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October 19, 2006 1:27 PM   Subscribe


 
what on earth were the Microsoft lawyers thinking when they inserted a clause in its EULA that specifically forbids problem-solving

just what they are always thinging - much of the the world is comprised of ignorant consumerbot idiots. they may be right.
posted by quonsar at 1:31 PM on October 19, 2006


And people will still choke it down, lick their lips, smile, and ask for a second helping.
posted by keswick at 1:32 PM on October 19, 2006


What's funny is that on all the PC game boards people cannot wait for DX10 to come out as if they day Vista comes out everyone is going to love installing it and going to town.

Looks like another 3 years of XP for my windoze box. Meanwhile real work will be done on my Mac.
posted by ernie at 1:34 PM on October 19, 2006


Microsoft teh suxxor? How?
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on October 19, 2006


I don't want to burn my karma but I like the slashdot redesign. Feels kinda cozy like metafilter.
posted by srboisvert at 1:39 PM on October 19, 2006


But seriously. Do you think this will drive down the price of the XP OS? I've been meaning to upgrade from 2000 Pro for a while...
posted by Mister_A at 1:41 PM on October 19, 2006


No typical consumers intentionally buy Windows. They just get it.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 1:49 PM on October 19, 2006


Let's not overlook, only one reactivation with different hardware. Change the motherboard or move it to another computer more than once, you'll have ot buy a new licence. How are the gamers buying it for DX 10 going to react to that - they change hardware routinely.
posted by jam_pony at 2:14 PM on October 19, 2006


It's good to see that they've brought the minimum specs for Vista down. The initial reports were saying that it woud require 2gb of RAM and a 100gb hard drive. The new requirements still seem bloated but they're no different than any Mac I've owned recently.
posted by lekvar at 2:27 PM on October 19, 2006


Win2k works fine for me. I can't imagine upgrading to Vista unless I'm absolutely forced to. And since I tend to only use my Mac at home, I can't imagine that happening.

Also, Ubuntu is finally the first Linux distro I've seen that passes the "Mom test."
posted by bshort at 2:29 PM on October 19, 2006


And people will still choke it down, lick their lips, smile, and ask for a second helping.

By all means, I and many others welcome you to the world of selling a commercial, consumer-oriented operating system. I promise to buy the first copy.

I'll put it on the shelf next to my copies of BeOS, NeXTStep, GEOS, OS/2, IRIX, DR-DOS and the others.

Computer operating systems are a winner-take-all game. There's only one winner. It's always going to suck (to some people) because it only has to be good enough.
posted by GuyZero at 2:33 PM on October 19, 2006


I've been meaning to upgrade from 2000 Pro for a while...

Why? 2000 Pro was my favorite version of windows, it didn't do anything i didn't want it to and was solid enough that I only crashed it once or twice over years of heavy use.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:36 PM on October 19, 2006


It needs an awful lot of RAM, disk space, and VRAM.

RC1 runs fine on my year-old, not-top-of-the-line laptop, even with the craptastic Aero interface. 2 GHz Pentium M, 2 GB RAM, 100 GB HDD, and I have resources left to spare. I've been running this week with 1 GB RAM, and that didn't make any noticeable difference until I needed to run two VMware sessions, each of which needed around 512 MB.

It might even stop working on you, transforming your powerful workstation into a locked-down web-browsing paperweight (but what about your data?).

XP does this now, except for the "web-browsing" part. If you don't activate XP, you can't do anything in the OS except ... activate XP.

It might not have the drivers you need to get your equipment working

Well, of course not. But it seems to have a much larger driver set than XP. When I installed it, it detected the built-in Bluetooth adapter and fingerprint reader, which XP didn't do.

it won't load drivers that haven't been "blessed" by its maker.

RC1 lets me install any damn thing I want. I've installed all the drivers for all the crap I was using with XP.

Now, not being able to transfer the license, that really sucks. But it doesn't affect the vast majority of users, who don't install operating systems - they buy computers. And I'm sure there will be "workarounds" for the people it does affect.

