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Whistler "Anti-Piracy" Tools Tie OS To Machine

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the please-help-stem-the-tide dept.

Microsoft 547

Dredd13 writes: "According to this Yahoo!News article [note: the same story is also being carried at MSNBC and ZDNet] , anti-piracy features in Whistler "won't allow the use of the customer's product key on a PC different from the one originally activated"... which means that if you have that older computer and decide to try and move your Whistler license (that you buy at a retail outlet like Best Buy or wherever) to your new whiz-bang fast model, you'll be completely boned. The code won't actually activate without authorization from a clearinghouse first. So much, also, for high security installations (where any connectivity, whatsoever, with the outside world is verboten)... without the ability to connect to the clearinghouse to "authenticate" the product key, they too will be unable to use their license. Part of me is happy because this is obviously a Bad Move by MS and will hurt them, but what if other software vendors start to think that this is a Neat Idea? {yuk!}" It's not a new idea, and lots of software is already sold this way -- but this time it seems to have caught a lot of people's attention. Windows' ubiquity, and Microsoft's history of mostly looking the other way when it comes to illegal copying of their OS, may mean that a lot of eyes get bigger, soon.

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Of course, Duh (1)

Tairan (167707) | more than 13 years ago | (#518819)

Don't blame Microsoft. Blame years and years of ha> I'm not saying cheers to MS, I'm saying it doesn't surprise me that they'd do this to prevent some of the rapent software piracy.

Crack (2)

ZiGGyKAoS (86253) | more than 13 years ago | (#518820)

Im sure there will be a crack for this within a few days of its release. If not before..

What is a machine? (4)

mr.nicholas (219881) | more than 13 years ago | (#518821)

Define "same" machine? What if I upgrade the CPU? Would that invalidate the current license? What about upgrading the motherboard? What about flashing the BIOS? Certainly some sort of machine fingerprinting would have to be done for this to work. And if so, what level of fingerprinting?

Two sides; one worrying for Linux (3)

Nemesys (6004) | more than 13 years ago | (#518822)

Tying the OS to a particular machine is a problem for users of that OS ... I need to use Windows occasionally, so it'd be a minor inconvenience for me if I lost my original install CD (assuming one can still get such CDs for Whistler).

Where this becomes dangerous is if the hardware manufacturers start making motherboards which will only run a particular Windows licence. Then Linux and the other free OSes are frozen out completely.

No doubt it will be cracked (1)

iosub (111115) | more than 13 years ago | (#518856)

Expect days after the release of Whistler, a crack for the registration process.

"Always-on" devices... (1)

chhamilton (264664) | more than 13 years ago | (#518857)

Stuff like this really pisses me off, and not only when it's applied to product registration... too many apps are taking for granted that a user is always connected, and they simply don't function, or lose functionality if you are not connected and talking to the appropriate 'authority' (ie: these MS clearing-houses)... also, things like this have the capability to transparently send info about your computer (and anything that may be on it, private or otherwise) without you knowing... just out of sheer curiousity I'd like to see someone implement something similar to tcpdump, but that attempts to track traffic back to it's originating app... it'd be interesting to see what Real Networks, Adobe, and Windows apps are talking about during their frequent call-backs....

Of course you do! (1)

cromano (162540) | more than 13 years ago | (#518858)

Of course you do! Well, at least in the US and several other countries (I wouldn't know if you happened to live in Elbonia)the pre-installed windows has been omnipresent. With your new brand computer (dell, gateway, whatever) you will have no choice but to get a windows CD, even if you did not want it. The only way to get out of it was to build it yourself (as I did), or use no-name shops that will do it for you in a rather under-the-table fashion.

Even these last ones, for a while were threatened (don't know if it actually happened) with a charge from MS for 'lost revenue', who automatically assumed that the shop preintalled windows or gave them a pirate CDR.

This has started, little by little, to change. Linux shops (like, oh, I don't know, VA Linux) don't have to pay the windows tax. Even more recently, some brands starting to 'deduct' $80 or so from the list price if you did not choose to install windows (the tiny Espresso, of which I got one, had this option).

I am the unhappy customer of some five windows licenses, of assorted versions and formats, just because of the computers I've bought for myself and family in the recent years. I did not choose to buy any of them. MS effectively helped themselves to my wallet, plucked out the money and say "thank you, here is your shiny-hologram-protected certificate of authenticity and CD/floppies".

Now it will get interesting, when they single-handedly end the pc upgrade industry.

May you live in interesting times...

I'll go back to lurking now.

If you want to live in a country ruled by religion, move to Iran.

Re:let em do it... (2)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 13 years ago | (#518859)

Let's be realistic about this. Probably less than 1% of computer buyers realize that they have the option of buying a box without paying for a preinstalled OS. Heck, lots of Linux users don't realize they can buy a box without paying for a copy of Windoze that they'll just erase.

This is not going to motivate people to switch away from Windows when they buy a new box, because the new box is going to come with the latest Windoze.

What about people who are thinking of upgrading a preexisting box from Win x to Win x+1? Will they throw up their hands at this and switch to Linux instead? Probably the reason they need to upgrade from Win x is that their favorite game (or other software) requires Win x+1. Unless their game is available for Linux (which it probably isn't), Linux isn't going to work for them.

For most people, it's not Windoze versus Linux, it's Windoze versus MacOS. Sorry, but you can't switch your x86 from Windoze to MacOS.

MS are the masters of forcing people to stay on the upgrade treadmill. This is, unfortunately, a very smart move.

The Assayer [] - free-information book reviews

Re:Old News (3)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#518860)

> > You will just have to call MS and explain why you are doing so (basically they will be able to relicense the copy).
> will it be a 900 number? or will i be put on hold for three hours?

Yes. To both of your questions.

This already happens with OEMs Win98 cds (1)

Sits (117492) | more than 13 years ago | (#518861)

I bought my shinny new computer last August from Simply [] . With it they shipped their own Windows 98 "Recovery CD". What this basically did was start a menu from a bootable cd and a slightly customised version of the Windows cab files to the hard drive and install from there.

To cut a long story short I had a lot of grief and used the CD to reinstall Windows a few times successfully. Then I decided that I wanted to install Linux and repartitioned my hard drive. I also slapped on BIOS update.

After I fdisked the drive clean from Linux I made the Windows partition with DOS fdisk. I ran the installation cd and it said that it could not be installed on my computer. I couldn't get at the cabs because they had been compressed into a propreity format single file on the cd. I borrowed a friend's "real" Windows 98 cd and lo it installed fine.

