×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Professor Michael Geist on Vista's Fine Print

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the peering-into-the-dark-legal-innards dept.

Windows 314

Russell McOrmond writes "With Microsoft's Vista set to hit stores tomorrow, Michael Geist's weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) looks at the legal and technical fine print behind the operating system upgrade. The article notes that in the name of shielding consumers from computer viruses and protecting copyright owners from potential infringement, Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user. If you are a Canadian and think that the owner of computers should be in control of what they own, rather than some third party (whether virus authors or the manufacturer/maker), then please sign our Petition to protect Information Technology property rights."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

314 comments

Important news! (0, Offtopic)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800946)

Last Friday, I tried haggis and I was pleasantly surprised... But on Saturday morning, when I shat it, I almost died because of the smell.
Please comment.

Re:Important news! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801560)

This is why the kilt was invented. I had porridge this morning, steaming oats in, steaming oats out.

That stampede sound you are hearing.... (3, Funny)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800990)

.... are former Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac.

Searching for their XP discs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801074)

No point in "upgrading" anything Microsoft makes, really.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (5, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801096)

.... are former Windows users running to the Apple Store to buy a Mac.

All three of them? I wouldn't have thought that three people makes a stampede, no matter how fast they run.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (3, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801288)

I wouldn't have thought that three people makes a stampede, no matter how fast they run.

It's not the speed of the running, it's the weight of the runners...

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (5, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801676)

it's the weight of the runners...

"...Developers! Developers! Developers!..."

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (3, Insightful)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801102)

Because Apple would never ever ever do anything to abuse their position as the market leader. I mean look at their generous FairPlay licensing program! And that Trusted Platform Module in every computer they make? That's just there for giggles.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (-1, Flamebait)

neuroklinik (452842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801272)

Because Apple would never ever ever do anything to abuse their position as the market leader. I mean look at their generous FairPlay licensing program! And that Trusted Platform Module in every computer they make? That's just there for giggles.
Hey Jackass...

Do a little research before running off at the mouth, okay?

http://osxbook.com/book/bonus/chapter10/tpm/#EXECU TIVE_SUMMARY [osxbook.com]

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801316)

The TPM chip doesnt seem to be in Core2Duo iterations of Apple Macs - its not identifiable on the motherboard and it doesnt show up in an ioreg listing.

Yes, do look at FairPlay (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801684)

I mean look at their generous FairPlay licensing program!

Yes, look at it. Its dominance is forcing the record labels to consider abandoning DRM altogether (see prior Slashdot article). And it's from a company who said early on that they weren't a fan of DRM and has refused to license it.

Let's put it this way - less DRM means more iPods sold. The iTMS is just infrastructure to sell iPods, not a massive source of revenue. And they could make good money licensing FairPlay.

Maybe I'm wearing rose-colored glasses, but this seems to be the way things are playing out.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801330)

So they're trading one set of shackles for another? Sure, they're pretty shackles but in the end they will still be a prisoner in a DRM hellhole.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (4, Interesting)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801388)

That is exactly what I did a few months ago. I dropped my wife's HP laptop and the screen broke. It would have been $600 to fix it so I bought an Intel Macbook. My wife loves it, and so do I. In fact she was always yelling at me for always taking it from her so I said the only way she could keep it is if I got my own Mac. A little later I got an Intel iMac and love it. I triple boot with WinXP for a few games, Visual Studio and MS SQL Server and Linux for my "fix".

There is just no reason to go to the junk that is called Vista. I hope WinXP will still allow me to do the few things I need to in MS Windows for the next 3-5 years, then I can see what the OS landscape is like.

As for others saying Apple is just as bad as MS when it comes to restrictions and DRM, they are clueless. I never had to do any "activation" on my two Intel Macs. The only DRM I have found is with iTMS, so I just don't use it or buy music. I did buy a few TV episodes from iTMS, however when I couldn't burn them to DVD to watch on my big TV, I stopped that as well. OS X is just far better than anything from MS. I get the juicy *nix that I love and a very good user experience for me as well as an easy to use experience for my wife.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801856)

I never had to do any "activation" on my two Intel Macs.

Hmm I've never had to do any "activation" on any prebuilt Windows PCs I've bought from Dell, etc. You can't build your own Mac which is where PC users come into activation issues, how does that compare?

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (2, Informative)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801948)

I have had to do activation on pre-built WinXP computers. If you change enough hardware in it, you will have to activate it. Vista is a lot more ugly when it comes to activation than WinXP is. Also, if you do an upgrade to WinXP, you will have to activate it. Upgrading a Mac, there is not activation. You could actually buy one copy of OS X and install it as much as you want, though that is not the right thing to do.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (1)

Eponymous Crowbar (974055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801460)

You are absolutely correct. I had been thinking about it myself, but I was unable to justify the extra cost. I just skimmed over a review of one of the first Dell machines shipping with Vista Home Premium, and lo and behold it costs just about as much as a new iMac. This was one of the value-oriented Dells, too. Granted, the PC would have 2x more memory but apparently Vista just sucks that into a black hole anyway. In all other ways, the configurations were very similar, and this was considered the minimum spec to run Vista with all of the features turned on (not the MS-specified minimum, but more of a practical minimum).

