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Privacy Microsoft

Vista is Watching You 458

greengrass writes "Are you using Windows Vista? Then you might as well know that the licensed operating system installed on your machine is harvesting a healthy volume of information for Microsoft. In this context, a program such as the Windows Genuine Advantage is the last of your concerns. In fact, in excess of 20 Windows Vista features and services are hard at work collecting and transmitting your personal data to the Redmond company."
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Vista is Watching You

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  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:34AM (#19717189)
    Vista's biggest enemy is not Linux -- it's Vista. Americans take their privacy too seriously to ignore this if this becomes public. Of course, one could argue that by now the 'war on terror' has taught us to just bend over when the government says so, but hopefully, the reaction will be a little bit more violent when Microsoft asks us to 'submit'....who knows.
  • by numbski ( 515011 ) * <numbskiNO@SPAMhksilver.net> on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:39AM (#19717241) Homepage Journal
    I wonder...

    Is it paranoia if the OS really *is* sending tons of data to Redmond?
    Is it slander if it's true?
    How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie-roll center of a tootsie-pop?
    Just WTF *is* the cream filling in the middle of Hostess snack cakes????
  • by EveryNickIsTaken ( 1054794 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:40AM (#19717265)

    Americans take their privacy too seriously to ignore this if this becomes public.
    Either you're not American or you don't pay attention to the news. Most Americans have been FUD'ded into ignoring privacy concerns.
  • Get used to it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:41AM (#19717277)
    Face it, the advent of the internet has brought to the world many great and wonderous things. However, there is a dark side to connectivity, and it's name is, connectivity. If you want to be part of the whole, you have to accept the inherit lose of privacy that is associated with it. Doesn't matter how much you dislike it, but as a whole EVERYTHING is becoming more connected, you can't truly expect your privacy to somehow remain immune from all this "openness".

    Those who thrive in this environment (and in this case, thrive means are able to navigate it with the majority of their private information private) will be those who understand, accept, and deal with it.
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BlueLightSpecial ( 898144 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:42AM (#19717293) Journal
    Disclaimer: I run Vista, I am slightly upset by these findings, but I'm just gonna ponder the positives. As long as the info is sent anonymously, whats the big deal? This information is probably being used to make sure the operating system run the smoothest it can, the info sent can be used to help update the system and keep MS on top of bugs and holes in the OS
  • by LoadWB ( 592248 ) * on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:44AM (#19717315) Journal
    heheh Until the first update to Vista which requires that the information be dumped. It appears that Microsoft is slowly trying to head towards a near-constant connection of the end-user to their system, for what purposes is a matter for conjecture. And might this be precursor to a subscription-based OS?

    Microsoft is stepping over some big lines here.

    Something else comes to mind... what about users still on dial-up? Won't the transmission of this user information completely clog the line?
  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:44AM (#19717319) Journal
    I was all for protecting my privacy until they offered me a free copy of "Minesweeper 3D" and "The Best of American Idol" audio tracks!
  • Negro, puhleeese (Score:5, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:47AM (#19717351)

    Microsoft will get your "Internet protocol address, the type of operating system, browser and name and version of the software you are using, and the language code of the device where you installed the software." But all they really need is your IP address.
    Huh, I thought I supplied that information to every website I visit.

    Every time you install a Plug and Play device, you tell Microsoft about it in order to get the necessary device drivers. The same is the case for PnP-X enabled device, only that Windows Update is more actively involved in this case.
    Oh noes!!! They need to know my device to supply the driver?

    Good grief, I hate Microsoft as much or more than the average Slashdotter, but most of TFA is just alarmist FUD.
  • by apathy maybe ( 922212 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:47AM (#19717355) Homepage Journal
    Americans take their privacy seriously? Since when as the average yank done that?

    Sure you have some folk who do, but considering the supermarket "loyalty cards" (and it isn't just in the US of course), the various voting things (e.g. who's the hottest "singer"?), using plastic cards to pay for everything and so on...

    Meh, I'm sure you get my point, which is that only some people (around the world), take their privacy as seriously as you seem to think.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:55AM (#19717465)
    Why don't they tell you? Every halfway serious program I use that has to report information home (or at least wants to, for statistical purposes) asks me first, or at least informs me that it is going to do that now. Some programs even tell you what exactly they're going to send (and, behold, checking source and the transfered data shows that they actually tell you the truth).

