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The Future of Windows Software Distribution

Hemos posted about 9 years ago | from the implications-across-the-board dept.

Windows 194

Diomidis Spinellis writes "Microsoft's Windows Marketplace Labs offer a preview of their Digital Locker technology. The Digital Locker uses Microsoft's Passport Network to allow Windows users to search, buy, and download software from multiple retailers, storing their product keys for future installations. Both retailers offering the service support digital rights management technologies: Digital River promotes its SoftwarePasport, and eSsellerate its Product Activation technology. Will this technology trigger an across-the-board adoption of DRM for Windows software? How will it affect the distribution of free and open-source software?"

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Nice (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649396)

The first stop on the path to web services.

First they get you used to having no packaging, then they get you with the subscription service.

Re:Nice (2, Funny)

marom (917828) | about 9 years ago | (#13649465)

So in a few years, after everything is AJAX-enabled Web2.0-oriented and SOAed to death, and every online application costs money or has tons of advertisements, some clever geeks from Cleveland will come up with the brilliant idea of having a program that (imagine that!) runs on your own computer? My god, they could make millions!

Re:Nice (2, Interesting)

HawkingMattress (588824) | about 9 years ago | (#13649674)

Worst thing is, we all know that's exactly what will happen, after some time.
I'm really sick of this industry, when you look at its history it's clearly going *backward* most of the time. And more often than not, the worst technologies are the most workshipped, simply because they were better marketed.
When you sit back and look at the way IT advances, it makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, there were better programming tools that what we've got today 35 years ago, and this whole client/server -> microcomputer -> microcomputer/server migration is totally crazy.
Of course in professional environment having a microcomputer with its own system and applications for each user is totally crazy, how is it even possible that such a silly idea has been so widely accepted ?

Re:Nice (0)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 9 years ago | (#13649818)

It depends, some things really do work better with centralisation. IMAP is a good example of having a central location look after all your emails, and even if you don't use a web-app to read your mails the option is still there.

I move around a lot, and can't always guarantee I'm on a system with my applications on it. I want my contact list, emails and calendar to be accessible *live* without resorting to my iPaq and syncing it later on. If I use a web based interface, I don't have to worry about the Linux/Windows/Mac arguments because as long as I can load any (modern) browser and enter a URL, it will work.

On the other hand, I definately don't want to be trying to write my own applications, or even write documents, using webapps. Even if at the end of the day I store the file in a central repository, I still want the actual program I'm using to be on the local machine, simply because it's faster and more reliable.

So to summarise - central storage of the data, but I want to use local applications to read and edit it wherever possible. If there's nothing suitable, I can use the webapp to work in.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649550)

Windows dominance relies on piracy. Any working DRM, subscription service, etc. will force the average users to free software, and then whatever they are using at home will become the business standard, as happened with Win 3.1/Win 95.

Re:Nice (5, Insightful)

kgruscho (801766) | about 9 years ago | (#13649634)

I think windows dominance relies on past piracy. Piracy was truly rampant back in the windows 3.11 days, back then I seemd to se 3-4 priate copies for each legit copy.

Now almost every copy of windows I see running is legit, because it came with the computer.

Windows became dominant by being pirated, but once it was entrenched, microsoft started selling it on every PC out there. And selling cheap upgrades to half the pirate copies.

Also please people do not kid yourself in thinking that prices and DRM will push people to linux. linux has some great merits, but most people do not build their system and get the OS preinstalled, to them windows is "free".

(Honestly I think the best bet for linux is if a manufacturer acts like apple, and puts together really nice hardware and ships a box that just works for the end user)

Re:Nice (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 9 years ago | (#13649924)

I remember the piracy being pretty darned rampant with MS Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP too. And lets not forget that very many of the preinstalled XP Home gets swiftly exchanged for XP PRO. Piracy of applications on MS Windows isnt a small thing either. Take your own Windows boxes (if you own any) and calculate how much software you have there, including all the shareware you have used long beyond its trial period. I suspect that for most people that sum isnt something they are willing to part from. Windows may be free but all the applications is not and DRM may just make people painfully aware of that.

The sole reason prices dont drive people towards Linux/*BSD/Whatever New is that pretty much no home user really pays for their software and thus dont compare the two on price.

Hardly a first-step (2, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 years ago | (#13649601)

This seems more like a crippled, intrusive version of Apt-Get. Hardly compelling, compared to Ubuntu's synaptic...

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649965)

If you mean by subscribing: "renting", I fully agree. Because that's where we'll end up: paying monthly(?) fees for using a piece of software and then of course we pay a second time for the "integration" services...