This is a real nuisance and Simply (hello) haven't gotten back to me about a replacement cd that installs properly. The thing is I'm not even sure what stops the installtion cd from installing on my computer anyway...

Re:divx (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 13 years ago | (#518862)

D I V I X == Failed Circuit City DVD format D I V X == CodeC
If you're going to "correct" people, at least make sure you get it right yourself:

  • DIVX -- Circuit City's failed DVD-like system
  • DivX ;-) -- hacked MS MPEG-4 codec (or at least this is how it started) to turn movies into m0v13z (the smiley is part of the name)

Re:bad (2)

rkent (73434) | more than 13 years ago | (#518863)

sure, my copy of win2k is not exactly legal, but i have piles of software that IS legal...

See, this is what I find interesting. Probably some of that other legal software is MS, too, right? Or do you prefer lower-priced alternatives? I, for one, am still using an academic copy of WordPerfect 8 I got when I was an undergrad.

And it made me think. I wouldn't mind upgrading to the newer MSOffice stuff, especially since it would make it easier for me to interact w/ people at work that way. But there's just no WAY i'm going to pay $299 or whatever it is for that relatively minor convenience. $60, maybe. $40, more likely. $30, almost certainly.

See, MS software is aimed at businesses. But we're not all businesses. So why don't they have a pricing scheme for the Rest Of Us? It's like some seats on airplanes are first class, and some are coach. And moreover, if 3 or 4 of the coach seats don't sell for full price, American (or whoever) essentially auctions them off to standby customers because, hey, a seat filled for half price is better than an empty seat.

And I guess I just don't understand why MS won't do the same thing. They're trying to make everyone fly first class, but we just can't (or won't) afford it. It seems like it would be to their advantage to develop a much more stratified pricing structure, perhaps based on differences in customer support and application features, so they could fill those coach seats.

Re:What is a machine? (3)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#518864)

Currently, when you purchase a name-brand PC (Compaq, HP, Dell, etc..) this technology is already in use. You will receive a "Restore CD" instead of a Windows install CD. In addition to installing a bunch of garbage and AOL software, these Restore CD's are hardware specific. For example, If I were to purchase a HP that has Windows ME and later, I were to purchase another PC with Windows 98 on it, I could not use the Windows ME "Restore Disc" to on the other machine. Manufacturers built a little bit of room to install upgrades. For instance, I could upgrade the processor or the RAM and the software should recognize that I'm still using the same machine with a few modifications and allow me to proceed.

Re:Same old, same old (1)

skt (248449) | more than 13 years ago | (#518865)

You're correct in saying that the comparison between the M$ copy protection and the Q3A copy protection is not accurate, but I have to add that you have a major problem if the master server goes down for any reason in a game like Q3A. When the master server goes down, clients can no longer authenticate, so they can not join ANY games, anywhere. Granted the master server doesn't go down often, but it has happened to me a couple of times. I only play quake3 a few times a month also...

Re:Privacy problem (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 13 years ago | (#518866)

So now Microsoft will have the ultimate hostid->user data base. Say the feds get hold of a compiled program of MSword document with a Windows ID tag. All they need to do is make a little call to Redmond and they get the address of the person who registered that copy of windows.

Code and documents can now be traced to their source.

Unless of course you lie to Microsoft when registering the computer. Make a good record of the lie so that you can repeat it when moving the software.

I wonder if Microsoft will commercialize document tracing. For $10 find out who really wrote that code/document.

Re:What is a machine? (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#518867)

By a stroke of luck i happen to be involved with the company thats supplying the fingerprinting code for microsoft.

I too had the same questions, its been tried before a few times and its not been so great, either the id, mac address etc (lemmings was an example)..

This ones based on lots of different things and has redundancy built into it, so if you change a number of components the machine will still be valid. Obviously there is a limit to the number of parts you can change before it becomes a new machine, and then you ought to have almost enough bits to make two of them.

There is a large number of unique ID's in PC's these days, that can all be read.

Typically you can transfer a nodelocked license, but its usually tough to do, and the reason for that is surely obvious to everyone with a modicum of common sense.

Also there is currently a large bounty being offered to anyone who can crack the encryption algorithm being used with it. Unfortunately its only open to the closed set of developers working with the product, at least currently.

I don't know why anyones suprised by this, all software developers have a right to protect their work, first it was CDs, then serial numbers etc. all of them are cracked and copied heavily, its only to be expected that someone will come up with an extremely difficult to crack algorithm.

Especially since it looks like a depression is coming along, that will reduce software sales and increase piracy ( as it has done before ).

Whistler is also going to be a professional OS and not really meant for the home user. Generally most businesses do not upgrade individual PC's significantly, perhaps more ram, or a bigger HD but thats usually it, so a fingerprint with a large amount of redundancy will still be ok.

Re:bad (2)

GC (19160) | more than 13 years ago | (#518868)

Heh... I had a burning desire to play an old DOS game recently (Elite: First Encounters) problem was, I didn't have the floppies, nor the game anymore. (Yes I did buy both DOS and the game previously)

I had a look around on the Internet and not only did I find three Image files containing the disks to MS-DOS6.22, but I also found the three disks for the game (and the patch that was later released)...

It just goes to show.

As for this "feature" in Whistler. I doubt it will apply to the OEM packaged version, more likely just the retail version.

Mabye I am just paranoid... (1)

Phunction (229908) | more than 13 years ago | (#518869)

but I seem to remember something about the pentium3 serial #'s, how convenient. MS to AMD: Sorry, our OS only recognizes the Pentium serial #, no, you can't sue us for being a monopoly, that has already happened. What an interesting conspiracy!

If it's tied to the MAC address (1)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 13 years ago | (#518870)

Put the same NIC in all of your boxes while you install. Then remove that NIC as soon as you're in the clear. Done. Problem solved. Next?

Ok, this is officially scary (2)

edremy (36408) | more than 13 years ago | (#518871)

Hey VAXGeek, just who are you? I swear I didn't see your post first, and it's damn scary that we think that much alike.

In fact the more I think about it, I'd better head for the hills right now. *Shudder* :^)


OEMs already preparing for it (2)

banky (9941) | more than 13 years ago | (#518872)

My GF's computer, a brand new Dell laptop, had the serial # on the case. My company recently bought a bunch of used IBM machines, which had the serial number on the case. I've seen recent vintage Gateways and Compaqs with the serial number... seems to me that they at least are getting customers ready for it.

Give Microsoft Some Credit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#518873)

So much, also, for high security installations (where any connectivity, whatsoever, with the outside world is verboten)... without the ability to connect to the clearinghouse to "authenticate" the product key, they too will be unable to use their license.

