? One company is buckling to industry pressure and including DRM, the other has a fricking Trusted Platform Module in every new computer it makes. The double standard is infuriating.
    • by sqlrob (173498) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:49AM (#17801106)
      TPM modules aren't inherently bad. It's how they are used that makes the difference. If the owner of the computer is in charge of the module, they are a powerful tool. If someone else is, then it's a problem.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by firewrought (36952)

        TPM modules aren't inherently bad. It's how they are used that makes the difference. If the owner of the computer is in charge of the module, they are a powerful tool. If someone else is, then it's a problem.

        Umm... the whole point of TPM modules is to deny the owner full control. And even if that was not the case, that's the agenda and the intent behind this hardware. If you ignore such factors, then nothing--no artifact whatsoever--is inherently bad or good and your use of the distinction becomes vaccuo

        • by melikamp (631205)

          the whole point of TPM modules is to deny the owner full control

          Dude, that's like saying that the whole point of door locks is to deny the owner the access to his own house. Granted, TPM is completely useless for most applications; granted, it should NOT be implemented in the commodity hardware for the reasons hinted at in your post; but from the technical point of view, if you have the keys then you can re-sign your binaries and you DO have full control over your system.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:16PM (#17801530)

      Am I the only one who is getting tired of reading all kinds of "Microsoft DRM is evil!" posts, and then seeing a post the very next day talking about how awesome Apple is? One company is buckling to industry pressure and including DRM, the other has a fricking Trusted Platform Module in every new computer it makes. The double standard is infuriating.

      So if I buy a mac, how does the DRM affect me? Do I have to worry about my computer becoming unusable if I change hardware? Do I have to worry about re-registering? Do I have to worry about registering in the first place? The answers are, of course, no, no, and no. So is there a chance Apple will delete software off of my computer without my permission as MS's built in security will? No. So what, exactly, is the issue? There is a chip with an encryption key on it in the box? Okay, so why should I care? I'm a pragmatist. If my files were being DRM'd so I could not move to something else or if Apple was restricting me in any way, maybe I'd care. Apple does put DRM on their music files, they sell, but I generally don't buy from them. I did buy a few songs once that I could not find elsewhere, but I legally stripped the DRM off with a freeware program and backed them up as a regular audio CD with no DRM. What's the problem?

      I use Windows and OS X and Linux on the desktop. Currently I favor OS X because it gives me the best feature set for general tasks. If Apple starts implementing DRM in such a way as to inconvenience me, I'll migrate to something else. I'm not going to do so, however, unless the DRM does inconvenience me. I'm not being shortsighted either. Any use that prevents me from being able to move platforms would probably tip the balance away from Apple, as I value portability.

      The only real restriction I've seen Apple implement with encryption is locking their software to their hardware (any Apple hardware not a specific machine). Since Apple only licenses their software to run on their platform the only people this inconveniences are people who plan to use the software but break the license, and that doesn't leave a lot of room for complaint. Would I prefer it if OS X would run on any hardware? Sure, it would be a great feature. The problem is Apple's main product would directly compete with an abusive monopoly, and that means it would die and we would not get to use it anymore. The traditional strategy for dealing with such a monopoly is to build a separate vertical chain of supply, which Apple has done. Breaking that chain before MS is stopped from their criminal monopoly abuse is not a real option for Apple, so I don't blame them at all for only licensing their OS for their hardware.

      • Typical Apple fanboy tortured logic. So if Microsoft wrote a EULA that said you could only use this copy of Vista with the current computer, had to buy any hardware upgrades through Microsoft, and needed to buy a new copy of Vista with any new computer you bought, you'd be happy? How exactly does Microsoft's DRM give you *less* rights than Apple's DRM?!
        • So if Microsoft wrote a EULA that said you could only use this copy of Vista with the current computer, had to buy any hardware upgrades through Microsoft, and needed to buy a new copy of Vista with any new computer you bought, you'd be happy?

          Umm, they do that already and it isn't about being happy, it is about being ethical and not causing me any issues. I have my copy of Windows (XP) installed in a VM so changing hardware is not a big deal.

          How exactly does Microsoft's DRM give you *less* rights than

      • Rubbish (Score:3, Informative)

        by a16 (783096)

        So if I buy a mac, how does the DRM affect me? Do I have to worry about my computer becoming unusable if I change hardware? Do I have to worry about re-registering? Do I have to worry about registering in the first place? The answers are, of course, no, no, and no.

        Can you play high definition DRMed content on your mac? No, no, and no. Do you ever need to replace hardware on a Mac to the extent that you might break Vista's restrictions? No. This just isn't a fair comparison, as the parent poster said, Macs are by their very nature a limited platform. They don't have to activate your install or check that the hardware is the same because they know that you must be running it on hardware at least mostly purchased from them. There's no reason to bring software lock in l

  • Thankyou. I regain a bit of faith in the world when mass media says stuff like this. What a pity it's in Canada. (No offense to Canadians, but it's the US where change needs to happen). But ... yeah I am sick of reading narrow-minded articles praising Vista. This article, while short, tells a much fuller story. Cheers!