On the other hand, the default user-level security is a lot better, and that will affect the vast majority of users, who really need to be protected from themselves.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:42 PM on October 19, 2006


Yes, this MS EULA (and many others) is awful, but I find Selzer's commentary overwrought, overstated, childish and ultimately self-defeating. Let's look at her first kvetch, that it's "Self-limiting software." Well the EULA says words to the effect of 'activate/validate in a certain period of time or it won't continue to work.' Actually, that sounds like much of the shareware I've downloaded and used in the past decade. Seems fair - use it for a while, but eventually prove you've gotten it legitimately. And guess I have to make the same comments re: "Vanishing functionality through invalidation."

And despite her distaste for "One transfer only" the horrified example she offers doesn't even pertain - if I give my machine to my Dad and then he gives it to the geezer center the "limitation" in this EULA is irrelevant - the donated machine and all the software it's running will continue to work jes' fine.

I agree 100% with the core complaint about this and similar EULAs, but overstating one's case with such sloppy logic and petulant tone does nothing to sway anyone who doesn't already share our view.
posted by twsf at 2:47 PM on October 19, 2006


I will not buy it unless it reaches a point where I absolutely have to because of games or other apps that I want to run and can not run on anything else. Even then, I will have to really want the games/apps pretty badly. I only bought XP because Mefi told me how to get it from MS for about forty bucks. If it becomes a have-to situation, I am not worried about the limited activiation crap though. Some kind soul out there will provide a solution that can be had via usenet and other places.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:59 PM on October 19, 2006


Also, Ubuntu is finally the first Linux distro I've seen that passes the "Mom test."

Yep. Ubuntu here I come.

MS lost whatever remain patience I had with their crap software when an MS XP PRo update on my Laptop installed spyware telling me every couple of seconds that I didn't have a valid copy of windows, which was BS cos I got it straight from Dell. Dealing with the representatives on the MS forums was like dealing with the Bush White house.
posted by Skygazer at 3:02 PM on October 19, 2006


Yeah. The Whitehouse has horrible tech support.
posted by brundlefly at 3:06 PM on October 19, 2006


Great post clevershark, seriously. But I feel like we just had this conversation.
posted by quin at 3:34 PM on October 19, 2006


[ ] Wal-Mart sucks.
[x] Microsoft sucks.

posted by eyeballkid at 3:39 PM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


The only thing I'm still using my PC for is Quicken Home and Business - on a Pentium III 800 running Win98SE, which is really coming to the end of its work life. Annoyingly, Intuit doesn't make an equivalent version of Quicken for the Mac... I tried out their Mac version and it just won't fit my needs, it's really only set up for "home" use.

Time to switch to Moneydance, I guess. I doubt I'll ever get another PC, since I'm going to get a MacBook Pro with Parallels Desktop sometime early next year, to keep some Win around just in case I ever need it.

So, I guess I'll never have to worry about Vista. I'm sure we'll have fun with it here at work! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:42 PM on October 19, 2006


Computer operating systems are a winner-take-all game. There's only one winner.

Huh, did you even read your cite, GuyZero?

However, network effects need not lead to market dominance by one firm, when there are standards which allow multiple firms to interoperate, thus allowing the network externalities to benefit the entire market.

You also seem to neglect that the market has plenty of operating systems that actually produce. And it's these other OS companies that push interoperability not the monopolist MS.
posted by effwerd at 4:00 PM on October 19, 2006


Do you think this will drive down the price of the XP OS?
When Win98 came out, Microsoft raised the price of Win95 to compel users to buy the new product. Since that behavior was cited in the monopoly trial (you know -- the one that stopped Microsoft from continuing the predatory business practices), they may not repeat it because they're afraid they'll get punished.
posted by forrest at 4:06 PM on October 19, 2006


I'll let you all in on a little not-so-secret secret. Fry's Electronics uses the least buggy of all Microsoft software in all of their 30+ store locations. It's called MS-DOS! More than that, it runs wickedly fast for what's needed, with most of the quote and register systems being hardware most people would have called out-of-date in 1995.
posted by mystyk at 4:14 PM on October 19, 2006


These idiotic eulas ought to be banned, and replaced with a standard set of rights. It seems like a lot of the clauses in these things are totally illegal, so why do they get to write them?
posted by delmoi at 4:16 PM on October 19, 2006


I'll let you all in on a little not-so-secret secret. Fry's Electronics uses the least buggy of all Microsoft software in all of their 30+ store locations.