I imagine that this piracy measure is intended to prevent the massive copying of Microsoft's home operating systems. The business versions (Professional, Server, etc) of Whistler will most definitely have a workaround for high security installations. Remember - in most business environments, installations are conducted over a network. There will have to be a workaround.

If you have a problem with this type of anti-piracy solution, then prepare to abandon all Microsoft products. I would not be surprised to see this type of protection implemented in all .NET products.

As some users have posted - I am also interested in how this technology works... And I'm sure a crack will be available prior to the official release.

On another note, I'm prepared to be modded with a -96. Slashdot is supposed to be a community of open-minded individuals - then why can't most of the users open their minds to the fact that Microsoft does occasionally make some excellent software and the fact that they're one of the most innovative companies in the industry.

I'm shocked! (1)

boinger (4618) | more than 13 years ago | (#518874)

You mean Do Not Make Illegal Copies of This Disk isn't working!?!?

Good (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 13 years ago | (#518875)

I can't wait to catch first 'registration' traffic on the network, and update rules on firewalls.

"What do you mean you only can't reach Whistler registration site, and other sites are fine?"

Damn, can't wait for that...

I can't see............. (1)

canning (228134) | more than 13 years ago | (#518876)

this hurting Gates at all. He has such a big piece of the market that other manufacturers are presured to do the same thing with their software and hardware as he does.

I do give him credit, one for being so rich and two for his total domination of the sheeple. I mean, what so they care about not being able to install another PC with the operating system. They are just happy that the nice people a the 'computer store' did it for them. If they can play solitare on this PC every Sunday for the next tens years, they're happy.

The best solution for me is to continue to use the free stuff.

Re:I'm on the Whistler beta ... (2)

/dev/kev (9760) | more than 13 years ago | (#518877)

But the system is going to be non-invasive, and all of the arguments we're having have already been had within MS.

While that may be so, the motives of the arguers here and those at MS are almost certainly quite different. It's rare for MS to care about the same things as its customers.

Actually this is more of an anti-privacy measure. (1)

4/3PI*R^3 (102276) | more than 13 years ago | (#518878)

Imagine it, if you register through direct dial-up the caller-id packets will flow to the clearinghouse and your name and number can be cross referenced in a database to get your address this can then be used as a key to other databases (lather, rinse, repeat). If you register through the internet, the process of registering itself can place a cookie on your machine that now M$ can sell web-bugs to assist web sites in personally identifying each user. (this will be marketed to consumers as "for their protection" -- Picture B.G. in a fuzzy blue sweater sitting on a stool changing from his Doc Martins into his tennis shoes saying "remember the internet is full of _bad people_ and M$ is simply looking out for your safety in my network neighborhood" -- Ohhhhhh Thank-you Mr. Gates)

In every physical product you can simply toss thos demographic collection^h^h^h^h^h^h... warranty registration cards away and still use the product, completely anonymous to the manufacturer. However, with mandatory electronic authentication anonymity will be gone. Even if you try to block your caller-id packets with *67, 1-800 numbers still get your data. Even if you fill in bogus personal information (which I forsee M$ will interpret as fraud and thus a crime) they at least have your IP address and date and time of your connection which can easily be cross-referenced with your ISP (one litte subpoena is all it takes).

Now imagine Windows Update. Delete that cookie from your hard drive and you must re-authenticate or "NO SECURITY PATCH FOR YOU."

What was that word that judge used to describe Bill Gates? Ahhhhh yessssss NAPOLEANIC!!!!!

Umm...why couldn't you... (1)

S1mon_Jester (223331) | more than 13 years ago | (#518879)

put the new engine in the old truck? (need new motor mounts...we can do that.)

I's supposed to sarcasm and humor and all. But...

"Bring a proof to class tomorrow. Analogy is always suspect, but that one is close to the truth." _STARSHIP_TROOPERS_

Re:Old News (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 13 years ago | (#518880)

It will be a 1-900 number where you'll get put on hold for 3h. Especially if you call from overseas.

Re:Nothing new (1)

indiigo (121714) | more than 13 years ago | (#518881)

ah, Autocad 2000 can use the same activation code on multiple machines, over and over again... Architecture firms are pretty bad about copying this software, as it's very very expensive...

Re:I'm on the Whistler beta ... (4)

dvd_maximus (207956) | more than 13 years ago | (#518886)

.... Micrsoft has specifically told us not to get our panties in a bunch ... most of the internet reports are WRONG (including mine above) in some form or another ... no one has it right yet, and not to believe them. We'll have more info closer to Beta 2. But the system is going to be non-invasive, and all of the arguments we're having have already been had within MS.

Well that's a relief. I'll stop worrying about it then.

Re:conventional logic aside (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 13 years ago | (#518887)

does this change anything?

I don't think so. It just continues the current decay of the MS empire. Each desperate move like this further degrades their public good will.

Re:bad (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#518889)

MS' consumer pricing model;

get an unbreakable lock on the business market, let the consumers migrate to Linux if they want. Who cares about those cheap ass bastards anyway?

Re:This is not new... (1)

LordofWinterfell (90845) | more than 13 years ago | (#518891)

This would be_easy_ for M$ to implement, as they already have it on their newest versions of Office 2000. User/Serial gets transmitted to the clearinghouse and ties it to the machine...reuse of the "confirmation" number results in a 30-use window to get a new version/confirmation.

Re:This is bad! (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#518896)

Your comparison is way off. You're talking about interoperability of products that are over 50 years apart in age, whereas the above poster was talking about two products made a couple years apart. All he was looking for was a simple driver to get his joystick to work under (presumably) Win95 instead of having to upgrade to Win98.

Your truck comparison would only work if the poster owned something like ENIAC and he was trying to get his MS Joystick to work with it.

conventional logic aside (2)

kootch (81702) | more than 13 years ago | (#519005)

does this change anything?

they keep on coming up with new ideas to shaft us, and millions of people across the globe keep buying their software, their updates, and hardware with their stuff pre-installed.

of course, somehow, somewhere, someone will come up with a random number generator that gets a new and valid serial number

next they'll have us sign our validation key with some biometric information so that you'll need a license per user per cpu and that each biometrically different user will have their own licenses.

i can't wait for the future.

divx (1)

conraduno (91482) | more than 13 years ago | (#519007)

sounds kind of like divx to me. Not the codec, the dvd format idea. Considering that failed quite miserably (and it was being pushed by some big industry players), I'm sure this will eventually go as well. Like with the PIII's uid per chip and all of these other "anti piracy" / whatever features, this one will be introduced, labeled extreme, and then probably dropped. Even MS cant get away with something like this.