    Wow, this Windows Defender(TM) seems like a piece of work. It can delete any piece of software it wants. firefox.exe, for example. (Come on, with all the security holes, it's practically spywa
    • by praxis (19962)
      Could you point me to descriptions of these Windows Defender security holes, please? That could be some interesting reading.
  • Where's the buzz? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Monday January 29, 2007 @11:53AM (#17801182)
    Is it just me, or is there a complete lack of any kind of buzz around Vista?

    A search on Google News (UK) brings up loads of articles with negative titles "Buying Vista? Get a guarantee", "Windows Vista: Where Is The Wow?", "Windows Vista: the best reason to buy a Mac?", "Windows Vista disappoints, so get a Mac". And that's just in the first half of the results.

    It really is quite amazing for a product that Microsoft has spend billions and many years to develop.

    Of course the sad thing is that, because of its strangle hold on the market, it will still make billions and will be able to declare the launch a success.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930)
      If things go poorly enough, the stranglehold could be lost. As for myself, the only thing typing me to a Windows platform on one machine at the moment is games, but MS has done such a good job (relatively) on te xbox 360 that I could see that requirement going away, allowing me to run *nix across the board.
      • by Phrogman (80473)
        Yes, I am in the same boat. The *only* reason I run Windows XP at the moment is because I play games - titles that are not available for Linux at all - without that I would be running Linux as my desktop without hesitation. The problem for me is simply that I cannot adapt to playing console games (even if the titles I want to play, all MMORPGs - were available for a console that is). Until such time as OSS can somehow pry the games companies out of lapdancing for Microsoft only, or the games companies thems
  • by spiritraveller (641174) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:02PM (#17801328)
    And so far MS's marketing is sucking really bad from what I've seen.

    Tried to open Office 2007 and got a message about a license key and if I wanted to enter it. I clicked "No," and the entire screen went black and wouldn't come back up.

    I shook my head and laughed as I walked away.
    • edit (Score:3, Informative)

      something happened to my message...

      I meant to explain that I was browsing at Best Buy and tried out their main display computer running Vista. It was set up at the end of an aisle with signs and speakers proclaiming what a great step up Vista was.

      I guess I need a marketing department of my own to vet my posts before I click submit.
  • If you are [...] think that the owner of computers should be in control of what they own, [...]
    <sarcasm>
    Well, Microsoft Corp. owns Microsoft Windows Vista, and by extension your computer (*), so, what's the point ?
    </sarcasm>

    (*) I mean, are you a computer user or a Microsoft OS end-user bound by license terms ?
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:16PM (#17801522) Homepage
    "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

    That's absolutely stunning. I wonder exactly how broadly that could be interpreted?

    If I buy any kind of third-party utility... antivirus software, backup software, a defragmenter... isn't that "working around" technical limiations in the software Microsoft provides? Isn't Firefox arguable a "workaround" for technical limitations in Internet Explorer?

    It's about time to stop calling it a "personal computer" and start calling it a "Microsoft corporate computer."
  • Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user
    Since when is a user in control of his user experience? Isn't the whole point of a user oriented system (operating or other) to provide a user experience?

    Anyway, no matter how much it sucks, Vista doesn't steal your computer, and as such you don't need lawmakers or law enforcement to protect you. Download and burn an Ubuntu CD, and off you go.
  • If you ... think that the owner ... should be in control of what they own, rather than some third party...

    Hm. I wonder what this writer would say to the "intellectual property" owner who claims the same "right" with regards to his copyrighted music or software?

    • If you are curious what I would say, just ask.

      Speaking to a group of copyright holders about this issue, Stewart Baker, Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for policy, said, "It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it's important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days."

      Nothing in this petition diminishes the legitimate rights o
  • by TBone (5692) on Monday January 29, 2007 @12:37PM (#17801914) Homepage

    ...that the petition is the PITR petition?

    I wonder how much user freedom Pitr would want people to have once he takes over Google...

  • When you pay money, weather it's a purchase, rental or contract, you are informed what you are buying and how long you are going to have use of it. With a purchase, you generally have at least a month to return it if it doesn't work, more time to get it repaired under warranty and thereafter you can fix it yourself.

    I have no idea what Microsoft is selling when you buy a "Windows Vista Box". They are saying they can change or cancel functionality of the product at any time, even one day after purchase, and w
  • Wow, he was pretty unspecific there about what he was talking about.

    Maybe it's about the HD Content Protection tech again which we've seen stories on here at Slashdot ad nauseum by now. Why is the editors even still approving this stuff? We'll soon enough know ever Slashdot members' stance on the matter. :-p

    Anyway... I agree DRM is stupid, but shouldn't these guys be barking at the paranoid media companies trying to enforce that junk, not Microsoft? Vista provides merely an implementation of the HDCP standa
    • Wow, he was pretty unspecific there about what he was talking about.