Re:Nice (3, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | about 9 years ago | (#13650031)

Didn't Linux get people used to great software with no packaging?

I'm actually really excited about this, as it is long overdue. There is really no reason for software to be purchased through traditional retail channels anymore. Not only should this be slightly cheaper, but it will allow for impulse purchases without spending the few hours it would take to go get the stuff. See a positive review of Halo? Go and download the game. Need to edit a PDF file before your meeting tomorrow? Instead of waiting for the store to open tomorrow morning, or running off to Kinkos and run up a dollar-a-minute bill, just buy the software you need right now and use it. All of your software would be available in a centralized location somewhere, helping to make things easy to find with Microsoft's legendary User Interface skills (cough cough).

The only potential (and probably highly likely) problem that I can see is if it were unnecessarily expensive to get into Microsoft's little digital mall that it became dominated by a few big retailers. The UI could also be crappy, the application might crash all of the time, the DRM could make it difficult to carry things between computers... So there are other potential problems. But as a fundamental ideal, buying software in 100% digital form, and in a forum that comes with every system is kind of nice. I'm sad that Apple didn't do this first, but I'm glad somebody other than Valve [] did.

The Future of Windows... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649402)

Is brighter then the future of linux... : )

Re:The Future of Windows... (1)

the_xaqster (877576) | about 9 years ago | (#13649605)

Try the "Take a tour" option. How many times can they say "Works with Windows"?

Inquiring minds want to know!

emerge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649414)

This is the future for software distribution... or at least installing software

Passport? My ASS.

Re:emerge (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649456)

At the airport, sometime in the future:

Immigration guy: "Passport and customs declaration please"
You: "Certainly" *proceeds to remove trousers and sit on the scanner*
Immigration guy: "Sorry sir, there seems to be a problem with your passport"
You: "Damnit! I knew I shouldn't have had that extra hot chilli!"

Ebay (0)

fm2503 (876331) | about 9 years ago | (#13649415)

Chances of there being a paypal option for this service?
I don't think so.

Re:Ebay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649503)

Chances of there being a paypal option for this service?
I don't think so.

And thank goodness for that! []

Re:Ebay (2, Informative)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | about 9 years ago | (#13649715)

Chances of there being a paypal option for this service? I don't think so.

Most of us don't want anything to do with Paypal. Credit cards are a much better payment method for online transactions like this since almost all of them come with some form of buyer protection and dispute process. Paypal on the other hand is more than happy to screw BOTH parties out of their money if they choose to.

PayPal, what's PayPal? (2, Funny)

ProppaT (557551) | about 9 years ago | (#13649786)

Why would you ever need PayPal when we have GREAT services like MSN Wallet avalible???

Bit torrent is the answer!! (5, Funny)

KiroDude (853510) | about 9 years ago | (#13649424)

I say use bit torrent to distribute windows and then poison the bitch to death!!

Sorry, just had to...

Microsoft partnering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649431)

From the article: Microsoft has partnered with Digital River and eSellerate

Is this Microsoft working with the industry, instead of buying them? If so, is this a sign of change for the better at MS?

Re:Microsoft partnering? (0, Troll)

hey (83763) | about 9 years ago | (#13649767)

No, they need non-MSFT companies for this to look ligit - that's all.

Re:Microsoft partnering? (0, Troll)

Hasai (131313) | about 9 years ago | (#13650177)

Should I assume you don't know much about M$'s standard MO on 'partnering?'

1) Identify a potential revenue stream or cost-savings.
2) 'Partner' with a firm already doing it well.
3) Study 'partner's' methods until they can be replicated in-house.
4) Market extended, proprietary version, using market clout to crush 'partner' into oblivion.

Frankly, the fact that business executives still are willing to cozy up to the M$ T-Rex confirms to me that there is indeed one born every minute.


More like DMC... (0, Troll)

DarkYoshi (895118) | about 9 years ago | (#13649435)

More like DMC...

Digiatal Rights Confiscation

Re:More like IFUTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649491)

I fucked up the acronym (DMC = Digital Might Confiscation ?).

Re:More like DMC... (5, Funny)

marom (917828) | about 9 years ago | (#13649536)

See? This is what happens when you try too hard to be funny. Let it be a lesson to you all. Just do a simple "In Soviet Russia, software distributes you" or something, and be done with it.

Re:More like DMC... (2, Funny)

lcsjk (143581) | about 9 years ago | (#13649842)

"In Soviet Russia, software distributes you" or something!

