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RMS on SCO
Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:52 AM EST

There is an interview with Richard Stallman on Kerneltrap. You've got to love an interview that begins like this:

Richard Stallman: I first read manuals and wrote programs on paper in 1962 or so. 1969 was when I first saw and used a real computer.

JA: What types of programs were you writing prior to actually seeing and using a real computer?

Richard Stallman: They were pretty trivial, like things to add up a vector of numbers. About the time I first started with a real computer I designed a computer language based on string substitution. In some ways like SNOBOL, although I'd never used SNOBOL.

He does talk a bit about SCO.

And this is what he says:

JA: How do you react to SCO's recent accusations about the Linux kernel?

Richard Stallman: The vague and cagey nature of their statements, coupled with having seen that the only specific facts they produced proved to be false, suggests they have no real case.

JA: What impact do you expect this to have on free software?

Richard Stallman: I don't expect it to have a big impact because I don't think they have a case. They're trying to create FUD and they may scare some timid people off.

JA: Do you expect this to bring the GPL into the courtroom?

Richard Stallman: I don't know.

JA: Is that a concern for you?

Richard Stallman: We think the GPL will stand up in court, but no wise person is eager to get into a battle, even if he thinks he's well enough armed that he'd probably win.

The arguments that SCO have been making are so laughably absurd that they lend support to the idea that SCO has no real case, that they're only interested in creating FUD.

JA: To what end?

Richard Stallman: They hope some companies will pay them money, and Microsoft already did.

To people who know almost nothing about copyright law, anything sounds as plausible as anything else. When they hear what SCO says, they don't know how ridiculous it is. So they think, "SCO says this, IBM says that, how do I know who's right?"

JA: What's in store for the GNU General Public License (GPL)? Are there plans for a version 3?

Richard Stallman: Yes, but we are not really sure what will change. What we can say is that the changes will be details.

It's the "how do I know who's right?" part that gave birth to Groklaw. Our goal is to educate people, by providing them with factual information and links to legal resources explaining things like copyright law, so they can determine in their own minds who is right.

On the GPL, I gather the next version will be a tweak, not an overhaul. Richard talks about many more important things, like freedom and problems he sees but does not currently know how to solve unless you help out. Here is my favorite reaction to the interview so far, on Folley.net.

Getting people to think is what rms does. I enjoy thinking, and I don't have to agree with everything someone says to appreciate being given an opportunity to think a matter through, and if I respect a person, I listen with an open and accepting heart, even on matters where I don't see eye-to-eye. Anyone who could come up with the GPL has earned my respect, and I respect Richard's honesty and his willingness to sacrifice and to persist at something that he feels is more important than his own comfort or preferences. He says, "I've learned something that a lot of people could usefully know: how to be extremely persistent and whenever one avenue was blocked find another." I also respect his thinking big back in the 80s, his identifying a problem and saying, "I'll do what *I* can to change that even though I can't see how I can succeed", because without him, GNU/Linux wouldn't exist, and I love the software. So I enjoyed the article, and I'll be thinking about what he says.

I had a computer die on me recently, my old Windows 98 box. The CD drive died, and a couple of other things started causing issues, and it's such an old computer, and I've opened it up and swapped things in and out so many times over the years it's kind of not all in one piece any more, the cover being not quite flush when you close it, and all in all, I decided I'd look into buying a new one.

I found out that you can't buy a Windows 2000 computer any more. Microsoft won't let companies sell you one. It has to be XP. Have you ever read the EULA for XP Home? It's absolutely terrifying. You must activate your license -- they call it "Mandatory Activation" -- by either connecting to Microsoft, so they can record you, or you must call them and give them your information over the phone:

1.2 Mandatory Activation. The license rights granted under this EULA are limited to the first thirty (30) days after you first install the Software unless you supply information required to activate your licensed copy in the manner described during the setup sequence of the Software. You can activate the Software through the use of the Internet or telephone; toll charges may apply. You may also need to reactivate the Software if you modify your computer hardware or alter the Software. There are technological measures in this Software that are designed to prevent unlicensed use of the Software. Microsoft will use those measures to confirm you have a legally licensed copy of the Software. If you are not using a licensed copy of the Software, you are not allowed to install the Software or future Software updates. Microsoft will not collect any personally identifiable information from your Workstation Computer during this process.

Then, the machine periodically checks, presumably to verify you still are who you say you are and you haven't changed your software or hardware and that you aren't violating someone's copyright, and to automatically upgrade the DRM. Microsoft requires that you accept that they download to your computer lists of "revoked" software, so your ability to access certain content is by permission only:

2.1 Digital Rights Management. Content providers are using the digital rights management technology contained in this Software ("DRM") to protect the integrity of their content ( "Secure Content") so that their intellectual property, including copyright, in such content is not misappropriated. Portions of this Software and third party applications such as media players use DRM to play Secure Content ("DRM Software"). If the DRM Software's security has been compromised, owners of Secure Content ("Secure Content Owners") may request that Microsoft revoke the DRM Software's right to copy, display and/or play Secure Content. Revocation does not alter the DRM Software's ability to play unprotected content. A list of revoked DRM Software is sent to your computer whenever you download a license for Secure Content from the Internet. You therefore agree that Microsoft may, in conjunction with such license, also download revocation lists onto your computer on behalf of Secure Content Owners. Microsoft will not retrieve any personally identifiable information, or any other information, from your computer by downloading such revocation lists. Secure Content Owners may also require you to upgrade some of the DRM components in this Software ("DRM Upgrades") before accessing their content. When you attempt to play such content, Microsoft DRM Software will notify you that a DRM Upgrade is required and then ask for your consent before the DRM Upgrade is downloaded. Third party DRM Software may do the same. If you decline the upgrade, you will not be able to access content that requires the DRM Upgrade; however, you will still be able to access unprotected content and Secure Content that does not require the upgrade.

Those "technological measures" mean if you don't play ball, you can't use your computer any more with that software. And you'd best plan ahead, because otherwise you may find it difficult to work with your own documents you were foolish enough to place on such a computer. If you do change either your software or your hardware, you have to reactivate your license by letting Microsoft know that you are making the changes and getting authorization. If you fail to do so, your computer will essentially freeze up. And don't think you can hide:

2.3 Internet-Based Services Components. The Software contains components that enable and facilitate the use of certain Internet-based services. You acknowledge and agree that Microsoft may automatically check the version of the Software and/or its components that you are utilizing and may provide upgrades or fixes to the Software that will be automatically downloaded to your Workstation Computer.

Automatic downloads from Microsoft to my computer? I wouldn't let anyone automatically download anything to my computer except God himself. And what do they do with all the data they collect from you? Heaven only knows what exactly this means:

6. CONSENT TO USE OF DATA. You agree that Microsoft and its affiliates may collect and use technical information gathered as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Software. Microsoft may use this information solely to improve our products or to provide customized services or technologies to you and will not disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you.