That would be a bad thing (1)

UpeoWaMacho (201169) | more than 13 years ago | (#519011)

If MS did something like this, it would be horrible

I'm not defending microsoft, but look at history

Telephone service used to be phenominal. It rocked. Now you have crappy companies like Verizon and such that offer have rate service for more money.

That is becaus Ma Bell died.

If microsoft follows the same path, is it not concivable that software will go down the tube after it?

And if it does, then where will we be?

A lot of good software is good because everyone knows micorsoft makes shit products. So everyone else gets the bugs out first.

BUt if microsoft is gone, and people have no other choices, whats to stop companies from making shity products cause its cheeper?

Thats my 2 cents

Same old, same old (1)

scoofy12 (301238) | more than 13 years ago | (#519014)

Anyone who plays quake or half-life on the internet has heard of this (and likely had problems with the servers, too)... but an operating system? Sure, i see whats going on here... when you install, suppose whistler finds that you dont have an internet connection. well, no problem there, lets launch the ICW and offer to hook you up with MSN!!

This is not new... (2)

sheckard (91376) | more than 13 years ago | (#519018)

Companies such as Autodesk have been going after used sales of AutoCad for awhile now, and some license agreements do not let you resell it. And even if you do resell it, the software would probably not be complete, i.e. with support and all.

Unfortunately this is a trend in software that is gaining momentum. That's why I love open source software!

What's the point? (1)

starman97 (29863) | more than 13 years ago | (#519021)

It'll be cracked before the CD's hit the retail shelves. MS is the biggest Cracker target of them all. Glory goes the the first crack..

IF MS responds by making the OS only work on Internet connected systems, it'll be a consumer fiasco to rival DivX. Legitimate users wont stand for it. Business wont go for unsecured links for a $100 OS, they'll keep the old one or switch.

Go for it Microsoft, drag the rusty blade of copy-protection across your throat..
We're waiting...

let em do it... (1)

DESADE (104626) | more than 13 years ago | (#519024)

The tide is already turning against MS. This is one more reason for people to look for alternatives. There are enough paranoid people out there who will see this as motivation to switch to another OS.

Damn. (1)

Enahs (1606) | more than 13 years ago | (#519028)

I was hopeful that Gates stepping down and handing the torch to Ballmer would see less news like this...seems the typical Gates paranoia lives on. :-/

Kinda makes me glad I'm not 100% dependent on Microsoft technology.

Re: Authentication (2)

Skunkworks (94311) | more than 13 years ago | (#519030)

It was noted on another website that I saw the news on that they will have a version for corporations/etc that won't require this (or gets around it another way) for their installations (site licensed). Hatch

Old News (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 13 years ago | (#519050)

This has actually been talked about for a while, and IIRCC there will be a way t transfer the license between machines. You will just have to call MS and explain why you are doing so (basically they will be able to relicense the copy). Individual copies of Microsoft software are also license for install on up to two machines (one is supposed to be a laptop, but as of now ther is no way to check). It is a PITA, but not as horrible as it sounds. I will try to dig up the old story I read that gives all this info.

come on (2)

Phexro (9814) | more than 13 years ago | (#519054)

it's not like this is going to prevent piracy. the cracking groups love a challenge, and will have copies distributed around the world.

funny part is, i'll bet their cracked version is out before msft can get the real thing on the shelves.

MS Doesn't Really Care... (1)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#519057)

I do some of the tech support for the ISP side of the company I work for. Had a lady call up with Win 95 and didn't have DUN installed, nor did she have the CD. Told her to find somebody that had a copy she could "borrow". She ended up calling Microsoft and asking if they had an extra. The person at MS that she talked to, told her to ask her friends for a copy.

They do this already (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#519058)

for product like ArcServ. There is a way around not having an internet connection, but it does require a phone call. I'm sure there's a way to re-install if you switch computers, it's just going to be a huge pain in the ass

What about people (1)

wunderhorn1 (114559) | more than 13 years ago | (#519062)

who don't have access to the internet?

Sure, the internet is a big deal these days, but I refuse to submit to the idea that a PC [running Windows...] can't function without it!

-the wunderhorn

bad (3)

gtx (204552) | more than 13 years ago | (#519070)

although i can understand where they're coming from...(i don't know anybody in real life who actually owns their copy of windows, nor do i know anybody who owned a copy of win 3.11 or even dos for that matter, they just seemed to "appear" on burnt cdr's or piles of floppies)

it just seems that microsoft has so much more to gain by giving their OS away free, even if they do it unofficially (by looking the other way when it comes to piracy). sure, my copy of win2k is not exactly legal, but i have piles of software that IS legal, and alot of windows only hardware made by manufacturers who had to pay for that nice little "designed for windows" emblem on the boxes. microsoft does get alot of money from me, just not directly. now if i'm forced to pay for windows (especially with so many rules involving use and non-transferability) in the future, that NTFS partition on my hard drive is going to go away.

i was going to say something about giving the razors away and making money on the blades, but i forgot how it went :)

Don't worry... (2)

JMan1 (200342) | more than 13 years ago | (#519074)

I'm sure you'll still be able to use their universal key. The one that's all 0s with one 1. I don't remember offhand, but it has the form of 00000-01000-0000-000 something like that. Oops, did they not want that to get out?

Great !! (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#519079)

First there'll be a crack as soon as the serial # checking system is integrated in a beta version...

As for those who don't want/don't know cracks, well, they'll just switch to Linux.

I think MS is doing a big mistake, as piracy is actually what makes them so successful : people use warezed MS copies at home, and when they get to work ask their company the same software they already know, and the company buys it instead of forcing its own (cheaper) solution. If MS want to kill it's massive long-term market force just for the sake of selling a few 1000s in 2001, then let it be !

This is bad! (2)

be-fan (61476) | more than 13 years ago | (#519082)

I pirate MS OSs. I have no qualms about it. They charge obscene prices for crappy products, and pull non-compatibility tricks to force you to upgrade. For example, when I bought my $90 MS joystick (say what you will, they make *good* joysticks) I had to get a copy of Win98 to use it. If they wouldn't pull stunts like this, they'd have much less piracy. Well, somebody will figure out a crack, so all hope isn't lost ;)

Scary, but inevitable. (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 13 years ago | (#519085)

Scary, but inevitable. Sure, I too use Linux for that reason, but you can't run you rentire life on open source. There is no escaping this trend to screw the customer for the vendor's convenience. Rehgionalised DVDs, non-copyable future MP3's, possible hard disk copy prevention, 'upgrade-only versions': this is just another logical step.