Odd. Twice in the last month I've walked over to the local Fry's and they were using calculators and receipt pads because the entire system was down.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:22 PM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


eyeballkid,
Yeah, I'm familiar with that problem. Likely any supervisor in Electronic Components or Service can tell you why, although officially they're not supposed to do so. I'll give you a hint - it involves saving costs on upgrades by using uncertified hardware. One cheapo RAM stick can save you a good amount now, but when it fails where a normal one wouldn't it will certainly cost you more later. That's what an increasingly disconnected corporate structure can do.
posted by mystyk at 5:42 PM on October 19, 2006


Funny, when I submitted this story I got an error message, and had given up on it, but there it is on the front page :-)
posted by clevershark at 5:52 PM on October 19, 2006


Switch to Mac. I did and have few regrets other than one terrible experience with their tech support. But that seems to be fairly unusual from talking to other people.
posted by muppetboy at 6:06 PM on October 19, 2006


Can I run windows games in Ubuntu?
posted by Vindaloo at 6:09 PM on October 19, 2006


So far haven't been impressed with Vista. Installed a release candidate on my work system as a dual-boot (hey, why screw up my own computer, right?). It's kind of... meh. Really. I'm not sure that I like anything about it. They put a lot of time into making it look plasticky and shiny, but there's a whole lot of bits that just seem hacked together haphazardly. I mean, the "Install New Font" dialogue - it hasn't changed since Win 3.1. (I have screenshots to prove it.) It's insane that they will re-write so much of the legacy code and then leave something like that untouched. As it is, it doesn't act like any of the selection dialogues common to Windows since 1995. If they overlooked that, what else got missed in their mad rush to ensure that our computers are Completely Legal?

Let's just not go into the whole "A program started! Did you mean to start it?" alert box that pops up every three seconds. 99% of end users will disable that "feature" within a week, and then Microsoft will blame them for the resulting security holes. There is a way to enable security in an unobtrusive way. MS needs to look at how Linux and OSX handle admin authentication when required and go from there. As it stands, Windows is overly restrictive if running as a standard user. There is no reason a standard user shouldn't be able to install a printer driver, for example. I don't expect that Vista makes this better, and I haven't played with it enough as of yet to be sure.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:14 PM on October 19, 2006


muppetboy writes "Switch to Mac."

Of course we all know that no thread about Windows would be complete sans the above comment. However, this argument would be much more attractive to current Windows users if it didn't mean giving up things like games and software for which there is no OSX alternative, not to mention the necessity of buying a brand new (overpriced) computer. Not to mention the people working in corporate environments who are not empowered to make purchasing decisions. Dells are cheaper, and they come with Windows. Until that changes (or until Apple releases non-hardware locked copies of OSX for use on generic x86 machines) this isn't going to be a helpful option.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:19 PM on October 19, 2006


Let's just not go into the whole "A program started! Did you mean to start it?" alert box that pops up every three seconds. 99% of end users will disable that "feature" within a week, and then Microsoft will blame them for the resulting security holes. There is a way to enable security in an unobtrusive way. -caution live frogs

I don't know. I definately wouldn't leave that on all the time, but if my box got buggy, it'd be nice to be able to switch it on and see what was going on. I'm not wicked tech savvy, and scrolling thru the list of acronyms in the task manager doesn't always help me out so much.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:25 PM on October 19, 2006


What kind of an emotionally stunted manchild plays video games past their adolescence?
posted by keswick at 6:41 PM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


What kind of maturity-deficient butt nugget teases 'em like that?

On topic, I spent all day screaming at a boulder to get out of my way.
posted by carsonb at 6:46 PM on October 19, 2006


"Quick! Vista's coming! Start the anti-Microsoft rant machine!"

Sigh.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:00 PM on October 19, 2006


keswick : What kind of an emotionally stunted manchild plays video games past their adolescence?

[Raises hand]

Yep, that'd be me. Right here. I'm the guy your looking for.

If you want, I can round up most of my co-workers and friends as well, because they definitely fit the bill. Also several... womanchilds (?) like my wife.

Not sure what point you were going for there, but here I am. Didja want to know something specific about us or were you just being hyperbolic?
posted by quin at 7:02 PM on October 19, 2006


Yep. Ubuntu here I come.

i have been running it for a year now, first breezy and now dapper. love it. and i find it great fun to occasionally fire up vmware server and boot windows xp in a window on my gnome desktop!
posted by quonsar at 7:07 PM on October 19, 2006


Let's just not go into the whole "A program started! Did you mean to start it?" alert box that pops up every three seconds.