Re:More like DMC... (0)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | about 9 years ago | (#13649955)


Whenever I hear something about 'DRM'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649437)

...I often wonder whose 'rights' are they protecting, or if they were rights at all. I mean, rights aren't supposed to be taken away from you no matter what, right?

My Digital Locker smells like gym socks (5, Interesting)

weinrich (414267) | about 9 years ago | (#13649439)

Amazon already has a "Digital Locker" into which digital items like DVD extras, Users Manuals, and extra music tracks are instantly stored whenever you make an associated purchase. They actually call it your Digital Locker.

I wonder if anyone in MS marketing has been shopping at Amazon lately?

Re:My Digital Locker smells like gym socks (1)

stm2 (141831) | about 9 years ago | (#13649511)

Maybe the where shopping at Linspire CNR []

Re:My Digital Locker smells like gym socks (0)

omega9 (138280) | about 9 years ago | (#13649745)

Yes. Just maybe the where.

Passport? (4, Insightful)

lachlan76 (770870) | about 9 years ago | (#13649443)

Didn't Passport get cancelled? Are they building new systems based on a deprecated

Re:Passport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649470)

It was cancelled as a general single sign-on system. It's still used for Microsoft's own services, though, such as MSN and some downloads from

Re:Passport? (4, Informative)

RupW (515653) | about 9 years ago | (#13649502)

Didn't Passport get cancelled? Are they building new systems based on a deprecated system?

It's being replaced in the upcoming Windows Communication Foundation (a.k.a. Indigo [] ) with a more paranoid-friendly digital identity system. You can get your hands on a beta already. I expect that'll be a drop-in replacement and they need something to work with.

(In fact, MS Identity guy Kim Cameron's latest blog entry is called InfoCard Not Son Of Passport [] .)

Monopoly webserviced ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649446)

And I presume those guys forbid Java or Linux base applications to be delivered ;-)

Welcome to the wonderland ... now to make money, you will have to use MS technogy.

When people are starting to "contraint" people to use their production, isn't it what we call a cartel ?

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (4, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13649523)

Microsoft has participated in illegal practices for quite some time. They are a convicted monopoly, and what's different about how they did business before and after their conviction? Absolutely nothing. That may be because Bush came into power soon after they were convicted, the Republicans all being supportive of big businesses of course didn't want to cause Microsoft any harm, damn the laws that it broke. Paranoid? Possibly. Co-incedence, doubtful. See the facts here. []

So when Microsoft was found guilty of breaking the law, and nothing happened. What incentive does Microsoft have to comply with other laws? What's going to happen? They'll be convicted again? I'm sure Microsoft is quivering in their boots.

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (-1, Flamebait)

NineNine (235196) | about 9 years ago | (#13649573)

I'm just wondering, are you a DOJ shill? Are you going to start telling us that Marijuana is harmful and pharmaceutical drugs are all fantasic? Are you going to start telling us that we can't make own own backups of CD's and DVD's? Either there's a new movement going around, and that's DOJ fanboys such as yourself, or Sun, Netscape, AOL, Oracle, etc. are paying shills to remind people that "MS broke the law" (according to them). Which is it?

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (0, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | about 9 years ago | (#13649702)

Do people really need reminders that MS is a criminal organization?

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (1, Interesting)

NineNine (235196) | about 9 years ago | (#13649993)

Do people really need reminders that MS is a criminal organization?

Criminal ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Not criminal according to me. If you're going to use the DOJ definition, then you're a criminal for ripping a CD, backing up a DVD movie, or playing a DVD on Linux (if you've ever done any of those things). That's my point. Screaming "criminal" is pointless when you consider the definition of "criminal".
  Apparently, another DOJ/Sun/Netscape/AOL shill...

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (2, Funny)

lcsjk (143581) | about 9 years ago | (#13649891)

I'm sorry. I think you put your answer to question 23 in the space for question 24! Its a good answer, but I can't give you full credit.

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (1)

willie3204 (444890) | about 9 years ago | (#13650016)

The rules of business apply even to monopolies. MS, as people have seen, is starting to become stagnant in the areas of innovation and they've been slowly losing talent to competitors like google. There is dissention in the MS community [] and everyone knows it. The rules of the market apply to even monopolies.

I bet the only reason MS is doing this is because they fully expect Google to go the same direction. Competition isn't a bad thing people. And this proves yet again that the market, given enough time, will correct itself in the end.

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649988)

monopoly Audio pronunciation of "monopoly" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (m-np-l)
n. pl. monopolies

      1. Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: "Monopoly frequently... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals" (Milton Friedman).