      No he wasn't. He mentioned very specific points, although he did not cover others that are equally annoying. The points he mentioned included activation/registration problems and MS reserving the right and implementing the tech to delete arbitrary programs from your machine.

      Anyway... I agree DRM is stupid, but shouldn't these guys be barking at the paranoid media companies trying to enforce that junk, not Microsoft?

      The media companie

  • Moreover, he calculated that the technological controls would require considerable consumption of computing power with the system conducting 30 checks each second to ensure that there are no attacks on the security of the premium content.

    That sounds a little over blown. Max video bitrate is 40 Mbps (or is it MBytes/s?). So every million bits or so you check to make sure all is on the up and up. This doesn't sound very computationally intensive. Am I missing something?

    • by westlake (615356)
      Am I missing something?

      Yeah. The movie.

      Which is all most people will be watching when they fire up Vista and their new hi-def projector. Not the systen internals.

  • I'm considering refusing any requests to help anyone (friends, relatives) that uses Vista. In fact since I am not going to, and not able to, upgrade my Windows box (rarely used) to Vista I may not know about new features or methods anyway.

    I'd recommend Ubuntu but it's still only 95% ready as far as I am concerned, I can't picture an aunt using it there are some difficulties to overcome especially file permissions I can't imagine how to explain that to someone who is barley comfortable with just web
  • I spoke with my wallet some time ago and bought a Mac. Its not perfect, but there is certainly a philosphy that the user controls the system. If you can't control it, then the system doesn't make you think you do. MS-Windows is very much 'the you don't know what you doing' philosophy. An example of this is in Excel: try pasting a file:/// into a cell and see what happens - grrr - ok this is not Windows, but it is the same company and the same school of thought.

    BTW Microsoft's Mac business unit seems to live
  • The property comprising the OS isn't yours in the first instance, so it's no suprise that it comes with a set of terms and conditions that will restrict your use of that computer to the ends of profit. Proprietary OS's are evolving into retail interfaces where products and services can be sold to the user, the hardware demoted to a strategically throttled support for this exchange. Like many, I have little doubt that once the OS proprietor sees sufficient return made from these 'secondary' revenue streams (
  • by Beltonius (960316) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:34PM (#17802782)
    Toms Hardware http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/29/xp-vs-vista / [tomshardware.com] just published extensive Vista Enterprise benchmarks, comparing them to XP Pro. The result: At best, the computer won't run any slower. At worst, it will run software abysmally slow or not at all. OpenGL support seems nonexistant, judging from the horrendous drop in performance in UT2004 (>30% drop) and the rendering of 3D/CAD/CAE software unusable (80-90% drops in performance). This is idiotic on Microsoft's part. Now businesses will be even more opposed to upgrading to Vista, since either they're going to have to stop using their engineering/graphics software (at least until vendors work on their Vista support) or they're going to have to split their computer infrastructure and support both XP and Vista, while seeing, at beast, negligible gains under Vista. Businesses are not going to be sold on the promise of Aero glass, especially not when Vista's recommended system requirements are so high, relative to those for XP (I have a P2 450 with 384MB of RAM running XP Home passably, it certainly won't be able to run Vista).
  • The options (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:43PM (#17802918) Homepage

    • Buy Vista. Put up with all the nonsense. Know that Microsoft will probably Tivo you at some point, taking away some functionality. Expect downtime due to authorization problems.
    • Keep running Windows 2000 and retain control of your system. No support, not compatible with many new devices, won't play much content, but a solid system.
    • Switch to a Mac, the other closed system. Everything from Apple works; third party software is kind of thin.
    • Run Linux on the desktop. It's almost ready for the desktop, like it has been for five years now.

    Those are the options. And they all suck.

    This is an opportunity for somebody. Probably somebody in China.

  • My vist experiance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thorkyl (739500) on Monday January 29, 2007 @01:52PM (#17803020)

    I loaded it on a twin dual core with 4 gig of ram.
    It booted slower than 2k pro
    It would not allow me to install sybase (vista said it was a virus)
    I could not run Office 2000 on it. I would just crash if it opened at all
    I was unable to load my custom written backup software, it did not have a valid certificate
          ( i wrote the software )

    I unloaded vista and put 2k back on it
  • Therefore, as such, unlike the FSF, I wouldn't flat out try to tell anyone not to buy Vista.

    However, I will simply observe that if you *do* buy and use Vista, you'll not only be giving yourself the shaft, but you'll also be providing Microsoft assistance in persuing their goal of screwing everyone else on the planet who uses a computer.

    Pointing out the consequences of somebody exercising their free will to make a given choice is not the same as trying to coerce them not to make said choice. You've got ever

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