I haven't really run into that. I'm running RC1, and I only get notified when I'm installing something, or changing the system configuration.

What kind of an emotionally stunted manchild plays video games past their adolescence?

We can't all survive on a diet of pure bile and misanthropy like you.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:11 PM on October 19, 2006


We can't all survive on a diet of pure bile and misanthropy like you.

Don't forget coffee and red meat.
posted by keswick at 7:31 PM on October 19, 2006


Microsoft jumped the shark with Windows 2000. It was truly a solid OS provided one did not use the Internet/file-sharing. Making use of any Microsoft-created Internet interface was pretty much a guarantee of doom: everything seemed to somehow give incoming data the ability to cause root-level tampering of personal files.

So long as you avoided using MSIE, Active-anything, Outlook Express, Outlook, Microsoft media players, MS Office scripting, etcetera etceteras, you were pretty much golden. Don't install pirate warez, don't install a bunch of silly or trial/demo shareware/independently-published software ("oooh, look, a snowglobe on my desktop!"), and don't trust shit that's sent to you.

The honest truth is that Mac OS X feels like Windows 2000 with a fresh and improved UI, a real OS-level security permissions system, access to a full-blown and very sensibly-designed Unix system, and a rock-solid foundation for further development. It's like what Windows 2000 would be if it had continued to be properly developed.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 PM on October 19, 2006


five fresh fish writes "It's like what Windows 2000 would be if it had continued to be properly developed."

I'm not a Mac fanboy but I wish them well. If Apple continues to make inroads (and converts users) it might end up being enough of a threat to MS to finally fix something.

(Of course, that also means that Apple might get big enough to run into the same corporate inertia that plagues Microsoft.)
posted by caution live frogs at 9:29 PM on October 19, 2006


Hey, I like Fedora with KDE. It runs fine on my four year old Athlon with only ~750 megs of RAM; I even downgraded my power supply to 350W. As for running games on Windows, wait, you mean games you have to PAY for? What kind of ninny spends serious money on computer games -- that only run on a Micro$oft OS yet? (Hint: start buying things with CASH instead of credit cards, you'll see how little you REALLY need.)
posted by davy at 9:54 PM on October 19, 2006


caution live frogs: if Apple falls into inertia, you will simply switch — and relatively painlessly — to another *nix system. The point is soon coming where a common API will provide you the option of choosing any GUI over a Unix core.

I did a helluva lot of very productive work using Win98 and especially Win2K. Under OS X, it's going as well or better; certainly with a lot less 'babysitting the OS' bullshit. I am also using a KDE/BSD box at work, and am finding the UI is very acceptable, and the applications largely usable (email, lite document/diagramming, web ui) for my particular workplace needs.

I fully expect that within the next five years, all OSes will be Unix derivatives (BSD, SRV4, Linux) with varying UIs, customer support, and application sets (OSX, Ubuntu, Solaris, etc). A common document format will facilitate sharing. Pick the system that pleases you most, and not to worry about everyone else's choice.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 PM on October 19, 2006


On a vaguely related note, I think the difficulty of switching to Macs gets blown out of proportion at times. I did it late last year, after more than 10 years of Windows usage at home, and it was the best choice I ever made, computing-wise.

Despite having deeply ingrained Windows power user habits, the switch was complete in a matter of weeks, mentally as well as practically. It still amazes me how easy and effortless it was. Every last bit of software I used had a good equivalent for Mac OS X. The only single program I miss is the excellent IrfanView, though I've gotten the relevant functionality, even improved on it, by combined use of multiple pieces of software. And now, I wouldn't trade the Unixy goodness at the lower level of the OS for anything.

Corporate environments as well as some specialist applications are another thing entirely, of course, and sadly a dependency on PC gaming will keep you tied to Windows for a long time to come, even if you'll be using Boot Camp to run it. Still, my opinion is that it's better to have a minimal games-only installation of Windows on a separate partition (or maybe a virtual machine if Parallels eventually delivers on their promise of transparent Direct3D support) than to just use Windows for everything.
posted by lifeless at 1:36 AM on October 20, 2006


Previous Pro-Mac propaganda aside, restrictive horseshit like Vista's here makes me want to vent my frustrations. My workplace is an MS volume license customer. I'm not here in a decisive capacity, but I can get my voice heard nonetheless. When the question of upgrading becomes relevant, I'll be doing my best/worst to block Vista's introduction to our workstations. I can't imagine a single concrete benefit it would have over our current, rather stable XP SP2 install base. A waste of money, a hoard of inevitable technical issues. Lots of shops still happily run W2k, and don't feel like they're missing anything. The same corporate crap runs just fine on both.