Please understand when I say that I am not interested in "customized services" from a company that would write a EULA like this. There is an interview today, in which Bill Gates talks about helping the user by doing things like automatic updates, and if you wish to read his viewpoint, it's here. (Warning: he says that those who are "clamoring" for reform of the IP laws are "some new modern day sort of communists". Note to lawyers: he also says the company has many internal blogs "where people are completely open about what's going on with this, what's going on with that". Note to those who think Microsoft has changed, Gates on Firefox: "In terms of our agility to do things on the browser, people who underestimated us there in the past lived to regret that." )

When you upgrade, you must qualify to do so and after you do, you are no longer licensed to use the original software:

9. UPGRADES. To use Software identified as an upgrade, you must first be licensed for the software identified by Microsoft as eligible for the upgrade. After upgrading, you may no longer use the software that formed the basis for your upgrade eligibility.

The computer doesn't actually come with CDs. If you say yes to the EULA, then they walk you through a process whereby you can make restore CDs, but there isn't any clue before you start that they will be asking you to put in a blank CD, so I bet lots of people just skip that part and end up with no restoration capabilities. I didn't experience that part, of course, because I'd never get past the "I agree" part, but that is what the salesperson told me when I asked. You can transfer the software to another computer, but only if you destroy it on the first computer. And if you are bad?

14. TERMINATION. Without prejudice to any other rights, Microsoft may terminate this EULA if you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of this EULA. In such event, you must destroy all copies of the Software and all of its component parts.

What if their software is bad and causes you a lot of harm?

18. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY AND REMEDIES. Notwithstanding any damages that you might incur for any reason whatsoever (including, without limitation, all damages referenced herein and all direct or general damages in contract or anything else), the entire liability of Microsoft and any of its suppliers under any provision of this EULA and your exclusive remedy hereunder (except for any remedy of repair or replacement elected by Microsoft with respect to any breach of the Limited Warranty) shall be limited to the greater of the actual damages you incur in reasonable reliance on the Software up to the amount actually paid by you for the Software or US$5.00. The foregoing limitations, exclusions and disclaimers (including Sections 15, 16 and 17) shall apply to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, even if any remedy fails its essential purpose.

OK, *now* tell me Richard is extreme. The extremists are in Redmond, and why anyone would say yes to such terms is simply beyond my comprehension. I found out that if you have ten computers, you can buy a corporate license and escape these terms, but I don't have 10 computers, and XP Pro is slightly better than the Home edition.

Obviously, I didn't want such a computer in my house and I let the company I was thinking of buying from know why, not that they probably understood or cared. They told me my concerns were "unusual". Are the rest of you not reading the EULAs and letting companies know how you feel? Perhaps we should think about educating folks a bit better.

That was yesterday. Today I read Richard's interview, and I do understand better what he means when he talks about computers and software that wishes to dominate you:

"A non-free program systematically denies the users the freedom to cooperate; it is the basis of an antisocial scheme to dominate people. The program is available lawfully only to those who will surrender their freedom."

Just as a contrast, here is what you can do with software under the GPL if you are a mere user, not a developer:

  • you may use it in any way you like and no one will be asking you about it
  • you can copy it and put it on as many machines as you like
  • you can loan it to a friend
  • you can share it, by, say, putting it on your mom's computer

Here's what the software doesn't do to you:

  • it doesn't frisk your computer
  • there is no activation
  • it doesn't track you or collect data about you
  • it isn't spyware
  • it won't stop working due to technological controls
  • it never terminates your right to use it

Freedom comes with responsibilities, of course. I wouldn't dream of accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission, and those who do cause folks like the RIAA to go beserk and Microsoft to come up with EULAs like this. If any of you haven't thought of it that way, I hope you will.

Microsoft, they say, will be selling spyware removal tools soon. There is a beta release already. Now there's a business plan. Create software that is apparently helpless against malware and then sell a malware solution. I suggest we think about defining that term "spyware" a bit more broadly. If, like me, you decide that spyware includes software that comes with terms as outlined by the XP EULA, you may conclude, as I did, that your spyware removal tool of choice is switching to GNU/Linux. And hey, it's totally free. That's free as in speech. And incidentally, beer too.


  


RMS on SCO | 351 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 08:31 AM EST
<A HREF="http://www.example.com">Clickable link</A>

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 08:32 AM EST
Where and what...

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:29 AM EST
  • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:46 AM EST
  • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:53 AM EST
  • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 12:50 PM EST
    • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 05:03 PM EST
    • Corrections - Authored by: Liquor A. on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 06:59 PM EST
  • Corrections - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 04:00 PM EST
  • God HERSELF - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 05:47 AM EST
RMS on SCO
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 08:33 AM EST
A thought struck me, it didn't hurt much, that someone should on purpose create
a situation where they can take someone to cort over the GPL. And sue knowing
full well that they will lose, this way the GPL will have been tested in court
and proven valid.

I know it sounds like a abuse of the legal system but it would remove that
niggling question of if the GPL is valid in court.

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS..and PJ on SCO
Authored by: icebarron on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 08:36 AM EST
Listening or reading with an open heart and/or open mind is what makes a person
gain wisdom. That is what has made myself such a fan of people like RMS and PJ.
I admire you both for your tireless dedication to truth and freedom...

Thank you

Dan

[ Reply to This | # ]

XP Activation
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:37 AM EST
This sounds more onerous than it appears. You do NOT have to let your computer
"talk" to MS once activated, and you don't have to give it any
personal identification in order TO activate. I know... I just rebuilt my one
laptop, the HDD of which gave up its ghost.

As for hardware changes... it allows some number over a given period of time
without reactivation. IIRC, it's like 4 changes in a 30 day period. I exceeded
that once because the main board on my Mom's machine croaked and I had to
rebuild it... I just called and said "rebuilding a toasted machine"
and they immediately gave me a reactivate code after I gave them the license
string that accompanied the CD.

This was all instigated as an attempt to curb illegal copying of their software.
I don't know how effective it has been.... and this speaks again to Linux where
it's not illegal to make copies!

I do a couple of things... one is that I don't allow personal information with
activation. The second is that I turn off auto update. I further protect
myself by blocking ActiveX (captiveX) at my firewall.

YYMV, of course.
...D

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: Daddio on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:39 AM EST
I work at a smaller computer parts/retail/repair shop.

Unlike massive compnies like Dell

They have to pay for each copy of XP home (albeit less money than YOU would),
and have to load it on every computer they sell, rather than just burning an
image.

These types would be most amenable to selling a computer with no OS, AND passing
the savings on to you. You save them time and pain.

---
Joshua A Clayton
~Salt Lake City UT

[ Reply to This | # ]

I think the MS EULA is just fine
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:46 AM EST
The problem isn't the EULA. They can write anything they want. The problem is
that they've abused the market place to remove competition. So people don't get
a choice over it.

Once competition (Linux) reaches the masses, the MS EULA will become an
Interesting Historical Document.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Auto-updates on WinXP
Authored by: Optimus on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:57 AM EST
One thing that Microsoft did with Service Pack 2 for Windows XP was to get more in-your-face with users about turning on automatic updates. That's fine; helps out the Joe Sixpacks out there.

But I am not Joe Sixpack. I'm knowledgeable enough to keep up on security bulletins, run a firewall, run Firefox instead of IE, etc. As such, I loathe using the auto-updater as I don't trust it. Visiting the Windows Update website was always good enough for me. So after installing SP2 and going through MS's Dire Warnings about not turning on the auto-updater, I thought I'd be all right.