So my new debate is whether to accept Vista and simply work around its limitations and restrictions, or to welcome our Jobsian overlords with all of their strange ways. For instance, iTunes is considered an essential part of the iPod "experience", but I will never use it again on my iPod. How many times will my vision diverge from Steve's, and will I always be able to work around it as easily as I have with my music?

If I try Vista I won't just accept it, I would happily fight it to bend it to my will. And I am sure I would be able to beat it, but I don't know if I care enough to bother trying.

Re:That stampede sound you are hearing.... (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802068)

So my new debate is whether to accept Vista and simply work around its limitations and restrictions

      According to Microsoft's EULA: "You may not work around any technical limitations in the software"

      I think they just helped you with your decision.

Futile petitions aside (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800992)

Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?

Re:Futile petitions aside (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801154)

I think this is probably the best option we have, although I'm not sure how well it will work. Most people just buy a computer and use whatever software comes with it. And if you start to talk about why they shouldn't be using Vista, their ears turn off because you are being too technical (no matter how much you try and dumb it down).

Re:Futile petitions aside (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801264)

Turn it around. Ask them why they're "still" using Vista. Express polite astonishment when they say "It came with the computer". Compare it to the Chevy Corvair: Unsafe at any Processor Speed.

Re:Futile petitions aside (5, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801368)

And if you start to talk about why they shouldn't be using Vista, their ears turn off because you are being too technical (no matter how much you try and dumb it down).

"You shouldn't be using Vista, because it won't let you watch porn you downloaded from the Internet for free. It has this thing called DRM which will turn the good good parts to mosaic. We technical people call this downsampling. Oh, and it may even connect to Microsoft or the police and tell them what you're watching."

Re:Futile petitions aside (4, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801196)

It is, but it's hard to boycott something that most people don't have a clear understanding of. Lets face it, 80% of the people have no idea what the difference between XP and Vista is, or even what Vista even is. Furthermore, even if they do know what Vista is, they would assume it's better because it's newer (that's what I thought when I upgraded from 98SE to ME, what a disaster). There's really no chance in informing the average customer.

But, if Vista pisses off businesses, then MS has a real problem on their hands. Businesses are already reluctant to change. They're definitely going to reject Vista if it makes them less productive. At least I'm hoping that's how it would turn out.

Re:Futile petitions aside (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801378)

That's difficult to do in the business world as well, since maintenance and support for Windows XP and earlier have expiration dates.

Re:Futile petitions aside (2, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801642)

The business world has a lot of pull, and MS already extended XP support to 2011 or something. If Vista is indeed rejected by businesses then MS has plenty of time to remove the DRM and reactivation and fluff with glitter, and call it "MS Vista Industrial" - that may be acceptable (at XP prices, though.) Pretty much a small SP3 for XP, that's all that businesses want.

DingDingDingDing! (3, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801222)

And here I thought that Vista would be a technical security risk. Heh, little did I know that MS would do something idiotic like this to go with the lot. I'd be strongly dissuading ANYONE who was my client to go do this "upgrade" because of this alone (never mind the potential and REAL security risks that the OS seems to have...).

Re:Futile petitions aside (2, Interesting)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801260)

Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?

The point of protesting is to make your voice heard. If you get enough people involved, then word spreads about the problem. While the things you mention would be somewhat effective, the best predictor of effectiveness is probably the amount of people you can get involved.

IMO, telling your friends or pursuing a refund would not be nearly as effective as an online petition and a story on slashdot.

That's not to imply that any of these things will really make a significant difference. Maybe they will, maybe they won't.

Re:Futile petitions aside (4, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801400)

Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?

Not to buy. Have not given MS a dime since 1995.

Explain to friends and workplaces. I cannot recommend MS products over the alternatives. With my friends, I clearly tell them if they are asking my advice, my answer is to buy a Mac. None to date have taken my advice, and they still ask me about "Windows problems" when I politely told them that I don't do windows and that I could not help them with windows problems upfront. Workplaces. They seem to be MS dependant despite years of suggestions to change.

Refund? The principle of the thing is worth more than the money, and for most people, neither is that important to them.

All I can say is that this petition is a day late and a dollar short, but although I have fixed my microsoft problem. I still know plenty of people that don't care or just won't change from the MS problem.

I am _not_ brand loyal/disloyal. I treat all things as generic tools and will use what is best for the job at the current time, and things come and go on my shitlist, and I don't hold a permanant grudge until the company has gone too far. To date, only two companies have made my permanant shitlist, and I have brought one of them to court as well, and neither are Microsoft.

Macs were on my offlist before OS X, but they have seen the light :)

Re:Futile petitions aside (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801794)

"Refund? The principle of the thing is worth more than the money, and for most people, neither is that important to them."

The cost, to Microsoft, of the Refund is not just a lost sale. It's also the time and money that went into licensing and de-licensing that copy, and returning the money. It's not cheap for them.

There's also the fact that everyone who does this can now tell everyone they know that they got their money back for their unused copy of Windows. Eventually, it'll stick in peoples' heads that they aren't stuck with Windows.

It also gives you the ability to defuse anyone who says 'Yeah, but I've already paid for it, so I might as well use it.' If you haven't actually received the refund, they'll say it's like a rebate and you won't get it.