I hate the fact that advertising and corporate strongarming tactics (like the eventual forced Vista OEM bundling and volume licensing, and the DX10 exclusivity) will always win over any pleas for sanity and boycott campaigns, in both the consumer sector and the business sector.

But mine is a powerless hate.
posted by lifeless at 2:01 AM on October 20, 2006


The problem with the workaround clause is simple. As a production sysadmin, I *cannot* allow that software onto the floor.

Our apps have to run. We don't buy computers to run operating systems, we buy them to run applications. Some are OTS, some are customized, some are home-rolled, but they're the whole reason for the hardware. Why don't I have Ultrasparc T-1s? They don't run the software, so they're nothing but fast paperweight. Why don't I run OS X? Same reason.

Vista is telling me that if my apps don't work, I am legally constrained from trying to find a workaround -- if there is a "technical issue" with my app running on Vista, then my app cannot be legally run on the operating system.

So, what MS is really saying is that I need to hope that everything works, because I cannot do anything to make them work if something doesn't.

News Flash: I'm not buying your operating system because I like operating systems. If you are telling me that I cannot workaround problems with your operating system when I try to run the apps I need to run, you're telling me that I cannot buy or deploy Vista in any way shape or form.

This means what I really need to do now is start a major push to another desktop platform (probably something Open Source, because of the major investment in Intel gear.) We know that the next operating system up for End of Life is XP. Once support for XP drops, we're forced to either gamble on Vista and pray it works, or stop deploying workstations. Neither is acceptable, so now is the time to start working on getting the new platform ready. It may take two years to get everything built, and I'm just hoping we'll have that.
posted by eriko at 8:40 AM on October 20, 2006


Can I run windows games in Ubuntu?

Quonsar already mentioned VMWare, and there's a pseudo-Windows for Linux called Cedega that's dedicated to games. See the database of game support. There's also Wine which is freeware, and which Cedega is based on.
posted by jiawen at 9:45 AM on October 20, 2006


fff: If everything moves to a *nix base sometime soon, I'm not going to complain. What I would like to see is some serious effort to make a *nix flavor that works as effectively as OSX does, something that finally removes the need to edit text files to configure things and has enough impetus behind it to make driver installation automatic. Perhaps Ubuntu already does this; I've only played with older versions of RedHat and newer Slackware builds.

I don't mind running my Slack server in command line mode, but my wife isn't going to use it until it works like Windows does - click here, open this, click that button to change that setting. Sure, for some more advanced WinXP things I need to manually edit the registry, but 99% of Windows tasks don't require me to open and edit .ini or other config files, compile my own software from source, and so forth.

I did burn an Ubuntu live CD a while back. I do have a 320 gb HDD that could be partitioned to dual-boot to give it a try (knowing the live CD isn't the same experience as the real install).

What would be a killer move for MS is if they did something along the lines of what Apple did - grab a stable *nix core and get their GUI designers to build a proprietary desktop that runs over the top. Imagine if you could take a long-time Windows user and hand them a *nix desktop environment that acted like Windows - control panel, menu, everything (except for the security holes). Except for the loss of backwards compatibility, the transition would be largely painless if the expected keyboard shortcuts still worked, and if programs and settings menus were in the expected places and looked largely the same. Heck, MS is investing in emulation pretty heavily - all they'd need to do is get their current emulation team working on a better version of WINE for running legacy apps, and they would be in good shape.

Nothing but a pipe dream, of course, but who knows. The reason this won't happen is that MS doesn't want to release any of its code into public domain, and I can't think of another *nix flavor that would allow them to do what Apple did. Would the GNU licensing model (or any other open source licensing model) for other *nix cores allow them to build a fully closed-source desktop for an open-source kernel, as Apple did? I mean, the Darwin core is open, but the OSX desktop is not.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2006


clf: agreed.

The reason it won't happen is that MS wants to hold your balls to the fire. As long as they control the entire software stack, you're locked into their product.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:50 PM on October 21, 2006


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