    Usually I don't mind. They probably sell that information (not about me, but about their "user base") to someone to make some money that way, since I don't pay for the honor to use their program for free. No problems there.

    A problem arises when said data is transmitted without my consent. Without me even knowing that it is being sent. Am I supposed to trust a company that it isn't going to do shady business with my data when they're sneaky about it?

    Now, I'm not saying MS does. But, seriously, why the cloak-and-dagger approach? Just tell the user "Vista is now gonna send MS the following information about your system, anonymized so it can't be tracked, and we want it to see what hardware platforms our system should run best on. Thanks for your co-op."

    What's wrong about that? If someone doesn't care, heck, one more click on "accept" isn't going to be even noticed in Vista. And if someone does care, the smell of fish is not gonna hit his nose when something like this is being exposed.
  • Article Breakdown (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thePsychologist ( 1062886 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:56AM (#19717473) Journal
    This article is a lot of FUD. But there's lots of truth in it too. Even though some of this transmission of data is optional and can be turned off, it still goes too far because most average computer users don't know about this stuff. Hence it's taking advantage of people without their knowledge.

    hardware hash, which is a non-unique number generated from the computer's hardware configuration but no personal information.

    This is not good. Probably only used to invalidate your copy of Windows once you change the motherboard.

    The Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) is optional, and designed to improve software quality.

    This service asks your consent, and is okay and OPTIONAL.

    Via the Device Manager, Microsoft has access to all the information related to your system configuration in order to provide the adequate drivers.

    Again: if a device is plugged in, a dialog first comes up and asks the user if he/she wants to search the internet for a driver. And the service NEEDS the name of the device to search for one.

    Similarly, Dynamic Update offers your computer's hardware info to Microsoft for compatible drivers.

    That's because you ASK for it. Similarly if I Google a problem, Google gets my search query. But they're collecting stats on hardware, and that's pretty normal for an OS company. After all, it'll help them build a better OS (not likely though).

    Event Viewer data is collected every time the users access the Event Log Online Help link. By using the File Association Web Service, Microsoft will receive a list with the file name extensions.

    Just the extensions?? Big deal. Here's a partial list for my computer: *.raw, *.mov,...wait, this person has some Apple format on their computer...DESTROY. Can they use this information to help with vendor lock-in? Maybe.

    Metadata related to the games that you have installed in Vista also finds its way to Microsoft.

    Maybe this is going a bit off the deep end. What I install is my business and not theirs.

    The Error Reporting for Handwriting Recognition will only report to Microsoft if the user expressly desires it to.

    This asks your consent, and is okay and OPTIONAL. Why are they even including this in this article?

    Through IME Word Registration, Microsoft will receive Word registration reports. Users have to choose to participate in the Installation Improvement Program before any data is sent over at Microsof[t].

    This asks your consent, and is okay and OPTIONAL. So, if you register, it receives the data. No surprise there.

    Ever used a print server hosted by Microsoft? Then the company collected your data through Internet Printing. Network Awareness is in a league of its own. It does not premeditatedly store of send directly information to Microsoft, but it makes data available to other services involving network connectivity, and that do access the Redmond company.

    Makes data available to services that contact Microsoft does not mean this data will be SENT to Microsoft. FUD.

    Via Parental Controls, not only you but also Microsoft will monitor all the visited URLs of your offspring.

    If this is actually true, then it's too far. Direct monitoring of the sites!

    Hashes of your Peer Name tied to your IP address are published and periodically refreshed on a Microsoft server, courtesy of the Peer Name Resolution Service.

    Too far. But I'm not sure what a Peer Name is now. And I doubt it's very useful.

    Every time you install a Plug and Play device, you tell Microsoft about it in order to get the necessary device drivers. The same is the case

  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:58AM (#19717501) Journal
    Well they say the information is anonymous, but it includes things like your IP address. So they can convert that it non-anonymous information quite easily.