(One thing many here forget is that this trend is a UNIX trend. PC's gave up copy-protection., dongels, and the like a dozen years ago, but UNIX apps and tools are always like this. The UNIX world has always accepted this stuff without questions. License keys tied to the CPU are a UNIX idea, and has been normal there for years.)

The idea of copy prevention failed on PCs because consumers were clever enough to protest and to copy, come ahat may. Also, vendors saw it was in their interest. I have a feeling that this trend has ended: Blind greed seems to be the order of the day. Add to this that today's consumers will not be quite that clever or assertive. Looks grim.


Remember what Made Microsoft... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#519087)

Time was when DOS was effectively free and the only other PC OSes were either around $100 (OS/2) or over $1000 (SCO Xenix/UNIX.) I forget what DR DOS costed but DOS was still pretty much free. That made Microsoft. Now that they're too big to be ignored, DOS isn't free any more. Imagine that. But don't worry, when Linux gets big, you'll still be able to get it for free.

Frankly I'm happy to see Microsoft do this. It's just one more step toward their inevitable demise.

Re:Of course, Duh (1)

Tairan (167707) | more than 13 years ago | (#519088)

gr, Stupid l337speak and > and greaterthansigninterpretedasHTML.. Now, what I was saying..I dont blame Microsoft. Blame years and years of haxors and w4rez people having releases of software before MS Developers did. The software was available for free, downloadable off the web, thanks to ISOs, before it was in stores. Thank the hundreds of thousands of people with illegal copies of Office, Windows, Visual Developer, etc. I'm not surprised, and you shouldn't be either.

I'm not saying cheers to MS, I'm saying it doesn't surprise me that they'd do this to prevent some of the rapent software piracy. I do wonder what they will do next though.

Good potential for gathering demographics (1)

gwyrdd benyw (233417) | more than 13 years ago | (#519090)

I'm sure the software companies would love to get their hands on the demographics information that comes out of this "hardware registration". Oh, you don't have the newest video accelerator? Time for targetted email/snail mail marketing from vendors. Don't have a spreadsheet yet? Time for MSOffice spam...

But why even bother upgrading? (1)

X-Dopple (213116) | more than 13 years ago | (#519103)

The past three releases of the Win32 kernel have shown minimal changes. Many people are still using Windows 95, because it's small, it's fast, and it offers the best compatibility between Windows and MS-DOS.

Three years later, Microsoft comes out with Windows 98 and what do we see? Bloatware, because Microsoft's Wonderful Little Browser (tm) is integrated into Windows. No updates to any of the standard utilities (Notepad, WordPad, Calculator, Solitaire, Minesweeper), but just a prettier LOGOS.SYS.

And now Windows Millenium Edition is here. What does it do?

It does a wonderful job of hiding DOS (thanks for the limited functionality), it comes with a nifty free System Restore utility, startup times are slightly faster, a new LOGOS.SYS, ISDN configuration wizard, Checkers on the Internet, a redesigned troubleshooter, and Internet Explorer 5 clings to it like a bloodthirsty leech. Are there any stability fixes? Maybe (I had Windows running for a week without crashing), but it's lost amongst Microsoft PR.

And now with these screenshots of Whistler, I sure as hell won't be treated like an idiot by Microsoft's Friendly "Oh, Look at those Pretty Icons!" interface.

What does everyone else think?

Someone better call FedEx... (2)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 13 years ago | (#519107)

...'cause this is a serious logistics problem.

Who/what is this 'clearinghouse'? If this is a centralized server just on a LAN or something (SMS or something) then someone will be able to crack that I'm sure.

However, if this is some company that will account for licensing on an installation-performed basis, then this company has one serious DDOS attack on the horizon.


And this suprizes who? (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 13 years ago | (#519112)

Obviously, this type of copy protection can be used as lease license protection required to enable .NET software leasing. After all, why sell the computer software with pirating being a possibility? You can make people pay to use it, without actually owning anything!

Is this why they don't really care about the hard drive access controls that have been described on /. lately?

at last...(maybe) (1)

lyapunov (241045) | more than 13 years ago | (#519116)

All empires have pretty much brought their downfall upon themselves. I think that this will be the start of the demise of microsoft. I can just imagine Bill Gate in an Indecent Proposal like scene masturbating with 50 billion dollars and convincing himself what a good idea this is.

Of course, Mr. Bill is relying heavily on the fact that most of the people that own computers are inherintly lazy and don't want to really have to learn anything to run them. The power of the laziness of the masses to drive development should never be under estimated.

It is too bad though, I honestly think that this would be the end of the reign of Mr. Bill if it wasn't for the laziness factor.

you have to wonder.. (1)

xkevin (150491) | more than 13 years ago | (#519121)

you have to wonder.. a LOT of eyes see this type of stuff before it leaves redmond. why does this seem like a good idea?

windows has never been very interested in appealing to older hardware. the way it stands now, if the OS runs poorly and people decide to upgrade to a new compaq packaged machine then they'll sell another windows license,, therefore they have a pretty good chance at selling more than one license to the same person.

this new plan seems like an almost offensive way to snub their noses at this unspoken reality by just coming out and *making* everyone buy multiple licenses!

between this and the .NET subscriber version of MSWord.. microsoft profits must be seriously falling off.

( note to adobe: please please write linux versions of your products so i can leave windows behind forever. )

Nothing new (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#519125)

Autodesk has done this with AutoCad for at least a couple years now, that I know of, could be longer. Every time you install it on a new machine, you actually have to call them to get an activation code.

It should be ok if MS decides to release it like that. It probably won't take too long to crack the security. It probably has a buffer overflow bug in it like every routine in all their software. Just type in a code of 257 characters.

Re:Old News (1)

bludstone (103539) | more than 13 years ago | (#519130)

>You will just have to call MS and explain why you are doing so (basically they will be able to relicense the copy).

will it be a 900 number? or will i be put on hold for three hours?

check the changes (1)

sik puppy (136743) | more than 13 years ago | (#519146)

I have been working with the Whistler Adv Server Beta 1 for about a month or so. It has no such security checks. It seems to me that there will be a huge market for cracks to this - while I won't do it myself for what should be obvious reasons, since this product is already floating around the warez world, it should be pretty straight forward to compare the install files of beta one and the release version to decypher and break the new protection. This is going to be a VERY unpopular "feature", and hopefully there will be sufficient backlash from consumers to kill it.