What I want to know is, how, exactly, can you guys refer to Microsoft as a monopoly on one hand, while on the other, constantly push open-source as an alternative to every product Microsoft offers? If there is truly an open-source alternative to everything Microsoft offers (or for that matter, any alternative, open-source or no), then by definition, Microsoft does NOT hold a monopoly.

Or are you saying that open-source really isn't a viable option?

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13650005)

You'll note I very carefully said "Convicted monopolist." American law obviously has a different ruling on a monopoly then a simple dictionary website. Fancy that.

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13650112)

It's never a simple definition where law is concerned, unfortunately.

Re:Monopoly webserviced ;-) (3, Insightful)

labratuk (204918) | about 9 years ago | (#13649890)

Wow, this is really exciting. It'll be like having apt only with a convicted monopolist in charge of the repository.

This is going to be so much fun. They're only a decade late getting a proper package management system.

How are the 2 related? (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about 9 years ago | (#13649449)

What does Passport authentication have to do with Open Source s/w distribution? Has Amazon or eBay affected s/w distribution? So why should an MS authentication scheme do it?

Re:How are the 2 related? (3, Informative)

m50d (797211) | about 9 years ago | (#13649497)

It affects it if MS decides they're going to require installers to use this service. They'd have to make it free-as-in-beer, but what about requiring you to give MS rights to your code, or promising not to make it run on any other OS, if you want free access, or a small fee that larger companies can pay to use it and keep their code.

Re:How are the 2 related? (1)

Jessta (666101) | about 9 years ago | (#13650303)

The issue is that windows users will find this to be a convneint way to install software.
Making the need to download installers for free software an extra effort.
I know that I find it quite a hassle to install software that isn't in portage on my gentoo system.

Microsoft isn't going to let competing free software products be distributed using their system.

People will still be able to install free software, it will just be more of a hassle.

- Jesse McNelis

A search on sourceforge.. (3, Insightful)

rajeshgoli (881014) | about 9 years ago | (#13649462)

Would turn up all the software I need, and I dont need to manage my product keys because I dont have any.. Q1: "How will it affect the distribution of free and open-source software?" Q2: Does it affect the distribution of open-source software at all?

Re:A search on sourceforge.. (4, Insightful)

indifferent children (842621) | about 9 years ago | (#13649554)

This could be a good thing for OSS. If home-user license enforcement becomes easy, it will become widespread. If this works well enough, then MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, etc will start requiring these licenses to run. If it becomes difficult or impossible to run these programs, more people will stop using illegal copies, and start using OpenOffice, Gimp, etc. If MS were able to stamp-out copyright infringement (by any means), that would be a huge boost to OSS.

Re:A search on sourceforge.. (1)

Nasarius (593729) | about 9 years ago | (#13650220)

If home-user license enforcement becomes easy, it will become widespread.

Ha ha. Why would copy protection in a shiny box be more effective? Until it's done in the hardware, there will always be cracks.

Middleman? (4, Insightful)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | about 9 years ago | (#13649468)

From the Help []
Q: Am I buying my software directly from Microsoft?
A: The Digital Locker on Windows Marketplace Labs is not a software retailer. Microsoft, with your permission, communicates your purchase information to the retailers to help complete your transactions.

Seems they are just a store front using their name to sell 3rd party software. Keeping all the licenses of your purchased software in a Digital Locker on your system might actually be convenient for the average Windows user. The program is supposed to also be able to make backup cds of purchased software as well.

I'm sure there's something I'm not seeing but it doesn't seem such a bad move to me.

I can think of something you're not seeing (2, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 years ago | (#13649610)

Security on the Passport network isn't great - hotmail accounts are generally quite easy to steal, as anyone who's had the misfortune to use MSN Groups will confirm.

Suddenly, stealing a hotmail account is a way of committing piracy !

Re:Middleman? (1)

omega9 (138280) | about 9 years ago | (#13649725)

..licenses of your purchased software in a Digital Locker on your system..

It's my understanding that it's all kept on their system, not your own. Otherwise there wouldn't be much of a reason for them to do this at all. I can't believe the biggest reason this was thought up is for your convenience. With all the data held central, they can monitor how many times you install a product and on what machines.

Re:Middleman? (1)

Dr.Opveter (806649) | about 9 years ago | (#13649823)

Thanks, I think you're right. The Digital Locker is actually not on your own system, it's the Digital Lock Assistent that you can install on your machine which connects to the Digital Locker. So indeed, that's part of the catch..

Re:Middleman? (1)

hey (83763) | about 9 years ago | (#13650139)

Yeah, sure! The Software company has paid some money to Microsoft to be part of the club I would bet. Isn't that a middleman.