Nope.

The buggers changed Windows Update. If it detects you're running Windows XP, it will refuse to scan your computer for updates unless your auto-updater is on. (At least you can still set it to only notify you and satisfy that requirement -- for now, anyway)

Just one more reason I'll be steering well clear of Longhorn. I don't like playing by Microsoft's rules on how to set up my own computer. There's no technical reason for Windows Update to refuse to run with the auto-updater off; for Windows 2000, the old Windows Update website still runs just great. If it weren't for games, I wouldn't have a Windows partition at all anymore as I moved to Mandrake Linux last year for everything else. When Sony comes out with their next PlayStation I'll probably remove myself from that last restriction :).

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: fredex on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:02 AM EST
RMS is nothing if not steadfast.

PJ, re your windows problem, here's a thought: For "only" a couple
hundred bucks you could purchase a legal copy of VMware Workstation for your
Linux box, then reinstall your Win98 as a guest OS inside it.

You're still using non-free software, but at least you can
use the windows you're used to (if you can't completely wean yourself off it)
without having to 1) spent several hundred for a new box and 2) put up with MS's
draconian licensing schemes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A nice article about EULA is here:
Authored by: Darkelve on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:12 AM EST
<a
href="http://www.arachnoid.com/boycott/">http://www.arachnoid.com/b
oycott/</a>

[ Reply to This | # ]

Windows 2000
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:23 AM EST
"I found out that you can't buy a Windows 2000 computer any more. Microsoft
won't let companies sell you one. It has to be XP."

Places still sell Windows 2000 Professional OEM (with cd), you just need to buy
it with hardware. Since she needs a new computer that shouldn't be difficult.
Just have to look out for license packs and 3packs. Just use google.

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: Turin on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:23 AM EST
You cannot buy a preloaded Windows 2000 system, this is true. However, you can
still buy Windows 2000 Professional itself. It's expensive (probably $199 or so
is about the best you can do). It's been Microsoft's policy to 'encourage'
upgrade by raising the price on its older operating systems after they cease
being current. This has been going on for at least 10 years.

That said, I can't see the merit of getting Windows 2000 over Windows XP at this
point, except for Product Activation. If you are worried about product
activation, there are several cracks out there that will activate your system
without you having to even contact Microsoft. If you have a valid license, I
don't even see a cause of action for Microsoft if you were to choose to do
that.

Alternatively you could obtain a VLK (Volume License Key) version of XP which
also does not require activation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Actually...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:25 AM EST
>Here's what the software doesn't do to you:

* it doesn't frisk your computer
* there is no activation
* it doesn't track you or collect data about you
* it isn't spyware
* it won't stop working due to technological controls

There's no reason why GPL'd software can't do this. I have to admit it would be
unlikely that any of these would be implemented in any GPL'd software in an
undesirable way without somebody else coming along and modifying the source code
- to which they have a right of access - to take it out.

* it never terminates your right to use it

Yes. Good isn't it? :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

EULA vs GPL
Authored by: NickDeGraeve on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:36 AM EST
I just finished reading t his PDF on Cybersource.com.au. It compares the EULA of Win XP Prof to the GPL and provides sometimes usefull explanations.
The EULA contains some really scary stuff. I never realised all the stuff M$ can do to your computer. I'm glad I use Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Then build your own...
Authored by: kitterma on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:43 AM EST
For a desktop, buying components and building your own isn't that hard. Then buy a copy of the operating system of your choice. Also, the component warranties are after better than the computer manufacturer warranties. Have a look at: Building the Perfect PC With that in hand, you should be in good shape. Or if you want a more in depth treatment: PC Hardware in a Nutshell It's been out awhile, but updates to product recommendations are available on the authors' web site: Hardware Guys

[ Reply to This | # ]

Food for Thought (Conspiracy theory)
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 10:53 AM EST
I liked the addition toward the end of the article about Microsoft selling us
bad software, then selling fixes (anti-malware).

For years, Unix, Linux, NDS, MVS, OS2, OS390, OS400, etc.. have had process
controls limiting the effects of malicious software (viruses, trojans, and most
recently malware/spyware).

Microsoft promised companies and users that they were adding these controls in
NT4, then again in NT2K, XP, 2K3, etc... yet continue to produce products weak
in security at the expense of end users.

I have done studies for companies showing them that the TCO of Windows is much
higher than Unix simply because in Unix you do not need to purchase AV software,
spyware removal tools, registry management tools, policy management tools,
etc... In UNIX it is included and most importantly WORKS!


I have over the years often wondered how much money Microsoft makes by
extortion.

Think of what companies like Norton and NAI would pay for Microsoft NOT to fix
security flaws in the core OS.

Now that spyware/malware has proliferated so rampantly, companies make tons of
money from this as well.

Microsoft has known about these problems for over 8 years. Instead of fixing
the issue, they now work for a "paid for" solution to the problems
that they have created and refused to fix.

I guess the part I find the most surprising is that consumers tolerate this in
the IT market, where they would boycott any other market and force change or
companies to go under.

Imagine the reaction consumers would have had if Ford said they were fixing the
Pinto, but customers would have to come in and buy a new package costing 1/5th
the price of the car to get the fix.

This is all speculations, based on personal observations. Little to nothing
written here can be proven factual, so take it for what it is worth.

[ Reply to This | # ]

XP Activation Cracks
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 11:04 AM EST
I have seen a couple of articles here advocate XP activation cracks. While I
believe that there is absolutely nothing morally wrong with this (assuming you
purchased a copy of the software), and I believe the likelihood of a home user
getting caught is quite small (especially if they are sophisticated enough to
limit net access for the computer) and I believe that there is not much
percentage gain in Microsoft making examples out of a few such users, I think
that there might actually be a legal issue with this action.

It would be interesting if some of the lawyers around here could analyze this,
but the activation procedure could possibly be construed to be an "access
control" under the DMCA, which could make its circumvention lead to civil
or criminal liabilities. There are several exceptions to the DMCA, but I'm not
sure if "I don't want Microsoft to have access to my computer
qualifies" -- after all, the DMCA was written for the express purpose of
letting others control your access to your own legally purchased copy of works
they created.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EULA ! shmEULA!
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 11:09 AM EST
Strikes me that this EULA concept thingy should also be thoroughly tested in court as well. As far as I'm concerned if they can't show me a contract with my signature on it's just a waste of paper, (or should that be electrons?). If an end user agreement is so important i.e has the standing of a legal document, then you should be asked to read it thoroughly and sign it before you walk out of the store with the goods, this must also apply to any online purchases as well, clicking on a "yes" button ain't anywhere near good enough IMHO. Making a purchase and then finding out that there are strings attached in the form of an unadvertised license agreement is a con in my book.
CPW

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting choice of words there, "Communist"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 11:10 AM EST
Now, let's see:

We control your machine and your data
We can secretly monitor all that data
You have no rights
We can do whatever we want with impunity
We can destroy your personal data
We can disable your machine
We can spy on you
You have no recourse
We won't guarantee anything, even if you pay us
And the government won't touch us

Sounds like the REAL "communists" are in "Red"mond. Reminds
me of the thugs that hung out in Russia or Nazi Germany (brown shirts), little
more than government sponsored "mafia".