Ironically it is the consumer version that they are most worried about - most users of server/adv server/etc will be licensed, its the personal, and to some extent professional versions that are the most pirated. (is pirating a pirate piracy?)

At least its stable - win 2k gives me far more trouble than whistler does, and runs much faster.

On that note i think i'll leave before the flames burn me (hey my p133/red hat 6.2 is still faster than windows on a machine 4x "faster")

Re:Same old, same old (1)

cymen (8178) | more than 13 years ago | (#519149)

That isn't the same thing at all. I have Half-Life installed on two computers here with the same CD key without any problems. They do authenticate the key through so both can be playing Counter-Strike at the same time (least in theory, in reality seems to be pretty crappy).

The MS thing isn't exactly clear but it sounds much more like it runs an algorithm on your hardware install (say chipset + cpu + something?) and only allows an install on that. Sounds bone headed to me and I'm sure CPU isn't included in that nor video card...

I'm on the Whistler beta ... (5)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 13 years ago | (#519150)

It's getting blown WAY out of proportion. No one except folks at Microsoft knows how it works, and it was quite quickly removed from the 2410 build.

Reportedly, it's going to work like this. (I don't know for sure ... I've never seen it, and I haven't installed this build.) The MAC address of your NIC is trasmitted with your PID when you register. That's ALL. If you try to install the software with the same PID on another machine, and the MAC address doesn't match up, you're denied. If you have built a new machine, and need to install it, you've have a toll-free number to call where you can re-activate the PID. This same number can be used to register the PID if you don't have a modem line.

Now, in the Beta newsgroup, Micrsoft has specifically told us not to get our panties in a bunch ... most of the internet reports are WRONG (including mine above) in some form or another ... no one has it right yet, and not to believe them. We'll have more info closer to Beta 2. But the system is going to be non-invasive, and all of the arguments we're having have already been had within MS. Personally, while I don't LIKE the idea, I understand why it's being done. They've let casual copying go WAY too long, and many small companies are not license compliant. Mine just bought over $100K in licenses that we owed through several buyouts. It's easy to fall out of compliance ... this should stop that.

Let's give M$ better options! (1)

no_such_user (196771) | more than 13 years ago | (#519152)

I hate to say this, but Microsoft does have a legitimate right to want to protect their software from piracy. Of course, there IS a better way to do this than registration.

Require a smart-card reader (perhaps a cheap USB one included free with purchase the OS - if USB mice can be $7, so can smart-card readers!), with the license to the software contained on a smart-card. NOT the user's identity, or any other info - ONLY the software license.

Re:What is a machine? (2)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 13 years ago | (#519157)

Wolfram did this with Mathematica, IIRC. You had to send in a new mathId to get a new serial number (or whatever they called them) every time you'd muck with your machine. I don't run Mathematica anymore.

Given that windows feels a need to reinstall the drivers for my network card when I just move it to a different slot (in the same machine), I wonder how effective their machine identification will be...

Expiry (1)

Stskeeps (161864) | more than 13 years ago | (#519160)

And let me guess, your license on let's say, Whistler, or Solitaire runs out after 2 years? That's bye bye abandonware?. This may be a good thing for people who want to protect their copyright, but really, this is too much, don't you think?

Re:Two sides; one worrying for Linux (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 13 years ago | (#519161)

MS makes a fortune on software upgrades... Of course you'll still be able to buy upgrade versions of the OS at retail and mailorder outlets.

Excludes a lot of people (3)

MostlyHarmless (75501) | more than 13 years ago | (#519176)

Not everyone has Internet access, you know. And out of those that do, many of them pay by the minute or hour for their calls, adding to the price of the (already expensive) software.

This is even more troubling for Pissler than for Visual Studio.NET and Office, since the machine is so dependent on the operating system. What happens if the customer has a strange network setup that Windows can't detect on install? Is he still allowed to use Control Panel and the like before activating the software? Or is the user stuck with a dead operating system until he can mail in a form? (allow several weeks for processing and delivery)

Privacy problem (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 13 years ago | (#519179)

Even more than the licenseing issue this is a privacy problem.

Microsoft is able to tie the software license key to a real person who talks to them and has to enter some "relevant data". You can bet this is not going to be just machine information but also WHO with your address and possibly phone number.

So now microsoft is going to know exactly who is behind the MSFT key XYZ when you connect to and

Whistler and the Internet (1)

yAm (15181) | more than 13 years ago | (#519182)

> So much, also, for high security installations (where any connectivity, whatsoever, with the outside world is verboten)...

This is the only way I'd use something like Whistler (named after the sound of crackers blowing through a 1000 security holes). I mean, do you *really* wanna put it out where the the things that go bump in the night live? Chris

Re:What is a machine? (1)

hoss_33 (10488) | more than 13 years ago | (#519187)

On SGI and other UNIX systems software was licensed to the MAC address for years. Maybe they will do something like this.
But what with all the modem home users without an Ethernet adapter?
They could force 100MBit Ethernet into the next standard PC specifications.

Bottom line booster? (1)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 13 years ago | (#519189)

Okay so let me get this straight:

1) I can't buy a volume license for Windows 95.

2) I can't get a CD of the OS I paid for from an OEM.

3) I can't get my money back from an OEM for the OS I paid for.

4) I can't buy a 'naked' PC from MS approved OEM's (not yet - they are just recommending it - to avoid 'liability')

Take the above and add.

5) I can't access a copy prevented HD with Linux (violation of DCMA).

6) I can't complain about any of this (violation of UCITA).

Check and Mate to Mr. Bill Gates :(

The frog is getting warm people, WAKE THE F*CK UP!!!


Mark my words (2)

brogdon (65526) | more than 13 years ago | (#519190)

Don't dismiss anything MS does as an instant "bad idea". If MS decides to change their licensing scheme to include this protection against privacy, it's not some seat-of-the-pants decision. It's because they've studied the situation and how to act upon it and feel they can effectively make more money this way.

Sure they're evil, but they're good at it.


Happened in .au already. (1)

Foddrick (13702) | more than 13 years ago | (#519192)

Here in Australia, this happens already with Office 2K (or at least the one bought off the shelf :) ). If you don't have a net connection, then you get to ring up the nice Microsoft rep. Office invents this huge string and the rep gives you the response to it. Luckily the MSDN version of Office isn't crippled in this way. Perhaps the same will hold true for Whistler ?

wait a sec... (1)

Xeo2 (301694) | more than 13 years ago | (#519215)

what about installations on systems w/o a net connection? would it just check every day or something? Microsoft, more ways to make your life difficult Can you say "Bloatware" children?