Did you hear that CmdrTaco died? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649477)

His memorial site. [] Truly sad.

How it will effect Open Source? (4, Interesting)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about 9 years ago | (#13649481)

I don't think it will effect Open Source much at all. However user friendly it gets it can't get much quicker and simpler than a GUIed-over apt-get, such as Synaptic found in Ubuntu. Then again there's a lot of Open Source software availible for Windows aswell... Maybe the submitter was questioning the stand of Open Source vs. closed source on the Windows platform alone?

Re:How it will effect Open Source? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 years ago | (#13649774)

I think it will affect F/OSS. At the moment, people complain that installing things on *NIX is complicated because they are used to putting in CDs and clicking on setup.exe. If the `standard' way of installing is via something like Synaptic, then the only difference between installing software on Windows and elsewhere is that it costs money on Windows.

Re:How it will effect Open Source? (1)

jgionet (828557) | about 9 years ago | (#13649836)

yet another reason to go open source.. MS is shooting itself in the foot again and this will only force people to go open source. I'm glad I have started on that path already.

I don't believe it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649494)

People still buy software?

The Little Cents I've to Offer (3, Insightful)

Quirk (36086) | about 9 years ago | (#13649512)

"Will this technology trigger an across-the-board adoption of DRM for Windows software?"

I've no doubt DRM will come on strong and dominate the marketplace. I don't think the geek crowd will deter the onslaught of DRM. Much of our western culture is based on conspicuous consumption. People like to have their purchases imprinted with some sign of authenticity and, strangely, high price. While I've difficulty finding the time to read /., the Reg and my mailing lists, there are many people who love junk mail and spam, the more so if it's personalized, so having their every move online sprout offers to buy this and that may be flattering to them.

"How will it affect the distribution of free and open-source software?"

I've pretty much said my goodbyes to Windows, my multimedia, web box runs XP, but I'm moving onto AMD 64 and freeBSD for everything else. Windows was grating enough to run but recently MS seems to totally own my web box, needing to authenticate every patch and update, (it's like a security firm that promises to protect your premises then has a break-in and theft at their headquarters and, follows up with a notice to its customers that it will be rummaging through each customer's house looking for its stolen gear).

Free Open source software will continue to grow by leaps and bounds, with more government agencies signing on. It's sometimes difficult to see the growth in FOSS adoption, but when I first bought Mandrake6 the brick and mortar places Linux could be found were few and far between, now it's readily avialable and every computer book store has aisles of books on FOSS.

Re:The Little Cents I've to Offer (2, Insightful)

g2devi (898503) | about 9 years ago | (#13649719)

> People like to have their purchases imprinted with some sign of authenticity and, strangely, high price.

If that were true, how does Walmart make a profit?

While it is true that some part of American culture is consumed with status and high price labels, the bulk of it would just as easily flock to a cheap knock offs if they were "good enough".

I wrote about this thing (0)

Guardian of Terra (753181) | about 9 years ago | (#13649526)

A while ago: [] It's in Russian thought, you'll need to babelfish it to actually read. Feeling like Cassandra.

Sadly, Google doesn't seem to translate Russian (1)

volts (515080) | about 9 years ago | (#13649552)

Sadly, Google doesn't seem to translate Russian to English.

Re:Sadly, Google doesn't seem to translate Russian (1)

pdbaby (609052) | about 9 years ago | (#13649590)

Google doesn't seem to translate Russian to English
That's why the grandparent said babelfish [] , not google! Babelfish translates Russian to English and a variety of other languages that google doesn't do either. Hurrah babelfish!

Linux vs. Windows... (4, Insightful)

cobrajs (882891) | about 9 years ago | (#13649544)

Why should this put a hamper on OSS distribution? Isn't this just Windows trying to be more like Linux, i.e. like apt-get or CNR for Linspire?

I don't think that this really would hurt OSS distribution at all, but would instead provide more of a reason to use OSS.

limiting software use on windows (1, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | about 9 years ago | (#13649568)

nothing about this is good.
DRM takes all the rights away from the purchaser. thats what it's all about pure and simple. what this kind of thing heralds is a future where unless you pay through the nose to MS they won't allow you to run your software on windows, due to it not having a DRM license.
they will no doubt claim it's to protect you. fuck where have i heard that shit before?

Re:limiting software use on windows (2, Insightful)

richy freeway (623503) | about 9 years ago | (#13649595)

DRM takes all the rights away from the purchaser.

Apart from the right to use the software under the terms and conditions they accepted before purchasing/renting it.