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 11:23 AM EST
RMS is a troll, so I'll troll back:

A non-free program systematically denies the users the freedom to cooperate; it is the basis of an antisocial scheme to dominate people. The program is available lawfully only to those who will surrender their freedom. That's not a contribution to society, it's a social problem. It is better to develop no software than to develop non-free software.

So, what makes software more deserving to be "free" than, say, books or music or newspaper articles or any other form of intellectual property?

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: BJ on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 11:37 AM EST

(Warning: he [Bill Gates] says that those who are clamoring" for reform of the IP laws are "some new modern day sort of communists" (...)
Gates on Firefox: "In terms of our agility to do things on the browser, people who underestimated us there in the past lived to regret that.")

This is all namecalling and bogus analogy, but with a clear objective in mind. Shades of McCarthy, the king of FUD.
Hey, I can do some of that. Thinking of Communism, Microsoft and its EULA -- well how about this:

From Webster's Online:

Fascism:

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control







---
Warning:
Encountered Proprietary Standard and/or Patented Protocol.
Choose method of payment

[ Reply to This | # ]

Windows XP Pro Downgrade Rights
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 12:01 PM EST
I didn't see anyone bring this up yet, but you can legally install Windows 2000
or Windows 98 if you purchase an XP Pro license (OEM, Volume License, etc).

What are downgrade rights?
The Downgrade Rights in the OEM Windows XP Professional End User License
Agreement (EULA) give end users the ability to use a previous version of the
Windows software listed below with the ability to upgrade to Windows XP
Professional at any time. Note that retail product does not include downgrade
rights.

• Windows® 2000
• Windows® NT Workstation 4.0
• Windows® 98 (Second Edition)

[ Reply to This | # ]

personal data
Authored by: belzecue on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 12:05 PM EST
6 says: "...and will not disclose this information in a form that
personally identifies you."

But wait. How can there be any personally identifying information, regardless
of their promise not to disclose it? Didn't they say in 1.2 that "...
Microsoft will not collect any personally identifiable information from your
Workstation Computer during this process."

Oh. That only applies to section 1.2: your personal privacy only lasts during
the *activation process*.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent number?
Authored by: inode_buddha on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 12:28 PM EST
Does anyone know the patent number for the BSOD?

---
inode_buddha

[ Reply to This | # ]

On another front...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 12:47 PM EST
The GPL and Microsoft EULA are both tools contrived by humans. As such either
can be used for good or evil. I haven't agreed to a Microsoft EULA since
Windows 3.11. It crashed with Word Perfect and I think that is still an issue
before the courts.

If Microsoft offered the GPL, I still might not take them up on it. Any
goodness of the GPL is dependent on people of good will. I appreciate the
"Don't do evil" stance of Google. Microsoft should put the same
priority on that issue.

The GPL is a powerful work of art. We should not forget that people of good
will still make the difference.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comparing the GPL to the EULA
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 01:11 PM EST
T his is a very good comparison.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Annotated M$ XP EULA
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 01:31 PM EST
Pamela,

As a Paralegal, could you please disect the M$ XP
EULA and annotate each sentance?
Each sentance is there for a reason (each word actually)
and each sentance has a cost and or liabilities to
the users.
If you could please annoate, enumerate and comment
on each sentance of the EULA it would be very, very
illuminating.

Your limited comments on the EULA (above) were
interesting and helpful. Please do consider a full
analysis of the XP EULA

An annotated commentary on each sentence of the
SCO license would also be appreciated.

Thanks!

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 02:02 PM EST
"it never terminates your right to use it"

Well that is not correct. If you refuse to accept the GPL, or refuse to comply
with it, the license is actaully revoked.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 02:16 PM EST
  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: PJ on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 07:35 PM EST
  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: LarryVance on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 07:43 PM EST
Read EULA? Nope.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 02:12 PM EST
<i>Are the rest of you not reading the EULAs and letting companies know
how you feel?</i>

I have not been reading the EULA ever since I tried to read it the first time
and found it very long and confusing. This has been true of nearly all EULAs
I've tried to read.

Yes, I know this is legal risk-taking. I guess I live for adventure. I also knew
without reading it that the company would be claiming immunity from everything,
promising nothing, and demanding unreasonable access.

Why do companies who promise nothing expect to be paid? No wonder piracy runs
rampant.

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: miltonw on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 03:16 PM EST
<sarcasm>
And of course the EULA absolutely guarantees that these mechanisms will never be
used by crackers, trojans, viruses to corrupt your system; that all access to
your computer through these loopholes will be from bug-free systems and
completely accurate databases; and that no arbitrary harm will ever come to your
system.
That's in there, I'm absolutely sure of it.
</sarcasm>

[ Reply to This | # ]

Buying a computer
Authored by: rsmith on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 03:40 PM EST
PJ,

If you're looking for a new PC, don't stop with the major retailers. Most of
them probably won't sell you a PC without Windoze installed, because of the
contracts they have with MS.

For the last decade I've bought my PC's and equipment at a local shop that will
sell me stuff without any OS installed. So I don't have to pay the MS tax for a
box that will only ever run FreeBSD or Linux.

Shopping locally has the added advantage that help is nearby if you have
problems. And my experience is that local shops give better service, because
they want their customers to return.

Roland

---
Intellectual Property is an oxymoron.

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: Tsela on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 04:35 PM EST
"OK, *now* tell me Richard is extreme."

Each time RMS gives an interview, I read it (and in fact, I read that interview
yesterday already). And each time, I'm completely flabbergasted by some of the
comments and answers those interviews get, which quite often treat Stallman as a
dangerous extremist. And each time, I reread the interview, and then wonder:
"what on Earth do they read in there that can be interpretated as
'extreme'?"

I mean, to my European (French living in the Netherlands) point of view, RMS's
point of view is *far* from being extreme. It's a pretty run of the mill
humanistic point of view, restricted to one specific area (but then, it just
means Stallman talks about what he knows, and stays silent about what he
doesn't. That's actually a *quality*). Nothing that qualifies as
"extremist".

Actually, the comments I hear against him often strike me as *very* extremist,
and often misconstructed, like the common accusation that if all software was
Libre, nobody would ever get paid for developing software and people would end
up out of job. Now, I've yet to see one person losing his job due to Free
Software (I only know examples of jobs *created* by Free Software), while it is
common knowledge that Microsoft's actions have caused many companies to go
bankrupt and thus their employees to lose their jobs. Who's causing job loss
then?

You can't even say that RMS is talking about hypothetical events. Free Software
exists, and whatever people say, it is thriving. Most negative replies to his
words use hypothetical situations without giving any example where they actually
happened.

And even if RMS was an extremist, extremism is not the problem (extremes are
needed, if only so that we know where the limits are). The problem is
fundamentalism, that is to say the idea that there is ONE AND ONLY ONE WAY, and
other people should be *obliged* to follow it, through laws and punishments if
necessary. Now, where do you see Stallman say that? He would like all
distributed software (custom solutions are specifically not in question here) to
respect the freedoms of the user. But he doesn't want to *force* anyone to
adhere to his views. He rather wants to *convince* people with his arguments. He
has made things ready so that Free Software can exist (the GPL), but he doesn't
*force* anyone to use it. Contrast that with Microsoft's (and other entities
such as the RIAA) stance on the subject. Yep, Microsoft is definitely
fundamentalistic.