Petitions are not futile... (4, Informative)

Russell McOrmond (123550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801980)

The petition is to the Canadian parliament, and is on behalf of all owners of Information Technology -- not just those who choose any specific brand of hardware or software.

Our existing petitions have already had an important effect, letting politicians know that there are more constituencies in this issue than the incumbent industry associations. Our new petition tries to move away from the myths that DRM is about "content control" when in fact it is about "hardware control". This "hardware control" impacts your usage of hardware you own, regardless of whether you are using "premium content" or not.

This is also not a Microsoft and/or Apple issue, as these bad laws impact all users of technology whether or not they are ever a customer of Microsoft or Apple.

http://www.digital-copyright.ca/petition/ict/ [digital-copyright.ca]
"THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon Parliament to prohibit the application of a technical protection measure to a device without the informed consent of the owner of the device, and to prohibit the conditioning of the supply of content to the purchase or use of a device which has a technical measure applied to it. We further call upon Parliament to recognise the right of citizens to personally control their own communication devices, and to choose software based on their own personal criteria."

Re:Futile petitions aside (2, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802130)

Isn't the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy, to explain to your friends and workplaces why they shouldn't buy it, and most particularly, to aggressively pursue a refund for any bundled versions that you're forced to buy with hardware?
Stop spreading FUD -- we all know that electronic petitions are the most effective means to sway the minds of corporations, politicians, and parents everywhere!

Re:Futile petitions aside (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802236)

the most effective way to "protest" it just not buy
Didn't your mother ever teach you what the word "monopoly" means?

An internet petition, of all things? (2, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801010)

How about you just don't buy it?

Re:An internet petition, of all things? (1)

Attrition_cp (888039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801180)

If you look at the petition it is not an online petition, but one you print, sign and mail to them so the actual petition can be tabled in parliament.

The petition itself I believe isn't about Vista or any protest towards it specifically.

Re:An internet petition, of all things? (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801650)

An internet petition, of all things?

Actually the petition linked to in the summary is not an internet petition, you are supposed to print it out, and mail it to your Member of Parliament (or to a local collector if you prefer, they list many on the webpage). I signed it and I encourage all Canadians reading slashdot to take a look.

And to be clear: it is not a "petition against Vista" or something like that. It is a petition to prevent extensions to Canadian copyright law. There is currently pressure for Canada to enact DMCA-like legislation. To anyone who wants to be able to legally play a DVD on Linux in Canada, this is a major threat. Thus this is a petition stating clearly that the undersigned voters DO NOT want extensions to current copyright. This has implications for many things, Vista included.

EULA's and click thru's (4, Interesting)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801016)

There is still a lot of debate on whether EULA's and click through agreements are completely binding. I won't get into all of the arguments on both sides, but I believe that companies are afraid to really go after anyone for breaking the asnine portions of these agreements because a court might rule that these documents are not binding contracts. They are handy for threatening people in certain situations, with cease and desist letters, and for making corporate users wary about potential law suits, thus restricting their usage and options. Of course, a court could hold that they are completely binding, and then the software companies would be free to attack an breach. So each side seems to be in an uneasy truce.

Re:EULA's and click thru's (2, Interesting)

porn*! (159683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801118)

How many really read a EULA? That seems to be the real issue. If you put a sign up at a public pool that says the owners are not responsible for drowning is that enough? I really have a hard time with a EULA declaring the publisher is indemnified for all work I've lost due to bugs and crashes. OTOH, I don't know that a 'sign' that is so dense and for all practical purposes never read can/should be enforcible in either direction.

Re:EULA's and click thru's (4, Informative)

Courageous (228506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801706)

How many people really read their 10 page mortgage application? Surprisingly few. And yet the agreement is legal.

The concept is referred to as a "contract of adhesion," where insofar as the terms in the contract are those that can be reasonably expected to be found in similar contracts for similar purpose, the contract is considered binding whether or not a "meeting of the minds" has occurred over the material details of the contract. I actually don't like contracts of adhesion at all, and wish they didn't exist. But they do.

In many states, and I believe now in at least one federal appellate district, EULA's have been ruled to be contracts of adhesion. You can imagine my alarm. So what I'm telling you is that that EULA you didn't read is likely legal. Evil, but legal.

C//

Re:EULA's and click thru's (1)

zoward (188110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802252)

They give you the mortgage application to read before you've bought the house. With software, if you don't like the terms of the EULA you can decline it, and the software won't install. You won't be able to return it since you've opened the box, so you're SOL. It might be different if the terms of service were on the outside of the box ... but they'd need to print it in .0001 point to make it fit.

Re:EULA's and click thru's (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802262)

How many people really read their 10 page mortgage application? Surprisingly few. And yet the agreement is legal.

Actually, in some states, my own included, not reading some contracts before agreeing to them is grounds for the contract to be negated. That's why some contracts require you to initial each page.

The problem isn't so much the EULA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801234)

Vista will apparently enforce the EULA and DRM by 'reducing its functionality'. In other words, Microsoft can make your computer quit working. The part of the EULA that gets my goat says you can not work around the technical limitations imposed by Vista.

Re:EULA's and click thru's (3, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801236)

This has nothing to do with enforcability of EULA's. This is a statement of what will happen with your computer if you install the software, much as installation of this software will give you access to keyboards and mice and a display such as on a monitor.