    So... some reasons why this is probably a bad idea:
    1. If they discover that you are running non-legit software, they can track you down. (And considering that any such analysis will always make mistakes, even users of legitimate copies of software should be worried.)
    2. If MS's servers get compromised (or a bug is found in the "secure transmission" protocol), third parties can obtain your data. Depending on exactly what is being sent, this could be a privacy breach, security breach, or both.
    3. Having services constantly establishing these connections is a security risk. Malware or viruses may be able to exploit it as a point of infection. Or, they may be able to use it as a means of spreading copies of themselves, or secretly transmitting information back to a third party. Every unnecessary service (from a user perspective) is a security breach waiting to happen.
    4. Having code running that doesn't explicitly benefit the user is a waste of resources. This means overhead on your computer and overhead on your internet connection.
    5. The EULA seems to state that they can change the terms as it suits them. This means that they can push updates through Windows Update that increase the scope of the data obtained. Perhaps they eventually decide to drop the anonymous clause. I don't think signing over so much freedom and privacy is a good idea, regardless of how "well-intentioned" the recipient of your rights claims to be.

    And finally, there is the general "bad vibes" I'm sure we're all getting about this. It would be one thing if it were an additional feature that you could turn on if you wanted to. Something like "Help MS improve the quality of service by sending reports on how your software is running. This voluntary service is under your control, and only human-readable summaries will be sent, which you can inspect before they are sent. Do you wish to participate? Cancel/Allow"

    Instead we get something like: "MS reserves the right to monitor your computer and transmit information to MS HQ. We can change these terms at our leisure. By using any of these features, you implicitly agree to this monitoring."

    This is not an act of charity on MS's part. This is part of a plan to obtain information that they want, without customers noticing it is happening. That can only be a bad thing.
  • by sid0 ( 1062444 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @10:58AM (#19717507) Journal
    The things that get transmitted are:
    1. Activation info. Well, duh.
    2. Windows Update. -do-
    3. Auto Root Update. Updates the list of trusted certificate authorities. You know, Verisign etc.
    4. Windows Media DRM. Not an issue if you don't use DRM files, and no, information isn't transmitted every time you play the song.
    5. Windows Media Player. To download album art/track names. Again, no different from other players. Easy to disable completely.
    6. Malicious Software Removal. What's the problem if info is transmitted to Microsoft that you had an infection and it was cleaned? Non-issue. You can choose not to use it at all.
    7. Network Connectivity Status Icon. This doesn't TRANSMIT anything except the HTTP request. It just downloads a small page to check if the Internet connection is working. Easy to disable, no problem.
    8. Windows Time Service. Syncs time. Again, what's the problem? It's easy to disable if you really have a problem.
    9. Problem reports. It asks you very clearly if data is to be sent to Microsoft, and asks you again if you want to send personal data. And reporting problems is good.
    10. Games. Come on, it downloads fucking info and covers.
    11. Event Viewer. Data is sent only when you specifically REQUEST for more online help. http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/libr ary/28cd5e13-e955-4941-91d9-fec2525e96c71033.mspx? mfr=true [microsoft.com]
    12. Customer Experience Improvement Program. Microsoft *SPECIFICALLY ASKS YOU* if you want to opt-in. Once you say no, it never asks you again.

    - etc -

    The paranoia claims are really ridiculous. The operating system uses Internet resources to improve your experience, like telling you when you are connected to the Internet. Please take your tinfoil hat off for a minute and look at this objectively.
  • How about people who pay for bandwidth usage?
    Would you be able to charge microsoft for the bandwidth used by this unwanted feature?
  • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhysicsPhil ( 880677 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:03AM (#19717567)

    X-ray machines, Jet engines, and more all report operating conditions and usage information back to the manufacturer. Microsoft is doing this anonymously to improve the products. I have no problem with this. They aren't sending back any "personal information" like credit card numbers or even identification information.

    There are plenty of reasons you still don't want this happening. Consider...the war on terror continues and somebody gets caught up in the Feds dragnet. They press charges, but don't quite have the evidence they need. The defendant's lawyer (and the ACLU) is probably going to get him to walk unless they can find something. Little known to all, the President (or these days, the VP) issues a secret Executive Order that strips "terror suspects" of the right to attorney-client privilege. The Feds show up at Microsoft's door with several court orders. They order the tracking of the suspect, and they provide the IP addresses of computer in the offices of the defendant's attorney and the ACLU and demand that Microsoft install a backdoor patch to download documents off that computer. Of course the download will be indiscriminate...maybe this lawyer will also have you as a client, and your files will go to the Feds also.