I know it's easier said than done, but, if you don't like it, don't buy it. If the publishers don't make any money they'll have to listen.

Re:limiting software use on windows (1)

Compholio (770966) | about 9 years ago | (#13650213)

Apart from the right to use the software under the terms and conditions they accepted before purchasing/renting it.

You mean "let us a**-f*** you or you can't use our operating system"? Or "by using this software you agree that you waive your rights to reverse engineer, decompile, etc..."? Ridiculous conditions that are non-negotiable and you are required to accept them if you want to get anything done?

Re:limiting software use on windows (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 9 years ago | (#13650464)

Ridiculous conditions that are non-negotiable and you are required to accept them if you want to get anything done?
I dunno. I find myself to be rather productive, and I think the vast majority of the software I use came with either one simple license or one rather lengthy license. They both state no warranty (as does any other license I've seen), and the long license only says anything more if I re-distribute the software (says I have to provide source code and re-distribution rights). ;)

Re:limiting software use on windows (3, Interesting)

killjoe (766577) | about 9 years ago | (#13649684)

" nothing about this is good."

I disagree. Either MS will open up a loophole you can drive a truck through or this will be the best thing ever for open source and commercial software which competes with MS.

I can't wait for the future when it will be impossible to steal windows and other MS software. As long as people can get office for free they will never use openoffice.

Of course MS will never let it come to that. They will release non DRM software that anybody can copy and use. What's the alternative? Lock the third world out of their software?

They're getting good (2, Funny)

Crixus (97721) | about 9 years ago | (#13649575)

Despite what you say about MS, they certainly have a lot of smart guys working for them. They're making it harder and harder to pirate, and since they have a monopoly on the OS market, they will be able to leverage that monopoly into something like this to combat piracy.

back in the day, I registered a lot of shareware (3, Informative)

usurper_ii (306966) | about 9 years ago | (#13649577)

And actually, the way I did it was that me and a couple of guys I worked with would split the cost of registering the software. Yeah, not exactly the way it was supposed to work, but the author got money, and we got what we considered a semi-legal copy of the software, and we registered quite a bit of software.

Now, if I register a shareware program, quite a bit of it checks in with a server to validate the key, and if you even try and install it on say, your laptop, at the same time, you are screwed. I registered a couple of programs a while back that if my HD crashed, I guess I would have to e-mail the author and **beg** them to let me reinstall the programs.

And I tell you what, the amount of money leaving my hands has greatly reduced because of the above. I now look first to free/open source software or, believe it or not, commerical software, which is still light on the DRM, even though it is moving in that direction. If I smell DRM, I avoid the software at all costs.

I can only imagine that shareware author's revenue is decreasing...but hey, they cut down on some piracy...and all those big bad pirates who installed software they **paid** for on more than one computer in clear violation of the EULA.


Re:back in the day, I registered a lot of sharewar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649694)

"...we registered quite a bit of software."

Don't lie. No you didn't. But you did steal a bunch of software, and probably continue to do so today whenever it suits you.

Thieves like you fear DRM because it takes your "Meh, I'll just download (steal) the full version of this and/or download its license codes" mentality and ability away. For far too long people like you have been stealing others' intellectual property simply because the technology to do so is there, and effective means to prevent it did not exist. DRM may not be the perfect countermeasure, but its a start down the right road. Deal with it.

Re:back in the day, I registered a lot of sharewar (0)

lcsjk (143581) | about 9 years ago | (#13649956)

Darn!, I didn't think anybody was watching!

that sounds an awfull lot.. (1)

scenestar (828656) | about 9 years ago | (#13649585)

Like a package repository.

(except unfree taking away valuable beermoney)

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649592)

now I'm supposed to buy games copy-protecteds on-line. It's easier and cheaper download it from P2P networks, and without limitations.

License (2, Interesting)

jlebrech (810586) | about 9 years ago | (#13649633)

They need this kind of technology to compete with free software
The absence of license key for openoffice and linux for example
is more tempting for a switch than the freeness that the sotware gives.

Install on one machine ONLY? (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13649646)

Once created, the hash information cannot be recalculated back to its original value, and is transferred only by the strongest encryption available to the eSellerate servers.

Judging from the eSellerate website, it looks like (hopefully) you can install the software multiple times on one machine, but should you want to move it, you're screwed. If that's the case, I hope the software is much cheaper. In oher words, if MS doees this with say Office Standard, I won't pay more than $25 - and that's being generous.