Re:This is bad! (3)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 13 years ago | (#519216)

I steal trucks made by Ford. I have no qualms about it. They charge obscene prices for low quality trucks, and constantly change the workings of the engines. For example, when I wanted to have a new (1998) engine put into my old '46 Ford, I couldn't. I had to get a new Ford Explorer to have a new fuel injected engine. If they wouldn't pull stunts like this, there'd be much less truck stealing. Well, someone will figure out an easy way to steal trucks, so all hope isn't lost.
a funny comment: 1 karma
an insightful comment: 1 karma
a good old-fashioned flame: priceless

just like ms office (1)

wtmcgee (113309) | more than 13 years ago | (#519219)

this isnt really as bad as it sounds. from what i have read and been told, basically you will install the software, then have approximately 30 days to authenticate your software. you don't have to do it online either, you can call their customer service dept and they will authenticate your software by giving you some sort of unlocking code. while this is a hassle, especially to someone deploying hundreds of Whistler workstations, maybe it will finally cut down on pirated MS software. (besides, you know that cracked warez versions will be made very soon after they RTM the final build...)

Never happen... (1)

eth1 (94901) | more than 13 years ago | (#519222)

PC makers like Dell already offer Linux as a choice of OS, so I seriously doubt they would do this (unless M$ pays them off big time), and other hardware makers won't do it because they're not going to tie their products/profits to a single version of a single OS.

guess it would be nice (1)

Dacmot (266348) | more than 13 years ago | (#519227)

if linux would do that too. It's free, but you gotta redowload it everytime you want to install it on another machine. Maybe I should submit a feature request...

Key words here: "casual copying" (1)

duketor (140373) | more than 13 years ago | (#519229)

So with this "new" "anti-piracy" code, instead of just borrowing a friend's CD and putting the OS into your machine, you'll have to find a friend who has a copy of the OEM image, or hit the warez sites, or fire up Hotline...etc.

Or, if some types are really industrious, they may be able to go to a cracker-run "clearinghouse" to get the copy activated.

Like most "anti-piracy" initiatives (in software and in music) this one is probably designed to keep up appearances and keep the lamers from copying at will. Anyone with half a brain will be able to defeat it...

Then again, anyone with half a brain will probably not be using Whistler.

Already being done on some products (2)

erpbridge (64037) | more than 13 years ago | (#519232)

A version of this is already being done on some MS products.

AFAIK, Office 2000 and Frontpage 2000 already have this incorporated. It's a limited license that allows you to run the program for 50 sessions (I'm not sure what exactly qualifies as a session, but I have a pretty good feeling a session can last a maximum of 24 hours). Sometime during that period, you must register the product with Microsoft (either over Internet, over modem, or through Fax or mail.) The two direct electronic ones send you an electronic key that executes and registers the product. The fax or mail ones, they send you back a disk that has an executable to run. Either way, this registers this particular program to your particular computer.

Now, I've tried installing to another computer (we were waiting for our Worldwide Fulfillment shipment of 300 OEM CD's of Office 2000, and went to WallyWorld and got a copy to install on a couple machines.). I couldn't register both machines, but it did give me a # to call if I had a dispute (the one most people have brought up, upgrading the machine).

As long as you're not a thief, you should be fine.... but if you are a thief, mark my words, it'll be cracked, either with a keygen or a simple crack.

Oh, and those installing it in bulk via a utility like Ghost, read the Yahoo article again. It says at the bottom that exceptions will be made for OEM copies, which is what Microsoft sells most often for bulk licensing.

Paranoid conspiracy theory (1)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 13 years ago | (#519233)

Hmm... It seems plausible (though far from certain) that M$ has had this trick in the box for some time, and that they've deliberately been turning a blind eye to OS piracy specifically to increase market share to where they felt they could get away with this trick.

Or, another possibility: They've had this in mind for a while, with an eye toward implementing it once the world economy was sufficiently dependent on their products, but are implementing early because of declining market share and a perceived future opportunity loss.

- B

High security installations (1)

CyberKnet (184349) | more than 13 years ago | (#519247)

Anyone who has worked at any large corporation knows that Microsoft makes a Select series of installation CDs. These CDs are often (always?) free of needing any CD Keys, and do not require any additional registration. High security installations are usually government, and I'm sure that any government department which requires that level of security *probably* has a Select subscription anyway. I'm not condoning clearinghouse registration, just that scenario most probably wont be a problem.


Re:What about people (1)

FyreGryffon (182789) | more than 13 years ago | (#519250)

Sure, the internet is a big deal these days, but I refuse to submit to the idea that a PC [running Windows...] can't function without it!

Why not? It already can't function with it...


Thank God - The Future is Finally Here (3)

DaveWood (101146) | more than 13 years ago | (#519252)

I'm not sure how this will play out, but my guess is that the only reason the invasive, ridiculous conditions of the existing, standard software license (espoused by the industry groups and, of course, Microsoft) is still around, is because they've never tried to seriously enforce the conditions of the license. Having software that forces you to purchase a new license or go through an extravagantly annoying transfer process just to switch machines, or that actively prevents transfer of ownership, has always been nothing more than bluster on your fine print - and largely without legal basis at that.

For them to push in this direction tells me that MS has been told some encouraging things by the incoming administration, in addition to being emboldened by the success of DMCA and UCITA. (shudder)

If they're serious about this, then they've just created a dramatic barrier to entry to Whistler, et al. Of course, if they see older alternatives are eating into their Whistler sales, they could stop selling new Win98/2000 licenses. People would then be in a nasty bind... but signs of strife that significant might send people scurrying to Apple and Linux in droves.

When push comes to shove, I'd guess Microsoft will realize that they've already become the richest fucks in the world via the old ("rampant piracy") system, and almost certainly back down from rocking the boat. See Intel and their CPUID fiasco.

An effort to force a massive and fundamental change in the way software is licensed and used would probably require an effort on the scale of a massive conspiracy. At the moment I don't give MS and Co. that much credit.

In the meantime, we have some more breathing room to discover a new intellectual property doctrine that actually works...

Re:This is bad! (2)

edremy (36408) | more than 13 years ago | (#519254)

Warning!!! Sarcasm and non-/. approved opinions ahead.

I steal Ford cars. I have no qualms about it. They charge obscene prices for crappy products, and pull planned obsolescence tricks to force you to upgrade.

Boy, isn't rationalization fun!

Bottom line: if you hate the company so much DON'T USE THE DAMN PRODUCT. Whining about the horrible folks at MS while stealing their products shows the maturity of a 6-year old.