    Far-fetched? Perhaps, but certainly plausible. Suppose it's not the American government, but the Chinese looking for a few journalists or Falun Gong members. Still far-fetched? Which way do you think Microsoft will go when the choice is a few journalists in prison or losing access to the Chinese market?

    Privacy is always good.

  • Re:Get used to it. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:03AM (#19717571)
    Not really. It's a reasonable assumption that you can disable these services to some degree like in XP (error reporting service, for example). No fuss, no muss. Either through the system itself or some sort of hax.

    Your missing the point. Have you learned nothing from what happened with iTunes? This isn't just about Microsoft, once again the masses get tunnel vision. This is about EVERYTHING. Going forward, as more and more infrastructure is interconnected, as we depend more and more on online services, any true notion of privacy is pretty much moot. You can disable services all you want, and it will make folks who are collecting data very happy, because you are focused on the obvious.

    I know I'm sounding tin foil hat'ish here, but that's not where I'm coming from. Simply that we have to understand the world in which we live (truly understand, not just what gets fed to us), and then take whatever measures we deem appropriate to maximize our wellbeing within that world.
  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:07AM (#19717619)
    >It appears that Microsoft is slowly trying to head towards a near-constant connection of the end-user to their system, for what purposes is a matter for conjecture.

    And it's not just Microsoft doing it.

    This "phone home" crap is the single biggest thing that is driving me to consider open-source alternative operating systems and software.

    The second biggest thing is that it seems more and more that with commercial software every time I install an "upgrade" it is really an upgrade for the /author/ of the software, not the user - more DRM, more restrictions on how I can use the software, instead of better software for /me/. It's seriously getting to where I don't trust commercial upgrades anymore. It seems like 90% of the time or better a commercial upgrade limits what I can do with the application instead of enhances it.

    It's really all come down to games for me. If my games would all run on Linux I'd be there tomorrow.
  • doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:08AM (#19717643)
    Microsoft is stepping over some big lines here.

    Either that, or they're just using their pool of hundreds of millions of users with tens of millions different hardware/software configurations in order to collect bug data.

    That's really the most obvious and the most likely answer.
  • 1984^H^H^H^H 2007 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:09AM (#19717653)
    Isn't it ironic that the very company charging insane amounts for a "safe and secure" OS is essentially using spyware embedded in the system itself when the average user shells out a decent amount of money to prevent spyware programs?

    War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.... and now Spyware is Security.
  • by brunascle ( 994197 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:10AM (#19717671)
    except, i already have the drivers. they came with the doohickey. contacting MS for them should be a user-selected option.
  • Re:Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by value_added ( 719364 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:13AM (#19717701)
    X-ray machines, Jet engines, and more all report operating conditions and usage information back to the manufacturer.

    And X-ray machines and jet engines are multi-purpose devices that store gobs of personal information?

    They aren't sending back any "personal information" like credit card numbers or even identification information.

    I'd like to know how you've achieved that conclusion given the fact that you and just about everyone outside of Microsoft lacks meaningful information as to what *is* being sent, in what form, and how.

    Someone long ago said "Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is a ridiculous one." But no worries, right?
  • by krunk7 ( 748055 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:15AM (#19717713)
    I'm not sure which reaction is stronger:
    • that I'm pleased that someone working in my government is concerned about this and intends to put in the man hours to get to the bottom of it
    • Or disgust that my government is wasting money by first purchasing an operating system, then putting in the man hours to try and reverse engineer the security risk so they can put more man hours into figuring out how to circumvent said security risk so they can continue to buy this really expensive spyware.
  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:16AM (#19717729)
    Is it paranoia if the OS really *is* sending tons of data to Redmond?

    Is it? I saw nothing in the article that actually tried to attempt to see what information, if any, was being sent. All I saw was a really paranoid reading of an EULA.

    Is it slander if it's true?

    Just because something is in a license agreement doesn't mean its happening. People said the same thing about Windows update. The truth of the matter is it sends what OS / service pack your running and you get a list of updates available, which then is parsed by your computer to see if it needs them or not. Also, what updates are needed but not installed is reported back. Not exactly terrifying data.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:16AM (#19717737)
    It's fully-disclosed and hardly sneaky. If you block it, it will still work fine, but you lose updates to Windows and its components, you won't get your DRM certificates for media it's introduced to, your IPv6 NAT service won't work as expected, and online help features stop working. Want to stop them? Firewall rules, or disable the services.

