Friday, May 29, 2009

On April 5th, 2007 the Washington Post Business Section there was an excellent article by Rob Pegoraro - the Personal Technology Columnist, titled, "Draconian Windows Watchers".

Living in the DC area, I am a Washington Post paper customer, as well as an online subscriber. Mr. Pegoraro's articles are always insightful and well written.

In the article today, Mr. Pegoraro brings out some very important changes in how Microsoft is enforcing legal use of its Vista operating system. Mr. Pegoraro makes two points that stand out in my mind:

1) Instead of just checking to see if you have a legitimate license at install time, Vista will continue to check - FOREVER. As Mr. Pegoraro brings out:

"It's not enough to authenticate a new Windows setup once.
You must keep passing these tests.
It's as if the Costco clerk who checks
your receipt on the way out of the store follows up by visiting your house
every month to verify that you don't have stolen goods."

2) The second point that stands out for me is the obvious challenge Microsoft has in not
only being accurate in determining who has an illegal copy of Vista,
but more importantly,
how they should enforce these types of violations when discovered. Turning Vista into
"reduced functionality mode" sounds like a way to make some folks pretty mad if they
have legal copies of Vista or if Vista enters "reduced functionality mode" because of a bug.

Mr. Pegoraro provides many interesting examples in his article, and I would encourage everyone to read it.

This monitoring with Vista reminds me of the 1970s and early 1980s when software companies used to try every trick in the book to keep track of who was using their software with every type of copy protection known to man. It was a disaster then, and it will probably be a disaster now.

This exactly why eveyone should take a serious look at Open Solaris . We just want everyone to enjoy the best operating system on planet earth - FREE. We are too busy innovating and doing great things with the open source community to waste our time on such Big Brother monitoring efforts...