The only way around it is to remove bits of the software, like Windows Defender (sounds like a misnomer, more like "MS Monopoly Ensurer" to me) which are technically forbidden by the EULA. Now, recall that most that install this won't be savvy enough to disable/remove Windows Defender, or the other "services" that need removing, and you'll see why this is a Big Deal[TM].

Legality irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801258)

The EULA states that MS may remove components or install components to ensure the copyright controls are secure.

That I don't agree to it doesn't mean the software won't actually DO this.

So do I take MS to court? I suspect the court wouldn't see it and pass it off as a fait accompli (you should have disagreed). However, I don't think the courts will look BEFORE you agree.

And even if the court agreed with you, what could MS do to stop it? Mark your card? Give you a refund?

Re:EULA's and click thru's (3, Interesting)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801572)

The people either favoring Vista or arguing against the "Vista is the reason the MS monopoly is over, by forcing people to move to XXXX" (be it Linux, MacOSX, Free BSD, pad and paper....) frequently state "Well, VISTA will be pre-installed on new machines." And that is correct, Vista will begin, almost immediately, to be installed on new machines. Dell, for example, is shipping Vista now.

The article states:

For greater certainty, the terms and conditions remove any doubt about who is in control by providing that "this agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights." For those users frustrated by the software's limitations, Microsoft cautions that "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."
If this really is in the license (I don't know) can it possibly be binding? For that matter, can ANY software license pre-installed on a computer be binding? IANAL But I think I smell a very expensive class action on the way... And I can't possibly imagine that MicroSoft doesn't see it coming... Either MS is so incredibly arrogant about what they can do to/with the end user, they think the delay between introduction/litigation/appeal is worth the potential losses, or they think it's actually enforceable. I honestly can't figure out which it is. I remeber the IE/Netscape case from a few years ago, and some of the stuff MicroSoft did in the courtroom was beyond stupid, seemed as if they really didn't care if they won or lost, because the outcome didn't matter (I'm not sure it did, come to think of it).

I'm also curious as to what form of punitive reaction occurs when the tools to work around the problematic portions of the OS are widely available, and users start to utilize them.
    Will my computer call MS (or other agancy) and report me for a DMCA violation?
    Does my license get expired and my machine refuse to boot? (One could HOPE!, A Vista machine that refuses to boot sounds like a Linux machine about to happen)

I suspect that we're going to see a lot of fireworks following the general release tomorrow. It occurs to me that, just looking at the level of piracy the RIAA quotes, there would be a significant percentage of Vista machines with those tools utilized very quickly. and ANY punitive reaction to using a workaround is going to generate a level of outrage the likes of which we probably haven't seen yet. Or maybe not, maybe people really are the lemmings that some of the major players in this market think we are.

Can we create test cases? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801748)

So each side seems to be in an uneasy truce.

Is there anything in the law that prevents me and my brother from collaborating to make a test case? For instance, I make a piece of software ("Hello, World!") with an unreasonable shrink-wrap EULA, then sue him (who's in cahoots with me) for breaching it. Can we more or less lead a judge to make a ruling on the issue?

Re:Can we create test cases? (1)

woolio (927141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802126)

Is there anything in the law that prevents me and my brother from collaborating to make a test case? For instance, I make a piece of software ("Hello, World!") with an unreasonable shrink-wrap EULA, then sue him (who's in cahoots with me) for breaching it. Can we more or less lead a judge to make a ruling on the issue?

IANAL, but this seems possible... Of course, if trial arguments end up invoking DMCA or Copyright laws, your brother might end up in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Besides, wouldn't either of you need to hire lawyers? Who pays for that? (The lawyer will probably want 1/3 of the lawsuit!)

As to your original question, replace "brother" with "evil foe" and "collaborating" with "attempting" and try to pull it off!

You will either to one of two groups a favor:
1) Yourself & most of society
2) Your evil foe

Still missing some features. (5, Funny)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801034)

I wonder if they included the blue-screen-of-death feature that I've enjoyed for such a long time.

Re:Still missing some features. (1)

BarkLouder (916884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801130)

I wonder if they included the blue-screen-of-death feature that I've enjoyed for such a long time.

That's a "standard" feature of all Windows OS's and a key baseline test for release.

Re:Still missing some features. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801734)

you have to enter the administrator password (stored on the sticky note on your monitor) 14x to get to the BSOD message now.

You should see how many times you have to type in the password to install WildTangent Web Driver!

Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve Jobs (4, Insightful)

Doomstalk (629173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801042)

Am I the only one who is getting tired of reading all kinds of "Microsoft DRM is evil!" posts, and then seeing a post the very next day talking about how awesome Apple is? One company is buckling to industry pressure and including DRM, the other has a fricking Trusted Platform Module in every new computer it makes. The double standard is infuriating.

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (3, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801106)

TPM modules aren't inherently bad. It's how they are used that makes the difference. If the owner of the computer is in charge of the module, they are a powerful tool. If someone else is, then it's a problem.

Parent not a flamebait (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801432)

nt

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (2, Insightful)

firewrought (36952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802358)

TPM modules aren't inherently bad. It's how they are used that makes the difference. If the owner of the computer is in charge of the module, they are a powerful tool. If someone else is, then it's a problem.