So each time the subject of RMS comes around and I see the reactions of people,
I wonder what kind of skewed worldview they can have to react like that to what
looks to me like pretty reasonable arguments...

Christophe (who is currently reading the documented source code of the METAFONT
program, so please excuse him if some of what he said is poorly worded ;) ).

---
Christophe Grandsire

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: Maserati on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 07:56 PM EST
  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 07:54 AM EST
  • dangerous extremist - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 08:19 PM EST
news.com censored the discussion
Authored by: mjr on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 04:40 PM EST
I find it curious that news.com has apparently removed all reader comments from
the article. I suppose some responses could've been abusive (I didn't read them
all, so I don't know), but cencoring all of the commentary seems a tad... well,
yes, curious. Wonder if somebody approached them and asked for it to be taken
down?

I personally noted how one can hardly call it communism if someone wants the
government not to interfere so much with the free market through eg. (software)
patents and such and commented that Bill, being an intelligent man, must realize
it, and also that unfounded communist rhetoric is a kinda desperate move.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another EULA bit - Get The Facts
Authored by: dcarrera on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 04:44 PM EST

Just to add another bit. This is from the EULA of Windows Server 2003:

"Benchmark Testing. The 32-bit version of the Softwarec ontains the Microsoft .NET Framework. Disclosure of the results of any benchmark test of the .NET Framework component of the Software to any third party without Microsoft's prior written approval is prohibited."

In other words, competitors and the media need to ask Microsoft permission to publish benchmarks. If Microsoft doesn't like the results, they can say "no".

Suppose you want to counter Microsoft's "Get The Facts" campaign with your own benchmarks. Guess what? You're not allowed.

Cheers,
Daniel Carrera.
OpenOffice.org volunteer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sub500.com / Sub300.com
Authored by: dcarrera on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 04:55 PM EST
Next time you (the reader) buy a computer, consider getting it from this
company.

Canada: www.sub500.com
USA : www.sub300.com

Their desktops cost just under $300 USD / $500 CAD (this is the same company
btw) and are all Linux compatible. They can come with Linspire by default, but
are willing to acomodate Mandrake, Fedora, Knoppix, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware,
Xandros, FreeBSD and SuSE. That's a pretty impressive array I think.

Back when they were starting, and they only supported Linspire I gave them a
call to ask about Knoppix. They said that their hardware is very standard, and
should work with anything. They even said that I could come to the store with a
Knoppix CD and just try it out before buying the computer.

When I finish saving for a new computer, I'll surely buy it from these guys.

Cheers,
Daniel Carrera.
OpenOffice.org volunteer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Downloads from God
Authored by: star-dot-h on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 05:11 PM EST
I wouldn't let anyone automatically download anything to my computer except God himself

Well, even God has a bit of a patchy record when it comes to pestilence and plagues and last time I looked his EULA ran into a very large number of books.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why do some folks use XP?
Authored by: tanstaafl on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 05:16 PM EST
I am a programmer and Linux proponent, but the two best machines in my house
belong to my daughter and my wife. Both use WinXP/Crippled ('Home' edition)
with SP2. We all use Mozilla (probably Firefox in the future) for browsing and
email, and the OpenOffice.org office suite for word processing, spreadsheets,
and the like.

The first 'gotcha' I encountered was that our printer cannot be used by anybody
but an administrator. OK, fine, I would set up one of the machines as a print
server. No can do! Devices and folders cannot be shared under WinXP/Crippled
(and who would want to open themselves up that way, anyway?); fork over $200.00
for WinXP/Extortion (Professional). The next thing I ran into was that access
control lists aren't very useful, because there are only two groups: Users and
Administrators. Fine, I would create my own groups by running lusrmgr.msc. No
can do! U can _run_ it, but it informs U that U need WinXP/Extortion to do
anything useful; fork over $200.00.

Why am I punishing myself this way? Well, I'm not wild about it, but both my
wife and daughter are enamored of programs that only run under WinXXX, and it
takes time to find suitable equivalents. Unfortunately, I have to spend lots of
time at work, and along with a 1-hour drive between work and home, I don't get a
lot of quality time with the family, let alone any 'play' time. In addtion, I
barely make enough money to live in my town, so the beater house I own needs
lots of TLC, and _that_ takes _incredibile_ amounts of time for a guy with ten
thumbs and no money.

Believe me, I'm going to look into Linspire (when I get a chance!); perhaps
they'll come up with the equivalents I'm seeking (Family Tree Maker for the
wife, and an image-processing program from Jasc for the daughter), or get them
working with WINE. I'd like to lend a hand with the latter, but time ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

RMS on SCO
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 05:19 PM EST
This is probably a little off topic - but something mentioned here has always
eluded me. I believe I understand "free as in speech" based on my
recollection of a U.S. high school Civics class. What the heck does "free
as in beer" mean? Something along the lines of - I can drink it, give it
away, sell it (I can't actually do that, can I?), open the bottle and put the
beer under a microscope - analyze it and make my own similar beer (I can't
actually do that either, can I?) ... ???

Thanks in advance for the help!

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 05:44 PM EST
  • RMS on SCO - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 07:42 AM EST
PJ's Major Misunderstanding
Authored by: WildCode on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 05:54 PM EST
The GPL is not a guarentee, in the article above PJ lists what the GPL does and
doesn't do, in terms of software usage. This list appears to make guarentees the
GPL doesn't.

Example: "it isn't spyware" ... There is no guarentee of any kind that
GPL software doesn't contain spyware, viruses, or any other code that could
cause harm to my data, computer or others. The GPL even allows me to release
spyware (or worse) under the GPL as it doesn't restrict what type of software it
can be used for. So much so that the GPL specificly doesn't guarentee that your
data or computer will be safe, infact, GPL is a use at your own risk license.

There are moves in the U.S to try to outlaw "Use at your own risk"
licences, and enforce liability on the developer. Whether it happens or not is
another thing, but if it does, this would make the GPL invalid in the U.S
because the GPL contains absolutely no guarentees.

One thing I will give the GPL, is that it is a good license for developers who
have the finacial backing and willingness to enforce it. For the rest it is
basically a vapor license and they may as well release their source code under a
"do what you want" license.

[ Reply to This | # ]

My computer has a life of its own...?
Authored by: sjgibbs on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 06:31 PM EST

"Secure Content ("Secure Content Owners") may request that
Microsoft revoke the DRM Software's right to copy, display and/or play Secure
Content"

My DRM software's rights? How are they distinct from mine? Is there a little man
inside my PC who I have to ask to do things on my behalf? Is this little man's
liability different from mine? Can he say no to me?

Anyway, I bought this computer as a tool for a purpose, if it has its own
identity in the law then I expect it do everything I say and expect nothing from
me in return except power and bi-annual re-installation. In other words, if my
computer is a little man with its own mind, identity and liability then I expect
it to be my slave but slavery is illegal...

I'm no lawyer but, to me, anyway you cut this wording it ends up either illegal
or void.