    Everything has to be considered a security risk from your position, otherwise you're not doing your job :)
  • Blame the EULA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kebes ( 861706 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:25AM (#19717837) Journal

    The paranoia claims are really ridiculous.
    Frankly, if companies want to stop people have having paranoid reactions to EULAs, they should stop writing such blatantly over-broad EULAs in the first place. Go ahead, read a random portion from the EULA for Windows Vista [microsoft.com]. It contains all kinds of broad statements limiting what I can do with the product, while simultaneously disclaiming all warranty on their part, and giving them broad ability to do as they please and change the terms as they please.

    As long as companies write such ridiculous EULAs, it is only natural that people will react this way to them. Frankly the only reason that more people are not scared and appalled at EULAs is that no one actually reads them. Probably many of the things claimed in EULAs would not hold up in a court of law. But if all the terms of the EULAs were actually legally enforceable, then it would not be at all paranoid to be concerned about them: the terms are, after all, very consumer-hostile.
  • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:26AM (#19717863)
    It's really all come down to games for me. If my games would all run on Linux I'd be there tomorrow.

    All I can say is I'm glad I don't have anything important like games to dictate what OS I use. Yes, in some respects I'm being a troll/sarcastic here, but also games appear to be _the_ driving force for technical people here on slashdot to tie them to Windows. Other less technical users simply don't know any better.

    Maybe I'm just an eletist or whatever, but I simply don't need the headaches that come with Windows. I had a couple of crappy jobs back in the 1999-2000 era that required Windows, but other than that I've been Windows free since 1997 or so both personally and professionally.

    To me, the OS is just software. Just like I have a choice in shells, window managers, desktop environments, web servers, whatever. For many reasons, technical, stylish, reliability, ease of use, ease of maintenance, etc, I simply can't find a reason to use Windows.

    If games were that important to me, I would buy a console, or two or three.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:31AM (#19717935)
    As long as the info is sent anonymously, whats the big deal? This information is probably being used to make sure the operating system run the smoothest it can, the info sent can be used to help update the system and keep MS on top of bugs and holes in the OS

    Hello, we're with the police. We'd like to install these realtime video cameras and microphones into all the various rooms of your home. The information gathered will only be used to make sure your home is run the smoothest it can, and that no criminals can get in to do you harm, or in case a fire or storm damage or medical emergency then we can send the appropriate first-responders right away.
  • Re:doubt it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ravnen ( 823845 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:40AM (#19718053)
    Did you read the article? It goes on about things like your IP address, and the web browser you're using being sent to Microsoft. This is essentially the information you send to every website you visit, unless you're using an anonymising proxy. Using Windows Update on XP, which runs via IE, almost certainly sends this same information to Microsoft, as does any web-based update function to the respective OS provider. The whole article reads almost like a joke.

    Sending an IP address and the name of a web browser to an update server is hardly something to be concerned about. Microsoft's forays into advertising, on the other hand, are certainly something to keep an eye on. For the moment I'm a paying customer, but if advertisers become the paying customers and I'm simply a target for advertising, then I'll worry.

  • Re:doubt it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:42AM (#19718077) Homepage
    Shhhhhhhh! Occam's Razor, logic, and common sense have no place on Slashdot!!
  • by Jack Sombra ( 948340 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:46AM (#19718113)

    "Americans take their privacy too seriously to ignore this if this becomes public. "
    Sorry but WHAT????

    Americans probably have the lowest privacy concerns of any modern first world country

    You have no real laws that protect your data being sold without your knowledge

    No real penalties for mishandling (aka losing) peoples personal data

    People buy from their local shops and supermarkets and give hand over details like their tel number/address to the shop assistants without question (and for those who have not been to the US not talking "loyalty cards" here which are bad enough, mean "What's you telephone number Sir?", first time I encountered that I was like "WTF?!?!?" and when I refused they did not know what to do because no one had ever refused before and they did not know how to bypass that point on the till to close the sale)

    Hell your data protection laws are so weak they had to change European law to create an exclusion for the transmission of airline passenger info to the FBI because otherwise virtually no personal information about people in the EU is allowed to be transmitted to the US unless already connected with a crime because the rest of the view the US laws as a joke

    The average American could not give a toss about their privacy
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:51AM (#19718211) Journal
    This "phone home" crap is the single biggest thing that is driving me to consider open-source alternative operating systems and software.