Umm... the whole point of TPM modules is to deny the owner full control. And even if that was not the case, that's the agenda and the intent behind this hardware. If you ignore such factors, then nothing--no artifact whatsoever--is inherently bad or good and your use of the distinction becomes vaccuous.

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801226)

Yup. Don't run from Windows to Mac. The only reason why Windows has everyone up in arms is because it's so popular. Run to Linux to save your soul. (Well, I was considering getting a Mac, but the TPM thing scared me safely back to Linux).

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (0, Flamebait)

neuroklinik (452842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801356)

One company is buckling to industry pressure and including DRM, the other has a fricking Trusted Platform Module in every new computer it makes.
Hey Moron...

http://osxbook.com/book/bonus/chapter10/tpm/ [osxbook.com]

Read the entire article this time, because you clearly didn't understand the executive summary.

STOP SPREADING FUD.

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801530)

Am I the only one who is getting tired of reading all kinds of "Microsoft DRM is evil!" posts, and then seeing a post the very next day talking about how awesome Apple is? One company is buckling to industry pressure and including DRM, the other has a fricking Trusted Platform Module in every new computer it makes. The double standard is infuriating.

So if I buy a mac, how does the DRM affect me? Do I have to worry about my computer becoming unusable if I change hardware? Do I have to worry about re-registering? Do I have to worry about registering in the first place? The answers are, of course, no, no, and no. So is there a chance Apple will delete software off of my computer without my permission as MS's built in security will? No. So what, exactly, is the issue? There is a chip with an encryption key on it in the box? Okay, so why should I care? I'm a pragmatist. If my files were being DRM'd so I could not move to something else or if Apple was restricting me in any way, maybe I'd care. Apple does put DRM on their music files, they sell, but I generally don't buy from them. I did buy a few songs once that I could not find elsewhere, but I legally stripped the DRM off with a freeware program and backed them up as a regular audio CD with no DRM. What's the problem?

I use Windows and OS X and Linux on the desktop. Currently I favor OS X because it gives me the best feature set for general tasks. If Apple starts implementing DRM in such a way as to inconvenience me, I'll migrate to something else. I'm not going to do so, however, unless the DRM does inconvenience me. I'm not being shortsighted either. Any use that prevents me from being able to move platforms would probably tip the balance away from Apple, as I value portability.

The only real restriction I've seen Apple implement with encryption is locking their software to their hardware (any Apple hardware not a specific machine). Since Apple only licenses their software to run on their platform the only people this inconveniences are people who plan to use the software but break the license, and that doesn't leave a lot of room for complaint. Would I prefer it if OS X would run on any hardware? Sure, it would be a great feature. The problem is Apple's main product would directly compete with an abusive monopoly, and that means it would die and we would not get to use it anymore. The traditional strategy for dealing with such a monopoly is to build a separate vertical chain of supply, which Apple has done. Breaking that chain before MS is stopped from their criminal monopoly abuse is not a real option for Apple, so I don't blame them at all for only licensing their OS for their hardware.

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17802274)

So if I buy a mac, how does the DRM affect me? Do I have to worry about my computer becoming unusable if I change hardware? Do I have to worry about re-registering? Do I have to worry about registering in the first place? The answers are, of course, no, no, and no
This is like saying 'my box is unhackable, therefore it is the most secure ever'... because you never connected it to the Internet. As the good old fake mac ad [youtube.com] says, Macs are great because upgrading the hardware is easy -- you just throw your old Mac away, and buy a new one. When you don't have to worry about the same copy of the OS being installed on more than one computer, you need not have any registration.

Re:Old and busted: Bill Gates New hotness: Steve J (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802336)

This is like saying 'my box is unhackable, therefore it is the most secure ever'... because you never connected it to the Internet.

No, it's a lot more like saying, "zebras are partially white." What the hell are you babbling about? You didn't address a single point in my post and instead are just writing unrelated nonsense. Get a clue.

wrestles control of the "user experience"? (0, Flamebait)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801072)

Like Mac does??

The hypocrites polluting the internet and slashdot don't complain about the fact that Apple is morally the worst company.

The fine distinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801080)

Vista license makes many restrictions on a 'per copy per install' basis and often does *not* transfer the burden of responsibility for enforcing those onto the licensee. Thus, even if you own Vista you are not under most of the terms of the license when using another person's Vista computer and they are also not responsible for seeing that you live up to the terms they agreed to. So things like reverse engineering, using 'too many' file/print services at once, etc are okay as long as you do them on another person's copy of Vista.

Microsoft does this because they don't want legal departments to advise not agreeing to a license that would put enforcement onus on the licensee (for any person accessing the system) esp due to spyware/adware problems. They do 'per copy per install' basis to simplify the license and make it easier to sell new licenses for new computers. But it opens up some huge holes in enforcement of the terms.

Good article (2)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801090)

Thankyou. I regain a bit of faith in the world when mass media says stuff like this. What a pity it's in Canada. (No offense to Canadians, but it's the US where change needs to happen). But ... yeah I am sick of reading narrow-minded articles praising Vista. This article, while short, tells a much fuller story. Cheers!

Wow, this Windows Defender(TM) seems like a piece of work. It can delete any piece of software it wants. firefox.exe, for example. (Come on, with all the security holes, it's practically spyware!)

Re:Good article (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801250)

Could you point me to descriptions of these Windows Defender security holes, please? That could be some interesting reading.