SJG
Programmer

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: MSWxxx again?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:11 PM EST
Not intending to be trolling, but, PJ, I'm surprised you'd seriously consider
buying a new MSWxxx box. Sure, use the old MSW98 box until it dies, but once
it's clear you need new hardware, why go to the M$ slop trough again?

Fedora Core is still a little rough around the edges, but you have plenty of
friends who will be glad to help you get it set up and running openDoc, fireFox,
et. al. Or you can test Knoppix or Ubuntu (sp?) from a CD on your old MSW98 box,
just to get the feel of it.

As someone mentioned, you can get vmware or something for those odd legal
programs that require MSWxxx.

Or go with a Mac, if you aren't quite ready to get your feet wet with Linux. You
might be surprised how much of what you think you need MSWxxx for is available
now on the Mac.

There is choice now.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Violating Copyright Laws
Authored by: Dashing Leech on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 12:19 AM EST
"I wouldn't dream of accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission, and those who do cause folks like the RIAA to go beserk and Microsoft to come up with EULAs like this. If any of you haven't thought of it that way, I hope you will."

I'll assume you mean illegally accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission. As a journalist, I am sure you've accessed content without permission many times in your quotes from article, books, etc. (Of course, you could be very diligent in getting permission for every quote, but I'm sure you're aware of fair use.)

As far as the second part about the cause of EULAs and RIAA type reaction, there's a lot more to consider than what you've said. For instance:

  • There's been no evidence that any counter-action is necessary by the RIAA, MPAA, or Microsoft. CD sales are up, movies are making more money than ever, and MS software is raking in money hand over fist. If this is the response to copyright violations, it may be wholely unnecessary.
  • In addition to unnecessary, the reactions of the above groups may well be counter-productive. The people mostly inconvenienced by their actions are those who use them legally -- protected CD's that don't play properly, intros to movies at the theatre telling people to stop downloading movies, DRM stopping fair use, complex activation methods, spyware, and suspension of rights through EULAs, etc. This drives people away from these products faster (such as yourself PJ from using XP Home).
  • Did you stop to think that this may be beneficial to us? Given the above points, if you have a beef with the status quo (e.g., RIAA control over music, MS control over your PC usage, MS business tactics) including the laws as they stand, the quickest way to make them collapse is through the violation such as we see. If a critical mass of people violate these copyrights (as they seem to), and the big corps/groups respond with the tactics we see, the general public will end up going to (or looking for) alternatives that much faster. This is an effective approach to make change.
  • There are sometimes valid reasons to break the law, such as civil disobedience. If enough people break a bad law nobody would attempt to prosecute them all. Either the law will be changed or go unenforced.
  • IP laws don't exist as inherent rights (like property) - they exist as a balance of personal incentives with public rights to exploit progress.
  • The reactions of these groups (RIAA, MPAA, MS) are not so much about the (copyright) law as they are about control. For example, P2P file-sharing of copyrighted songs is currently perfectly legal up here in Canada (and some other places). That doesn't mean the RIAA (and the CRIA, the Canadian equivalent) aren't trying to stop it through technology like DRM. It's not the law, or violation thereof, that guides them in their actions; it's the power to control that guides them.

    Just a few things to consider. I think saying the EULAs and content provider reactions are due to the copyright violators oversimplifies the situation, and implies that this is inherently a bad thing.

    Personally I rarely violate copyright law, but when I do I make sure that it isn't at someone else's expense, and I don't feel bad about it. If I can gain without someone else losing anything, then this fits the intent of IP laws to benefit the public. How can anyone thing of this as inherently bad?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

  • Violating Copyright Laws
    Authored by: Dashing Leech on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 12:42 AM EST
    "I wouldn't dream of accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission, and those who do cause folks like the RIAA to go beserk and Microsoft to come up with EULAs like this. If any of you haven't thought of it that way, I hope you will."

    I'll assume you mean illegally accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission. As a journalist, I am sure you've accessed content without permission many times in your quotes from article, books, etc. (Of course, you could be very diligent in getting permission for every quote, but I'm sure you're aware of fair use.)

    As far as the second part about the cause of EULAs and RIAA type reaction, there's a lot more to consider than what you've said. For instance:

  • There's been no evidence that any counter-action is necessary by the RIAA, MPAA, or Microsoft. CD sales are up, movies are making more money than ever, and MS software is raking in money hand over fist. If this is the response to copyright violations, it may be wholely unnecessary.
  • In addition to unnecessary, the reactions of the above groups may well be counter-productive. The people mostly inconvenienced by their actions are those who use them legally -- protected CD's that don't play properly, intros to movies at the theatre telling people to stop downloading movies, DRM stopping fair use, complex activation methods, spyware, and suspension of rights through EULAs, etc. This drives people away from these products faster (such as yourself PJ from using XP Home).
  • Did you stop to think that this may be beneficial to us? Given the above points, if you have a beef with the status quo (e.g., RIAA control over music, MS control over your PC usage, MS business tactics) including the laws as they stand, the quickest way to make them collapse is through the violation such as we see. If a critical mass of people violate these copyrights (as they seem to), and the big corps/groups respond with the tactics we see, the general public will end up going to (or looking for) alternatives that much faster. This is an effective approach to make change.
  • There are sometimes valid reasons to break the law, such as civil disobedience. If enough people break a bad law nobody would attempt to prosecute them all. Either the law will be changed or go unenforced.
  • IP laws don't exist as inherent rights (like property) - they exist as a balance of personal incentives with public rights to exploit progress.
  • The reactions of these groups (RIAA, MPAA, MS) are not so much about the (copyright) law as they are about control. For example, P2P file-sharing of copyrighted songs is currently perfectly legal up here in Canada (and some other places). That doesn't mean the RIAA (and the CRIA, the Canadian equivalent) aren't trying to stop it through technology like DRM. It's not the law, or violation thereof, that guides them in their actions; it's the power to control that guides them.

    Just a few things to consider. I think saying the EULAs and content provider reactions are due to the copyright violators oversimplifies the situation, and implies that this is inherently a bad thing.

    Personally I rarely violate copyright law, but when I do I make sure that it isn't at someone else's expense, and I don't feel bad about it. If I can gain without someone else losing anything, then this fits the intent of IP laws to benefit the public. How can anyone thing of this as inherently bad?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

  • EULA for XP Home
    Authored by: moosie on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 12:48 AM EST
    Draconian is the term that comes to mind...

    - Moosie.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    RMS is still an Extremist.
    Authored by: Parity on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 12:55 AM EST
    I will grant, certainly, that Microsoft is an abusive monopoly and uses its EULA
    in the most horrendous way possible.

    However, I can not, do not, and will not grant that my actions in accepting the
    employment I have are the equivalent of going out on the street, clubbing people
    over the head with a baseball bat, and stealing their wallets.

    While I certainly despise Microsoft's tactics, there are plenty of non-free
    pieces of software I have no problem using every day. Games are obvious, but
    also the software driving my microwave, my car, and VCR. While it might be nice
    to be able to have the source code to these things, I don't feel damaged by not
    having that source code. I don't feel the people that write that code should be
    classed as criminals. When I buy an appliance, I expect it to operate properly,
    without undue risk or harm, and that's it.