Re:Install on one machine ONLY? (1)

saddino (183491) | about 9 years ago | (#13650292)

The eSellerate system is flexible enough to allow the author to decide the rights management rules. So, though one author may allow "one machine only" another may allow multiple machines installs.

Product activation will hurt new PC sales (2, Interesting)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 9 years ago | (#13649701)

Before Product Activation (or similar models) people could freely buy new computers, transferring all of their software for themselves, while keeping it on their old one for the kids. You were safe knowing that your "investment" in software didn't go to waste with that new computer. (I'm NOT saying this was legal, but it's a VERY common practice.)

That will change now that software will be tied to a single computer. Imagine spending several hundred bucks in software, which is quite easy considering the price of anti-virus software and office suites today. A few years later you want to buy a new computer, but all the software will have to be bought all over again. Is it worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.

The point is that people won't be free to upgrade anymore. There will be a cost in addition to the hardware. Replacing all the software you've already bought.

One company could be helped but this, though: Apple. If you have to buy all new software anyway, you might as well switch and go with a Mac.

Re:Product activation will hurt new PC sales (1)

johneee (626549) | about 9 years ago | (#13650466)

"That will change now that software will be tied to a single computer."

Which was always kind of the case, especially with software that came as OEM with the computer. The licence goes with the computer.

The fun thing was when I was upgrading a Dell with a new motherboard because I liked the case and giving the motherboard to someone else to use. I called up Microsoft, and ended up talking to four different people for well over an hour trying to figure out if the OEM Windows and Office licences stayed with the case, drives, and assorted other hardware(because that was where the hologram stickers were) went with the motherboard and CPU to the other person, or just disappeared. Nobody could really tell me, and just kept on telling me that the licences stayed 'with the computer' and not telling me what they considered the 'computer'.

I ended up continuing to use the software myself since I had the stickers. The black helicopters from the BSA haven't come to get me yet.

Of course it could work the other way. (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 9 years ago | (#13649704)

Imagine if MS went to all hardware vendors and told them that the only drivers that could be distributed had to go through MS's DRM gateway. Or, to put a friendly face on it, in order to distribute drivers they had to go exclusively through MS's DRM gateway and while of course those vendors were free to create open source drivers, there would be no mechanism for thoe OS drivers to validate and therefore pass through the MS DRM gateway. This would quickly squash the

Good for OSS, bad for small software producers? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13649734)

So, you're working the weekend to get a report finished that *has* to be done for Monday. Coincidentally, the electrical engineers are working the weekend, too. Off goes your power for half an hour, and when it comes up, it turns out the power cut neatly nuked your license file. None of your software will open.

Your options:

1) Wait till 9am Monday, when the Software Licensing Helpline opens, spend two hours convincing unsympathetic staff you're not a criminal, then do four hour's work in 30 minutes

2) Head over to and, grab some software that will work *now*, finish the report.

The real victims will be smaller software producers that don't use the system. And, of course, anyone who whose software is doing too well against a Microsoft product, who may just find themselves barred from the system. But then, a convicted monopolist wouldn't do anything like that, would they?

Time will tell if this is another DRM hinderance which adds value to OSS, or if they made things easier (no more typing in insanely long license keys). I'm guessing the former.

Store my license key? No. (2, Interesting)

BrynM (217883) | about 9 years ago | (#13649742)

First of all, I buy most of my software online direct from the manufacturer in the first place. All of them store a copy of my license key for me and will give it to me if I can identify myself properly - from my handheld to my PC. I can even download a fresh copy if I need to. I actually had to do this last week with Sony and they were really good about it.

Why would I want another copy of my license key floating around on a public network? Especially with MS "guarding"it. I would even venture to say that my license keys are more secure because they don't have a central access point (ie: different companies). If I were to use this service and someone could contact MS and autheticate they could grab _all_ of my license keys. Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Maya would total several thousand dollars in hard earned cash.

I won't even get into them wanting my credit card number. I've avoided giving them one for a couple of decades now and I'm not about to give in ;)

Second: This is where they are taking Passport? Didn't Ebay leave [] the program a while back? From what I remember the list of participants is teeny.

This is what Linux Needs (3, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | about 9 years ago | (#13649750)

If you can admit that there is a place for shareware on Linux, as opposed to freeware, then, having a mechanism such as this is a godsend for independent authors.

With my shareware registration service now, regnow, I have the ability to not only get paid myself, but, also, to share the wealth with web sites that host my product and drive sales to it. So for example, I might wind up paying a particular site a 40% commission on sales if they sold a copy of Commodity Server.

Freeware? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | about 9 years ago | (#13650329)

If you can admit that there is a place for shareware on Linux, as opposed to freeware, then, having a mechanism such as this is a godsend for independent authors.