Re:Good article (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801740)

Well I was just going by the description in TFA:

Vista also incorporates Windows Defender, an anti-virus program that actively scans computers for "spyware, adware, and other potentially unwanted software." The agreement does not define any of these terms, leaving it to Microsoft to determine what constitutes unwanted software. Once operational, the agreement warns that Windows Defender will, by default, automatically remove software rated "high" or "severe,"even though that may result in other software ceasing to work or mistakenly result in the removal of software that is not unwanted.

Sounds pretty nasty. Beyond my (semi)joke example of firefox.exe, this can be a problem - Norton for example continually detects netcat [wikipedia.org] as "malicious software" and tells me to delete it. No... it isn't. It's a well-regarded open source tool for open network communications, which can be used for hacking (just as Paint can be used for child porn). Stop trying to delete it. So... if Defender detects nc, it may just delete it, which would infuriate me. It's my computer, damnit. You are my Operating System. You delete what I tell you to delete, and no more!

How's this for a great feature (from the wiki [wikipedia.org] ):

Windows Defender in Windows Vista automatically blocks all startup items that require administrator privileges to run (this is considered a bad behaviour for a startup item). There is no known easy way to automatically unblock these items, the only suggestion given is to "contact the software vendor for an updated version" which is Vista compatible (does not require administrator privileges to run) ... If there is no updated version of the startup item, the only currently known way to circumvene this behavior is to disable UAC altogether.

So... once again does not give users choice in what programs can and can't do (this is fine as a default, but you need to give advanced users a choice) - and the only way to disable it is to either update software to comply with MS's commandments, or completely disable UAC... is this not precisely why everyone made Admin accounts in XP and the security was nonexistant? MS need to rethink their policy on user choice AND security.

I'm not going to find out how bad it is because I am never going to get Vista.

Out of interest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801880)

What is the preferred MS alternative to using startup for something you need to run as root on login? I can think of a few ways to do it on nix.

Re:Out of interest... (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802010)

Well, it sort of makes sense that things you need at startup are often going to need to do admin-type things. So I don't know... but there has to be some way. Maybe they want everything to run as a "Windows Service" [wikipedia.org] - a special type of program-that's-not-a-program. (Based on the wiki, that could well be it). I don't know much about services, but MS wants programs that run in the background to be services instead.

Re:Good article (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801894)

You are my Operating System. You delete what I tell you to delete, and no more!

      Careful mgiuca! (Flashback to the days of TRON, and a laser beam slowly emerges from a secret compartment right behind your chair) The operating system might decide to delete YOU!

-----END OF LINE

Re:Good article (1)

ToriaUru (750485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801434)

Yes, Michael Geist is a good guy who tells it like it is. Kudos to him for speaking out on our rights that are being eroded. As a Canadian, damn right I'll be signing that petition! Keep up the good work for sure. BoingBoing is a richer place for having Michael Geist to quote and cheer along.

Market forces speak (1)

koan (80826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801112)

Don't buy Vista, talk people out of buying it, and when they get a new computer insist on XP or Linux. (I would say Apple but they aren't much better)
If it doesn't sell corporations won't try to do this.

Re:Market forces speak (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802202)

Bah.. How about trying to give balanced info to someone considering Vista and *gasp* let the person see if it suits his/her needs?

Sure, you have favorite software, I understand that, but that sort of behavior is just the geek version of religious zealots knocking on the door and trying to teach me the "right" way.

And make sure you get... (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801114)

the 'upgrade' version of Vista too (see other /. post) Been using windows since dos days, but I guess it's finally time to join the *nix crowd when next time comes to upgrade.

This calls for some new legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801140)

There needs to be a federal law that requires citizens to hire a lawyer before purchasing an operating system.

Re:This calls for some new legislation (1, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801844)

requires citizens to hire a lawyer before purchasing an operating system.

      Or was that purchasing a lawyer before you hire/license an operating system?

Where's the buzz? (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801182)

Is it just me, or is there a complete lack of any kind of buzz around Vista?

A search on Google News (UK) brings up loads of articles with negative titles "Buying Vista? Get a guarantee", "Windows Vista: Where Is The Wow?", "Windows Vista: the best reason to buy a Mac?", "Windows Vista disappoints, so get a Mac". And that's just in the first half of the results.

It really is quite amazing for a product that Microsoft has spend billions and many years to develop.

Of course the sad thing is that, because of its strangle hold on the market, it will still make billions and will be able to declare the launch a success.

Re:Where's the buzz? (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801486)

If things go poorly enough, the stranglehold could be lost. As for myself, the only thing typing me to a Windows platform on one machine at the moment is games, but MS has done such a good job (relatively) on te xbox 360 that I could see that requirement going away, allowing me to run *nix across the board.

Re:Where's the buzz? (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802138)

Yes, I am in the same boat. The *only* reason I run Windows XP at the moment is because I play games - titles that are not available for Linux at all - without that I would be running Linux as my desktop without hesitation. The problem for me is simply that I cannot adapt to playing console games (even if the titles I want to play, all MMORPGs - were available for a console that is). Until such time as OSS can somehow pry the games companies out of lapdancing for Microsoft only, or the games companies themselves wake up and start developing for the Mac or Linux as well as Windows (which Microsoft will break arms to prevent of course), I am stuck. When XP stops being able to run games, I guess I have to give up playing them.