    In short, RMS has absolutely no conception of any kind of relative harm, or any
    notion of a practical compromise.

    In all honesty, I feel that for-profit corporations are fundamentally harmful to
    our society. The basic theory, of course, is that the corporation insulates the
    company so that they can take more risks in providing innovative goods and
    services, and if they go broke as a -company- the owners won't end up in
    debtor's prison.

    Well, we don't have debtor's prisons anymore, but the economic harm to the
    company's founders is still a factor. However, corporations use this insulation
    to wreak all manor of havoc. How many times have we discussed the corporate veil
    and how hard it is to pierce? And as long as it was done in the name of profit,
    the veil will remain intact, essentially. And further, corporations being
    'persons' can own property, file lawsuits, make campaign contributions, insist
    on their fundamental rights under the first amendment to lie to us and sell us
    things we don't want to hear about.

    If you ask me, the whole concept of the for-profit corporation is, so to speak,
    bankrupt. We'd be better off al businesses were proprieterships. Hard to prove,
    when they're so integrated in the fabric of our society.

    However, I work for, buy from, and associate with people intimately involved in
    for-profit corporations every day. I don't accuse people working for them of
    being criminals.

    And I take my money, from my evil closed-source software job, and every year,
    contribute a hundreds of dollars to NPR, to the ACLU, to the EFF, to Aids
    research, and so on.

    I've worked 7 days a week as a floor cleaner, before I got my degree, and trust
    me, I had neither the time nor the money to help with or think about freedom,
    while keeping the machinery of the MegaSuperMarket running smoothly (while the
    farms surrounding slowly went under... )

    I don't think I'm doing more harm now then then, and if RMS thinks we can all
    get paid by universities and non-profit foundations to think great thoughts and
    give interviews, he needs a reality check.

    If he thinks working in other industries is automatically 'less harmful' than
    writing free software, he needs a reality check.

    If the thinks even one -tenth- of the jobs in the IT industry are pure free
    software, he needs a reality check.

    In short, RMS needs a reality check.

    None of which, btw, means I don't appreciate what the FSF has achieved, or the
    software that GNU has created. I just think we should recognize that being an
    extermist and a zealot in a good cause is -still- being an extremist and a
    zealot.


    ---

    IANALATINLAIYRLAYSCWAA

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Violating Copyright Laws
    Authored by: Dashing Leech on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 01:12 AM EST
    "I wouldn't dream of accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission, and those who do cause folks like the RIAA to go beserk and Microsoft to come up with EULAs like this. If any of you haven't thought of it that way, I hope you will."

    I'll assume you mean illegally accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission. As a journalist, I am sure you've accessed content without permission many times in your quotes from article, books, etc. (Of course, you could be very diligent in getting permission for every quote, but I'm sure you're aware of fair use.)

    As far as the second part about the cause of EULAs and RIAA type reaction, there's a lot more to consider than what you've said. For instance:

  • There's been no evidence that any counter-action is necessary by the RIAA, MPAA, or Microsoft. CD sales are up, movies are making more money than ever, and MS software is raking in money hand over fist. If this is the response to copyright violations, it may be wholely unnecessary.
  • In addition to unnecessary, the reactions of the above groups may well be counter-productive. The people mostly inconvenienced by their actions are those who use them legally -- protected CD's that don't play properly, intros to movies at the theatre telling people to stop downloading movies, DRM stopping fair use, complex activation methods, spyware, and suspension of rights through EULAs, etc. This drives people away from these products faster (such as yourself PJ from using XP Home).
  • Did you stop to think that this may be beneficial to us? Given the above points, if you have a beef with the status quo (e.g., RIAA control over music, MS control over your PC usage, MS business tactics) including the laws as they stand, the quickest way to make them collapse is through the violation such as we see. If a critical mass of people violate these copyrights (as they seem to), and the big corps/groups respond with the tactics we see, the general public will end up going to (or looking for) alternatives that much faster. This is an effective approach to make change.
  • There are sometimes valid reasons to break the law, such as civil disobedience. If enough people break a bad law nobody would attempt to prosecute them all. Either the law will be changed or go unenforced.
  • IP laws don't exist as inherent rights (like property) - they exist as a balance of personal incentives with public rights to exploit progress.
  • The reactions of these groups (RIAA, MPAA, MS) are not so much about the (copyright) law as they are about control. For example, P2P file-sharing of copyrighted songs is currently perfectly legal up here in Canada (and some other places). That doesn't mean the RIAA (and the CRIA, the Canadian equivalent) aren't trying to stop it through technology like DRM. It's not the law, or violation thereof, that guides them in their actions; it's the power to control that guides them.

    Just a few things to consider. I think saying the EULAs and content provider reactions are due to the copyright violators oversimplifies the situation, and implies that this is inherently a bad thing.

    Personally I rarely violate copyright law, but when I do I make sure that it isn't at someone else's expense, and I don't feel bad about it. If I can gain without someone else losing anything, then this fits the intent of IP laws to benefit the public. How can anyone thing of this as inherently bad?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

  • Spyware removal
    Authored by: groklawdranem on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 07:57 AM EST
    QUOTE " Microsoft, they say, will be selling spyware removal tools soon. There is a beta release already. Now there's a business plan. Create software that is apparently helpless against malware and then sell a malware solution. I suggest we think about defining that term "spyware" a bit more broadly. If, like me, you decide that spyware includes software that comes with terms as outlined by the XP EULA, you may conclude, as I did, that your spyware removal tool of choice is switching to GNU/Linux. And hey, it's totally free. That's free as in speech. And incidentally, beer too."

    The correct way to remove spyware from the PC is to format the hard disk re-install OS with fully licensed Linux

    PS: did you notice that in order to download the BETA from Microsoft you need to Verify that you have a legitimate copy of Windows installed? sorry , Verification RECOMMENDED

    the DRM nightmare has begun, and it was/is as bad as some have suspected

    QUOTE :"Microsoft® Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software.

    Quick Info File Name: MicrosoftAntiSpywareInstall.exe

    Download Size: 6385 KB

    Date Published: 1/7/2005

    Version: Beta Genuine Windows download

    Validation Recommended

    This download is available to customers running genuine Microsoft Windows. Please click Continue to begin Windows validation. "

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    XP Home Edititon
    Authored by: earthforce_1 on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 03:56 PM EST
    I found out another ugly surprise with XP home edition as well. If you have
    multiple home computers on a LAN, you cannot network them.

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    • XP Home Edititon - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 04:32 PM EST
    Violating copyright
    Authored by: Dashing Leech on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 06:39 PM EST
    "I wouldn't dream of accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission, and those who do cause folks like the RIAA to go beserk and Microsoft to come up with EULAs like this. If any of you haven't thought of it that way, I hope you will."

    I'll assume you mean illegally accessing someone's copyrighted content without their permission. As a journalist, I am sure you've accessed content without permission many times in your quotes from article, books, etc. (Of course, you could be very diligent in getting permission for every quote, but I'm sure you're aware of fair use and use it.)