    Phone home is DRIVING you? To CONSIDER open-source? And you are considering these as ALTERNATIVEs? Sounds to me like you are squarely locked up in proprietary land, and that, generally, you like it there. But you need to fit in around here, so you use words like "crap" to add weight to your otherwise meaningless stanzas.

    Put your money where your mouth is. If you like the open stuff, use it. Otherwise, you're just so much hot air, and heated air comes rather cheap around here.

    And here's a great example: It's really all come down to games for me. If my games would all run on Linux I'd be there tomorrow.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @11:58AM (#19718321) Homepage Journal

    Even if you decide that you believe MS 100% and trust that they won't quietly change the terms in a year or two (a right they do reserve) to allow them to collect personally identifying information AND sell, it, just how secure are their servers? Any chance their admins will sell the data on the side for obscene amounts of cash?

    Does any unique but not personally identifying information also appear in personally identifying Word documents? What is their policy if the NSA wants a copy? What is their policy if Bill needs a favor from Congress?

    Funny, my Linux boxen don't collect any information at all and still they run nice and stable and get their updates as needed.

  • by Kamokazi ( 1080091 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:01PM (#19718361)
    The problem is the console gaming experience is very different and generally considered quite inferior by those who prefer PC games. This is due to numerous reasons, but mostly:

    1) Multiplayer games and game modes (consoles are finally starting to catch up)
    2) Modability and expandability of the titles
    3) Better graphics (if you're willing to plunk down the cash for the hardware)
    4) Unique and indie titles

    Now most PC games can be played on Linux through a DirectX emulator, however there is almost always a performance hit, and often it's as bad as half your framerate going down the drain...the games are just heavily optimized for Windows (most Mac games are the same way...~20% performance hit on the same machine if you use OSX instead of bootcamping into Windows).

    What's become worse is that MS is now requiring Vista for some games...games that don't even require the newer DirectX 10...I've had to make my gaming PC dual-boot into Vista now just for Shadowrun. Halo 2 'requires' Vista as well...and it has awful Xbox 1 graphics...it sure as hell doesn't need Vista to run properly. And what's worse is Vista will make most games suffer 10%+ performance hits as well (hence the dual booting).

    Bottom line...serious PC Gamers are stuck with Windows.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:07PM (#19718465) Homepage Journal
    Considering you indirectly agreed to it all in the EULA, i doubt it.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:09PM (#19718481)

    I'm about to put together a new PC. I fully expect to dual-boot between XP (not Vista) and some flavour of Linux. As with others here, games are the major reason for installing XP at all, with multimedia support a close second. So, I went along to that page with great interest.

    Unfortunately, all it tells me is that pretty much every game I want to play on the new machine is completely unplayable under Cedega. As with so much of Linux history, the answer seems to be "it's making progress, but it's just not good enough yet".

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:18PM (#19718589)

    The genre of game is more the deciding factor for me. Some genres, such as first-person shooters, convert very well to consoles, and indeed many of the best recent titles in this genre have started out or remained exclusively on one console or another. However, many genres naturally have an interface that is too complicated for your average console games platform. Can you imagine controlling a complex real-time strategy title like Supreme Commander via a little handheld unit with a few twiddly things and pushy bits on it? How about a role-playing game where you need to give detailed orders to many party members with many specific abilities?

    Incidentally, the Microsoft "Vista-only" games have already been cracked, and apparently operate just fine on XP. It's just a PR stunt, which is probably why (as I've argued before) no-one except Microsoft is making Vista-only titles, or even prioritising Vista for games development. The gamer market isn't as stupid as Microsoft seems to think, and the reviews of Vista as a gaming platform are slating it on both compatibility and performance grounds. That means gamers aren't upgrading, and the developers in such a high-pressure business are always going to follow the market.

  • by frizop ( 831236 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:24PM (#19718699)
    >> Some genres, such as first-person shooters, convert very well to consoles, Did I miss something here? FPS are the reason most of us have stuck to PC gaming.
  • For that I befriended you.