Re:Where's the buzz? (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802366)

Well this is just it really - it's gotten to the point (and maybe it did with XP too, I don't remember) where MS do not need to "sell" Windows at all. If they did no marketing at all there would be no difference. Windows sells itself - as in - when you buy a computer, Windows grabs your wallet out of your pocket and buys a copy of itself for you. Such is the power of lock-in + vendor deals/bullying.

Having said that, there is an awful amount of negative publicity, as you say, and that is helpful.

It's all about marketing (2, Funny)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801328)

And so far MS's marketing is sucking really bad from what I've seen.

Tried to open Office 2007 and got a message about a license key and if I wanted to enter it. I clicked "No," and the entire screen went black and wouldn't come back up.

I shook my head and laughed as I walked away.

edit (2, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801352)

something happened to my message...

I meant to explain that I was browsing at Best Buy and tried out their main display computer running Vista. It was set up at the end of an aisle with signs and speakers proclaiming what a great step up Vista was.

I guess I need a marketing department of my own to vet my posts before I click submit.

Who owns what ? (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801394)

If you are [...] think that the owner of computers should be in control of what they own, [...]
<sarcasm>
Well, Microsoft Corp. owns Microsoft Windows Vista, and by extension your computer (*), so, what's the point ?
</sarcasm>

(*) I mean, are you a computer user or a Microsoft OS end-user bound by license terms ?

how much it matters: ZERO (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801466)

it matters not what the Vista licensing is. those that are going to get it are going to get it regardless of the license.

oh no, it's bad for consumers? but wait, it's good for consumers? you know what?

it just doesn't matter, it's what MS is providing.

deal with it and quit the endless WHINING

as I once heard Peter Tosh say "Lie with Dogs, wake with Fleas"

there are other options. no one forced anyone to buy those lousy Ford Pintos. but we know how that story ends too

Property rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801508)

If you bought something (or a copy of something) you have rights under statutory law, no need to muddy the water with doublespeak. Who's side are these petitioners on?

"you may not work around..." Stunning! (4, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801522)

"you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

That's absolutely stunning. I wonder exactly how broadly that could be interpreted?

If I buy any kind of third-party utility... antivirus software, backup software, a defragmenter... isn't that "working around" technical limiations in the software Microsoft provides? Isn't Firefox arguable a "workaround" for technical limitations in Internet Explorer?

It's about time to stop calling it a "personal computer" and start calling it a "Microsoft corporate computer."

what does that mean? (1)

dk.r*nger (460754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801528)

Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user
Since when is a user in control of his user experience? Isn't the whole point of a user oriented system (operating or other) to provide a user experience?

Anyway, no matter how much it sucks, Vista doesn't steal your computer, and as such you don't need lawmakers or law enforcement to protect you. Download and burn an Ubuntu CD, and off you go.

Migrate to GNU/Linux, not Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801542)

Our company did last year, cities of Vienna and Munich did, French parliament did, it should work out very nicely for you too. Our former XP users love KDE.

No need to put yourself through pains when you can improve security, save money and achieve a good deal of vendor independence all at the same time. Why support the Microsoft monopoly by paying ridiculous prices for bug ridden software with DRM restrictions, when you can run Free software on the industry standard (and thus inexpensive) hardware?

Knowing everything I know now, I only regret that we did not migrate to GNU/Linux sooner.

Yawn, more "Vista Sucks" posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801800)

Ok Ok Ok, we get the point. Some people don't like the new version of Windows. IS anyone going to be swayed at this point? I'll be happily buying Vista, I haven't read anything about it that convinces me that it will strangle my kittens in the middle of the night, or spontaneously blow up my house. I've always preferred the newest copy of windows over the old one, and plan on buying a new PC anyway. I don't use itunes to buy mp3s, and I don't watch HD video on my PC, so I'm not bothered by all the DRM stuff. it would be nice to get 1 or 2 non-vista bashing articles a day on /, or (heaven forbid) an unbiased article on the new O/s that will be on 95% of peoples desktops.

In response to TFA... (1)

Seismologist (617169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801806)

I'd have to comment on TFA and excerpt that, while yes you pay money to receive an operating system from MS, you technically do not own it, and this is legally agreed upon when you accept the EULA after you purchase Windows. The operating system is licensed to you, and this is the MS business model. It doesn't make sense trying to petition a change in MS's successful (sales) business model, nobody in Corporate America would that, in fact it is against the corporate company charter. If you read the fine print of the EULA (I have, btw), MS would refund you the full price of their OS (e.g. license) if you do not agree to the EULA. They aren't forcing you to accept their license as this would be illegal. They are plenty on alternatives other than MS to use as an operating system. In closing: You don't purchase an OS from Microsoft you purchase a LOSS (licensed operating system scheme)

How's that again? (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801834)

If you ... think that the owner ... should be in control of what they own, rather than some third party...

Hm. I wonder what this writer would say to the "intellectual property" owner who claims the same "right" with regards to his copyrighted music or software?

Protecting tangible technology property rights doe (3, Interesting)

Russell McOrmond (123550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802140)

If you are curious what I would say, just ask.

Speaking to a group of copyright holders about this issue, Stewart Baker, Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for policy, said, "It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it's important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days."