    As far as the second part about the cause of EULAs and RIAA type reaction, there's a lot more to consider than what you've said. For instance:

  • There's been no evidence that any counter-action is necessary by the RIAA, MPAA, or Microsoft. CD sales are up, movies are making more money than ever, and MS software is raking in money. If this is the response to copyright violations, it may be wholely unnecessary. A perceived problem isn't the same thing as a demonstrably real problem.
  • In addition to unnecessary, the reactions of the above groups may well be counter-productive. The people mostly inconvenienced by their actions are those who use them legally -- protected CD's that don't play properly, intros to movies at the theatre telling people to stop downloading movies, DRM stopping fair use, complex activation methods, spyware, suspension of rights through EULAs, etc. This drives people away from these products faster (such as yourself PJ from using XP Home).
  • Did you stop to think that this may be beneficial to us? Given the above points, if you have a beef with the status quo (e.g., RIAA control over music, MS control over your PC usage, MS business tactics) including the laws as they stand, the quickest way to make them collapse is through the violations such as we see. If a critical mass of people violate these copyrights (as they seem to), and the big corps/groups respond with the tactics we see, the general public will end up going to (or looking for) alternatives that much faster. This is an effective approach to make change.
  • There are sometimes valid reasons to break the law, such as civil disobedience. If enough people break a bad law nobody would attempt to prosecute them all. Either the law will be changed or go unenforced.
  • IP laws don't exist as inherent rights (like property) - they exist as a balance of personal incentives with public rights to exploit progress. Many people think they've swung too far to the creator's interests and the public is suffering.
  • The reactions of these groups (RIAA, MPAA, MS) are not so much about the (copyright) law as they are about control. For example, P2P file-sharing of copyrighted songs is currently perfectly legal up here in Canada (and some other places). That doesn't mean the RIAA (and the CRIA, the Canadian equivalent) aren't trying to stop it through technology like DRM. It's not the law, or violation thereof, that drives them in their actions; it's the power to control that drives them.

    These are just a few things to consider. I think saying the EULAs and content provider reactions are due to the copyright violators oversimplifies the situation, and implies that this is inherently a bad thing when there may be some benefit in accelerating change.

    Personally I rarely violate copyright law, but when I do I make sure that it isn't at someone else's expense, and I don't feel bad about it. If I can gain without someone else losing anything, then this fits the intent of IP laws to benefit the public. How can anyone thing of this as inherently bad?

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  • Neo-Communist Jefferson and the Constitution
    Authored by: mjr on Saturday, January 08 2005 @ 08:01 AM EST
    [This is what I just sent to the news.com article's talkback area; I'll add it
    here too in case the arguments are useful to others.]

    What do you know, Thomas Jefferson is a neo-commie too:

    “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive
    property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an
    individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the
    moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the
    receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that
    no one possesses the less, because every other possess the whole of it. He who
    receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine;
    as he who lites his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That
    ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and
    mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been
    peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire,
    expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and
    like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable
    of confinement, or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in-nature,
    be a subject of property. “ - Thomas Jefferson, 1813

    Also, let me quote the US Constitution: "The Congress shall have power ...
    to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited
    Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings
    and Discoveries"

    To promote progress, not to protect something inherently considered as property.
    For a limited time. As a compromise, so that creators have incentive to create.

    Now, as to how much especially software patents promote progress, I'll just
    quote Bill Gates from 1991:

    "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's
    ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a
    complete standstill today."

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    RMS on SCO
    Authored by: roman_mir on Saturday, January 08 2005 @ 12:30 PM EST
    Disclaimer: I started writing software on paper without seing any real computers. The first computers I ever saw where on pictures and in movies. Sometimes I contribute to open source software, most of the time I write custom software and sometimes I write closed source software.

    Richard Stallman: Any development of non-free software is harmful and unfortunate – that’s the most ridiculous statement out of the entire interview. I so don’t care if an application that came with my web-camera is free or not, it’s not even funny. I don’t care about the source to that app and I don’t care about my ability to change it and redistribute it, in fact I don’t want to do any of those things. Leave my non-free software alone it’s not going to go away anyway.

    Richard Stallman: It is better to develop no software than to develop non-free software. – a load of BS. Who in hell would have created computers in the first place, if it wasn’t for IBM and their non-free software and non-free computers used for war? It’s better to develop something than to develop nothing. The users themselves are not interested in development, they are interested in the results of their use of the applications. I am so not interested in developing most of the software I use, but this software does serve its purpose and I am glad I can buy it. If I had to wait for everything to be free, I would have been dead before seeing most free software equivalents of the apps that I use daily.

    So if you find yourself in that situation, please don't follow that path. Please don't write the non-free program--please do something else instead. We can wait till someone else has the chance to develop a free program to do the same job. – Maybe RMS can wait for whatever free software, I can’t. Sure, if it exists now, that’s great, but it’s not the case. Why shouldn’t I use nonfree tax-return software? I will use it and recommend it too.

    JA: What about the programmers... Richard Stallman: What about them? The programmers writing non-free software? They are doing something antisocial. They should get some other job. – I have two words for RMS in this case: Fuck You, RMS. I will write all the non-free software I wish and no-one is going to stop me. I also wrote my first software on paper because I did not have a computer, you are not the only one. You are not to dictate what kind of software I will develop. Why the hell is it about software anyway? How many non-free (sort of like closed source, electronics for example) things you buy, what should everyone stop working on proprietary systems and all of a sudden release everything for ‘Free’? Not while I am around that won’t happen. But I am antisocial like that.

    Richard Stallman: …You know, it's no coincidence that we're having all this outsourcing. That was carefully planned. International treaties were designed to make this happen so that people's wages would be reduced. – That’s also quite questionable. I don’t think the corporations do anything just to annoy their employees, but they do follow a simple pattern of trying to minimize the cost.

    Richard Stallman: FTAA. The World Trade Organization. NAFTA. These treaties are designed to reduce wages by making it easy for a company to say to various countries, "which of you will let us pay people the least? That's were we're headed." And if any country starts having a somewhat increased standard of living, companies say "oh, this is a bad labor climate here. You're not making a good climate for business. All the business is going to go away. You better make sure that people get paid less. You're following a foolish policy arranging for workers of your country to be paid more. You've got to make sure that your workers are the lowest paid anywhere in the world, then we'll come back. Otherwise we're all going to run away and punish you." - This is just paranoia, the guy truly believes in the ‘evil intent’ of corporations and individuals. That is not impossible of course (with me in charge, for example, everything is always an evil intent,) but I don’t believe all companies care enough about such a long term prospect as inflated wages in their specific country. RMS always looks too far into the future and he believes others do too, but people are mostly not philosophers, they are just realists.

    Businesses very often do it, they move operations out of a country to punish that country. And I've recently come to the conclusion that frictionless international trade is inherently a harmful thing, because it makes it too easy for companies to move from one country to another. We have to make that difficult enough that each company can be stuck in some country that can regulate it. – I completely do not share such views. I don’t see why companies need to be regulated more than for mere environment protection. Any regulations for socio-economical reasons are unwelcome by me. Environmental regulations are in a different category.

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    RMS on SCO
    Authored by: lordmhoram on Monday, January 10 2005 @ 05:03 AM EST
    Maybe "XP" stands for "eXtreme Prejudice"

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