    Hey mods, parent isn't a troll, he speaks only the truth, if a little bit more vehemently than your politically-correct minds can tolerate.

    The funny thing with those who say that "if my favorite game ran on Linux, I'd be there" is that their favorite game is never one of those that already runs on Linux; I won't enumerate the quality commercial games that run natively on Linux, it's getting old already. But the thing is, you want support, put your money where your mouth is, as the parent said.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @12:45PM (#19718965) Homepage

    The bottom line is you have to transmit personally identifiable information to Microsoft to keep Vista running properly. Unless you're willing to go to extreme lengths to sanitize every bit of outbound data.

    I know my ISP is keeping records of where I visit on the internet. But if that really worried me I could tunnel through to a secure proxy and all they get is the proxy IP. If you block Microsoft at the firewall your operating system will stop working and you won't be able to get security updates.

    Finished updating my home network to Kubuntu this weekend. Very nice. I support Microcrap all day and going home to my Linux network is like diving into a clear, cool pool at the end of a hot day. Everything is so fluid, easy to manage, low stress computing. Funny thing, I remember a day when going with Microsoft was the low stress networking option.

    Those days are over.

  • by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:21PM (#19719421) Homepage

    Bottom line...serious PC Gamers are stuck with Windows....NOT!!!!! Simply set up a dual-boot system, and only boot into windows to play games and use Linux to go online and do anything else but your games.

    In other words, serious PC gamers are stuck with Windows.

  • Re:Paranoia.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Extide ( 1002782 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:55PM (#19719765) Homepage
    EXACTLY! I mean honestly its heresay whether MS even logs the IP's of the people sending the data or not. Who cares. I'm sure by simply reading TFA that very news website logged your ip, browser, etc also, just like ANY website does. Why dont people sit here and get all pissy about that? I mean in all reality Netscape was the first app to do this that I could recall, sending back crash information when it crashed; brilliant. This expands on the idea somewhat seeing what are the most common features used, as well as their reliabilty and performance. Also if you are really worried about the cpu time it will use to do this then you aren't really that bright or you are still using a 486, I mean seriously its essentially negligible. It will only be time before some of the big Linux distros follow suit-- but of course everyone will praise them for doing exactly the same thing... Oh well.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @01:57PM (#19719783)
    Bush's DOJ switched sides and now our government supports Microsoft so vigorously both here and in abroad.

    Besides the free gift of your personal info, the are those backdoor keys. They didn't call them "NSA keys" for no reason.
  • by Yiliar ( 603536 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @03:31PM (#19720971)
    Why oh Why don't console game developers allow the use of keyboard and mouse in their games?

    My left thumb is the LEAST dexterous digit, and yet that it what I am forced to 'aim' with.

    The first PS3 game to release with a keyboard/mouse controller option will sell off the shelves!

    You hear me? Just do it!

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @04:58PM (#19722061)

    Hmm... all the major consoles support USB keyboards. Is the problem simply that the console game developers don't support these keyboards?

    I suspect it's just a vicious circle. Most console owners presumably don't have keyboards because games don't tend to need them and they don't come as standard, and vice versa. If someone developed, say, the best ever RTS to run on a console and supporting powerful, keyboard-based controls to execute complex commands, I imagine that situation would reverse pretty quickly in that segment of the user base, but who wants to be the first company to risk something like that in a business like gaming?

  • by Omaze ( 952134 ) on Monday July 02, 2007 @07:03PM (#19723245) Journal

    He feels (rightly) that it doesn't really matter if he leaves a paper trail
    Most base animals figured out, thousands of years ago, that leaving a trail is a careful balance between marking territory and attracting predators.

    There are wealthy and powerful predators in both government and private industry.

    But you can keep your head in the sand. The herd of idiots won't notice when the wolves pick you.

    Just because you don't know, can't even imagine, don't have the intellect required to figure out, how predators are exploiting you doesn't mean it isn't happening. Maybe you think that society is all love and roses and nobody would ever exploit their fellow man. Don't let ten thousand years of history or reality enlighten you.
  • If Microsoft wanted to spy on you they could easily get an IP that isn't Microsoft. Besides, do you really trust your host file on a Microsoft system? They're known for bypassing it specifically for that kind of stuff.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.