Nothing in this petition diminishes the legitimate rights of copyright holders. What it does is recognize the age-old saying, which is "Your right to swing your cane ends at my nose". IE: A copyright holders right to protect their copyright ends at my property rights.

Anyone else find it amusing... (2, Funny)

TBone (5692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801914)

...that the petition is the PITR petition?

I wonder how much user freedom Pitr would want people to have once he takes over Google...

What is Microsoft actually selling? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802054)

When you pay money, weather it's a purchase, rental or contract, you are informed what you are buying and how long you are going to have use of it. With a purchase, you generally have at least a month to return it if it doesn't work, more time to get it repaired under warranty and thereafter you can fix it yourself.

I have no idea what Microsoft is selling when you buy a "Windows Vista Box". They are saying they can change or cancel functionality of the product at any time, even one day after purchase, and without a notice. Even if its a rental, they have to give a 30 day notice and then refund prorated rent fee. Contracts that ask for money without the other party having any obligations are generally considered illegal - see consumer scums and pyramid schemes.

I hope Windows Home sales are eventually ruled illegal as well, with Microsoft made to at least refund money if it messes up user's machine with Windows Genuine Check or content blurring. As for business additions, businesses that fall for that deserve what they get. Realistically, sensible companies can settle for a 5 year rental with partial refunds if functionality is interrupted.

Cutting through the fluff and fud... (1, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802090)

Wow, he was pretty unspecific there about what he was talking about.

Maybe it's about the HD Content Protection tech again which we've seen stories on here at Slashdot ad nauseum by now. Why is the editors even still approving this stuff? We'll soon enough know ever Slashdot members' stance on the matter. :-p

Anyway... I agree DRM is stupid, but shouldn't these guys be barking at the paranoid media companies trying to enforce that junk, not Microsoft? Vista provides merely an implementation of the HDCP standards that are being pushed out. As long as these guys whines at Vista, nothing will change, because Microsoft will always be the kind of guys that wants to at least provide their users the option to use protected media if they really, really want to. (you aren't required to, and you're free to pirate DRM-less stuff and play it back on Vista perfectly fine) It's like he thinks Microsoft thought it was a good idea to arbitrarily limit users in how they can view protected media. In that case, he needs to provide a major part of his article giving convincing conspiracy-free details on how Microsoft would exactly profit from that. Please... Wake up and smell the fresh MPAA air. MS may be huge and bad and all, but isn't it obvious who's pulling the strings here? There's more than one behemoth developing Vista at play here.

And when you've got a more balanced view on the situation, maybe it's even possible to realize that Vista can play free media as freely and unrestricted as OS X or Linux, and actually see that Vista only provides the option to playback DRM'ed content, just like OS X provides the option to playback FairPlay stuff, or Linux provides you the option to install non-free libraries with truly draconian licenses that would make baby Gates cry. Is this the operating systems' faults?

How much computing power? (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802092)

Moreover, he calculated that the technological controls would require considerable consumption of computing power with the system conducting 30 checks each second to ensure that there are no attacks on the security of the premium content.

That sounds a little over blown. Max video bitrate is 40 Mbps (or is it MBytes/s?). So every million bits or so you check to make sure all is on the up and up. This doesn't sound very computationally intensive. Am I missing something?

Refuse help requests from Vista using relatives ? (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802218)

I'm considering refusing any requests to help anyone (friends, relatives) that uses Vista. In fact since I am not going to, and not able to, upgrade my Windows box (rarely used) to Vista I may not know about new features or methods anyway.

  I'd recommend Ubuntu but it's still only 95% ready as far as I am concerned, I can't picture an aunt using it there are some difficulties to overcome especially file permissions I can't imagine how to explain that to someone who is barley comfortable with just web browsing and e-mail.

Windows Defender... (1)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802222)

There appears to be a lot of hubbub about Windows Defender automatically deleting things at will. However, the article is clear that it only deletes things it considers really bad "...by default."

While I'm not on Microsoft's side, that little phrase does temper the idea that everything has been taken away from the user. That implies that the "feature" can be disabled. I'd prefer if the entire thing could be removed, but the fact that many of these features can be disabled is a bit of a bonus.

I understand that the next step is to include features like this that cannot be disabled, but at this point, I'm more interested in the idea of Microsoft randomly requiring revalidation or reactivation. How many people have had false negatives for validation? How often will Vista decide to reduce my functionality because it did a random check in the background and determined that Vista was somehow not Genuine(TM)?

Survey at codeproject (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802282)

The survey at codeproject shows a marked lack of enthusiasm(http://www.codeproject.com/script/surve y/detail.asp?survey=643)
and that is very MS oriented site.

I spoke with my wallet... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802422)

I spoke with my wallet some time ago and bought a Mac. Its not perfect, but there is certainly a philosphy that the user controls the system. If you can't control it, then the system doesn't make you think you do. MS-Windows is very much 'the you don't know what you doing' philosophy. An example of this is in Excel: try pasting a file:/// into a cell and see what happens - grrr - ok this is not Windows, but it is the same company and the same school of thought.

BTW Microsoft's Mac business unit seems to live in universe separate to the rest of the company, and is actually surprisingly capabale to putting out well thought out products, which aren't hindered by the above philosophy.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...