Re:But why even bother upgrading? (1)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 13 years ago | (#519256)

Personally, I already promised myself before WindowsME came out that I'm sticking with Win98SE. It does everything I need it to (meaning run PhotoShop,Premiere,Office, and games) and very little that I DON'T need it to. microsoft is rapidly running out of reasons to force the public to upgrade (which I believe is the purpose behind this .NET nonsense), and I for one am not buying into their bullshit.

The LAST thing I need is for my OS to contact Microsoft without me knowing about it. If it can contact this 'clearinghouse' to validate a serial number (in hardware), who's to say what else it's checking up on? It'd be simple from a programmer's perspective to add logic that double-checks the serials for all your M$ software, to make sure that the person who bought the OS is the same person who bought, say, Office. *sigh* Enough is enough. Bye bye, Micro$oft: It'll only be a matter of time before there's a Windows emulator of sufficient stability that we won't need you anymore. Better yet, the other big software houses (Macromedia, Adobe, etc.) will start developing for Linux.

--Just Another Pimp A$$ Perl Hacker

frickin MS (1)

Xeo2 (301694) | more than 13 years ago | (#519274)

just another way to make life more difficult... Can you say "bloatware" children? sure you can!

For IS departments this is VERY annoying (2)

TWX_the_Linux_Zealot (227666) | more than 13 years ago | (#519276)

I work for a small but technically oriented company that unfortunately has to use Microsoft products for our workstations and servers and embedded products. We have lately come across this problem with Office 2000, and it's a downright pain. We don't like doing auth transactions like these through the Internet, for security reasons we call the registrar (for lack of a better term) and get it over with over the phone. We also fairly often upgrade computers (like, new comp, old one's parts turned into a test computer or something, with a license for an older full copy of an OS (Like NT 4 or Windows 95). The software people don't like it when we do this, it's a mess every time, and I'd frankly like them to well, trust us... We audit our computers very often, most of the time employees don't load anything except freeware stuff without asking, and the IS guy has a pretty good idea what is on the computers. Having to call in 25 times for 25 different installations of MS Office is just silly.

If there's a better way to do it, remember that I'm not the IS guy, so I'm not involved in the decisions...

"Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."

Mathematica's similar (but friendlier) process (1)

Smudgy (144144) | more than 13 years ago | (#519278)

Mathematica (for students, v. 3.0 for Windows) had a similar process when I installed it. It didn't require internet connectivity to get your "product key" but you still needed to talk to Wolfram Products to finish the install. The process was something like this, IIRC:

You install Mathematica using the license number included on your license. The install process generates a "Mathematica Computer Code" or something, generated via some algorithm and based at least in part on your hardware configuration/registry configuration. Then you call/email/snail-mail/web-page-ize this code number to Wolfram, as well as your vitals (name, address, etc). They spit back at you another code number that you give to Mathematica. It completes the install and you're on your way. Wolfram mails you a "real" license in a couple of weeks (the one in the box was just a "temp" license).

If you ever need to reinstall Mathematica or install it on another computer, you need to call Wolfram and get a new code to match your new computer code. Since I haven't gotten there (yet-- my win95 partition recently crashed and I haven't reinstalled....) I don't know what the "re-licensing" process is like.

In any case, this seems a little friendlier than Microsoft's little game. The Mathematica manual clearly outlines what you need to do if you change your hardware, and you don't need to be connected to the internet to get your new license number. It's still a bit of a pain, but it does a good job of protecting Mathematica's interests without being -too- much of a hassle to the user.

I don't recall (nor do I have immediately available) what the license's provisions re: reselling are.

Bravo Microsoft... (2)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 13 years ago | (#519281)

Well it is interesting to see the semi-demise of a once great company.

I do not see this as anti-piracy, but money making squezze. If one reads the article they will notice that OEM's and large corporates still get "normal" license. This means a professional pirate can still continue on. However the normal user will be shafted. This means that anyone who has multiple computers or replaced a computer will automatically need to buy multiple licenses. So in effect we have a money making scheme.

But MS is forgetting something, I tried to explain this concept to my mother and she looked at me really puzzled. You see she is about to buy a notebook for when she visits the kids. She does not see the point of buying two copies of Office. As a result she considered using LINUX because she saw some pictures at CNN where it looked ok. And her decision was made out of principle, which in my eyes is dangerous for MS.

You know after looking at the MS trial, and other fiascos, one really wonders where management is!!!

Bravo MS keep it up!!!!

Re:It depends where you stand. (1)

Flabdabb Hubbard (264583) | more than 13 years ago | (#519283)

Whether you regard my honest opinion as a 'troll' (whatever that is) also depends where you stand. I would find it very useful to know for certain which versions of which .dll were installed on the 100000+ PCs in the organization where I work.

Re:Same old, same old (1)

Mutok (102249) | more than 13 years ago | (#519285)

This is not the same as Quake or Half-life at all. 1) Quake has not copy-protection or serial whatsoever. I think the game to which you are referring is Quake III Arena; however, it has a key that functions like that of Half-Life. 2) Those keys do not verify according to your hardware. When attempting to play a game online, the key stored in your registry/text file is compared to keys in the database. I have no problem with this. The games can be played on more than one computer without any problems but one at a time. It seems perfectly reasonable to me. 3) I have never had a problem with either the Q3A or HL master servers. The authentication also provides the game-makers a way to restrict cheating (although not entirely).
I suspect that this goal will not come into fruition with Whistler. The release date is quite soon to implement something so seemingly large-scale. In the event Microsoft does attempt a unique computer ID verification system, they would have to only support certain hardware (oh boy I can see it now) and within a week, a cracked version of Whistler would appear on all of the warez sites, defeating their original intention.

Hello (1)

reidbold (55120) | more than 13 years ago | (#519286)

My name is Reid, I will soon be a linux user.

what if the machine doesn't have a net connection? (1)

jimmcq (88033) | more than 13 years ago | (#519287)

What happens if the machine doesn't have a net connection at installation time? or ever?

Sounds like they're taking a page from CA. (1)

Stormin (86907) | more than 13 years ago | (#519288)

CA does the same stupid thing. Setting their software up on a machine that has no net access requires reading 26 digit numbers with no hypenation to someone over the phone without making a mistake and then having them read you back a huge number. In short, a complete pain. Change a piece of hardware that is used to id the machine and the license becomes void, another phone call. The problem is, if MS does this, the call volume will be incredible. How do they prove that you didn't get a new PC? They'll just have to give you a new license. Ok, it cuts down some, but It'll be a logistical nightmare for them.
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