There is little room for "shareware" or "freeware" on Linux. What do they offer that open source software does not?

Less piracy is good for FOSS. (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 9 years ago | (#13649772)

The harder it gets to pirate Windows and all the various apps on it the more the value of OSS shines through. Today not many pay for their software in general. Even Windows XP Home is swapped out fairly quickly for a pirated version of XP Pro in many cases.

When you make a headcount and calculate what the total sum of all the installed software on a normal computer is OSS has a pretty great advantage that not many appriciates since they dont pay for their comercial software.

what they didnt mention (1)

jxkxr (917837) | about 9 years ago | (#13649796)

When touting the security advantages of their "new" OS (remember when it was longhorn) M$ not only wanted to validate software licenses but upgrades. And here was the catch....say you are using acrobat pro for your business and you decide to skip an upgrade and its detected in the "digital locker" it disables all the adobe documents on your puter and renders them useless until you upgrade. When you mention piracy, M$ doesnt care, they just want to bilk coorporations and the digital locker crap is why many people i talk to are NOW willing to listen to advantages of one better promotes foss than M$

Custom SourceForge? (3, Insightful)

bjk002 (757977) | about 9 years ago | (#13649804)

Feels like M$ is building a custom, personal sourceforge. There are many practical applications for this.

Restore and recovery comes to mind first. With ubiquitous broadband connections, its not as big a deal to d/l full version software packages.

Or perhaps, something even cooler, a full system mirroring, online.

As useful as this would be for an individual, think how useful this would be for corporations. Disater recovery from a corporations point of view would be a no brainer.

Building burned down? Just buy a couple servers and d/l everything from M$.

This could eliminate $1000s/yr off the company's bottom line in media storage, tape back up, etc...

That is, of course, until M$ jacks up the pricing once they cornered the market.

Hasn't This Already Failed (2, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | about 9 years ago | (#13649820)

Look, people didn't want Passport or Hailstorm. Microsoft just won't be told.

Microsoft: the future is here (0, Flamebait)

gothfox (659941) | about 9 years ago | (#13649860)

First they invent Tinderbox, then they invent Synaptic. Is there anything those Microsoft guys can't do?

um.... (2, Interesting)

powerline22 (515356) | about 9 years ago | (#13649951)

It's called Steam. It's been done microsoft.

No Thanks! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 9 years ago | (#13650042)

I will continue to use GNU/GPLed FOSS software ONLY!

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13650251)

I make my living using free software pretty much exclusively. If I use any proprietary software, it is on *my* terms. Period.

Software Distribution by Digital River (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13650274)

Digital River was and may still be the preferred mail/shipping firm for SuSE, a major Linux distributer. It may be the preferred distributer for other Linux distributions as well. If Microsoft gets its hooks into this company, then Novell, who holds SuSE now and others may have to seek other distributers. This happens often enough and it will become difficult for Linux companies to ship their product through third party bulk distributers, especially in foreign countries. This is especially relevant, or was for SuSE, a German company that used Digital River for shipping its new products to customers in the United States. As for 'online distribution', the real answer is to not accept this form of product delivery, as it is not really a delivery. I use a dial-up connection that has a habit of going down quite often, interrupting downloads. There is nothing more useless than a broken download. I know that a windows shareware product called 'Lightning Download' can remedy this problem; but it is for windows users only; OK!, you can use windows to download a linux program and then copy it to your Linux system by whatever means. But what does this say for Linux if it has to be babysat by windows whenever it has a problem. Linux should be able to take care of itself if it is ever to be able to call itself truly a viable alternative to windows. This includes track and sector editors, secure deletion and shredding programs, easy formatters, registry and log file editors and secure deleters, internet cookie and intrusive spyware secure deleters, obsessive 'history' shredders, and other hardware and low level software utilities that windows has historically abounded with. Note that this above should all be GUI based, as handling hundreds of thousands of files scattered over thousands of directories and tens of networked CPUs with a command line oriented console application file by dreary file is a formula for a digital hell that we will not willingly subscribe to. Why do we use dial-up? Because the high speed internet companies in the locally available area are a monopoly, and this monopoly has decreed support only for windows systems using MSN if one wants high speed internet. We will use neither!

Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13650281)

There has an strange correlation with previous [] new

Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13650425)

You don't need DRM to do this. Valve did it just fine with Steam for Half Life 2, etc. If you get the steam client you'll see that there are now plenty of 3rd party games there too.

I know I'd buy more software (well games specifically) if I could get them from Steam.
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