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495 comments

Free... (5, Funny)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667347)

Free as in Linux? No, free as in Microsoft!

Re:Free... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667465)

Free as in speech? No, free as in DMCA,RIAA,MPAA,BSA,FBI,NSA,MAFIA,V14GR4,C14L15,...

Re:Free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667581)

Free as in lunch? Yes!

Which is the catch? (5, Funny)

amccaf1 (813772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667363)

The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program.
Wait, which is the catch: the fact that they will monitor your use, or the implication that you'll be using it?

Re:Which is the catch? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667423)

I'm a microsoft/windows fanboy and I completely disagree with your viewpoint about windows sucking, but i'll freely admit that I laughed after reading your comment. Congrats.

Re:Which is the catch? (0, Flamebait)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667569)

Well, you have to at least admit that XP is still much better than Vista.

Re:Which is the catch? (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667625)

Well, you have to at least admit that XP is still much better than Vista.

True. It's much easier to get for 'free' and chances are all kinds of people will be monitoring you, not just M$. ;)

Re:Which is the catch? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667981)

No... I used XP for 5 years and now I have about 6 months using Vista. Vista is much better (neither have ever crashed/frozen on me).

Re:Which is the catch? (1, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667797)

The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program.

This gives the false impression that Microsoft somehow does not monitor the use of Vista for non-participants! Every single Vista user is monitored... actually every single Windows user AND Office user is continuously monitored for Genuine Disadvantage from Windows 2000 onwards, if not earlier.

Will Microsoft add these freeloaders / testers while reporting Vista sales? Why not simply admit failure; accept that Vista was a crappy effort; and actually write a new OS capable of running on existing hardware; and existing software apps? The entire PC ecosystem has been broken by Vista; and the customer (even clueless home users) has revolted; taking his business elsewhere (Apple / Linux) and ditching Windows altogether.

Everybody from the hardware OEMs to software developers has lost out because of Vista... so they're going cross-platform (Java) or Linux (the EEE PC from Asus). If Microsoft does not abandon Vista immediately and cut its losses; pretty soon it will have to abandon Windows AND Office entirely.

Not accurate. (5, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667365)

They want to monitor whatever you are currently using today, XP or Vista, and won't give the goods until after three months of watching your stuff.

Re:Not accurate. (2, Interesting)

lionchild (581331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667485)

And what if you're not using XP or Vista currently? Are you just left out, or do they have a linux tool to monitor you?

I've got a machine still loaded with OS/2. And a nice little G4 with OS X 10.4.11.

Simple, you don't qualify... (2, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667567)

They only want to spy on current users of their software, evidently. So you can get a free copy of Windows, but only if you are already running Windows. Guess they are not out to capture non-Windows users (they probably don't even fathom that concept).

Simple, you don't mingle well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667689)

"Guess they are not out to capture non-Windows users (they probably don't even fathom that concept)."

Don't worry. Your "guantanamo" is coming soon enough.

Re:Not accurate. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667491)

"They want to monitor whatever you are currently using today, XP or Vista..."

Which is another catch. They will only give you a "free" version if you are already a Microsoft customer. They want to install monitoring software on your box to upload to their server. So Linux and Mac users looking to score are SOL.

More specifically... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667599)

Only recent MS OS customers. The last copy (i.e. only one I could install somewhere legally) of Windows that existed in this household was Windows 2000 (came on a system inherited from somewhere else). But, that would mean they were trying to market and have *new* customers, that's just crazy talk, companies don't want a larger customer base, no way...

What happens if you STOP participating? (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667375)

I'm to lazy to RTFA, so, any idea what happens if you suddenly stop responding to their survey questions?

Re:What happens if you STOP participating? (5, Informative)

R4nneko (1194727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667415)

From the FAQ: If I decide to stop participating, how do I opt out? Your participation is entirely voluntary, so you may withdraw from the program at any time, with no consequence. If you decide to withdraw from the program, send us an e-mail at winpanel@microsoft.com with the word "remove" in the subject line, and we will take care of it. You should also uninstall our software. It then gives instructions to uninstall the software. And also, you don't get the software until you have participated for a certain amount of time.

I presume.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667421)

They won't send the product to you. They only send you the 'prize' after they are satisfied, after three months of monitoring on whatever you are doing.

pr0n ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667379)

Use it only for browsing pr0n! heh heh he

Webcam + Wood Maul (5, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667389)

The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program.

This is how I would go about this. I would get a free copy of vista. Then, I would set web cam up outside on the driveway. I would grab a wood maul and just go to town on the disc, and do my best to savor the thought of MS technicians staring on in horror.

They'd be pretty happy, I'd think. (5, Funny)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667621)

They're still going to count it as another person "using" Vista. I'm guessing they'd be pretty happy. I can see the marketing spin now. "Even a skeptic like Jared found that the Vista user experience was extremely satisfying."

Re:Webcam + Wood Maul (5, Funny)

Darby (84953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667639)

I would grab a wood maul and just go to town on the disc, and do my best to savor the thought of MS technicians staring on in horror.

You misspelled "longing".

Re:Webcam + Wood Maul (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667677)

Install it on a system. Write a script to constantly browse the most absurd things or nonstop linux stuff and then let it sit in the corner for a few months, until you qualify for the free copy.

Re:Webcam + Wood Maul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667887)

Can I watch? It'd be like porn for the open source community. _________________________________________________________________ If you can't beat it, be assimilated by it. Resistance is futile.

No longer available (5, Informative)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667393)

At least not the free gift part. From an email received from Microsoft posted to hardwareanalysis.com forums:

"What happened to the free product option?

Thank you for your interest in the feedback program. Due to overwhelming response, the supply of gifts have been exhausted so we have closed our free product offer on 12/11/2007 at 2pm. Thanks to everyone that participated!"

Re:No longer available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667411)

I think the problem was that Vista still overpriced...

Re:No longer available (1)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667487)

They must have only offered 3 copies because I can't see an 'overwhelming' response to get Vista, even if it is free.

Re:No longer available (5, Insightful)

moondo (177508) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667785)

This is probably something to do with sites like Slickdeals.net that caught on the deal earlier and maxed out the freebie. Just one of their threads [slickdeals.net] on this deal has over 47,000 views.

this is going to be bad (1)

zionian117 (1068050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667401)

this is going to be really bad if everyone rejects this offer too.. Funny too. I'm scared that if this is successful, it will show how less people care about their privacy.(yep, we have seen that with all those social networking sites with those drunk photos.) No thanks Microsoft, I love my ubuntu

Honeypot (5, Funny)

fractalVisionz (989785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667457)

I should set up a honeypot with their products. Hopefully when they are watching, they will get a virus or infected by a bot net.

Hide your own habits... use a VM! (5, Insightful)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667459)

Instead of letting them see every single thing you do on your computer for a whole 3 months (or longer... who knows what stays on your computer after installing the software), why not install Windows XP in a VM, install their crap, run it once or twice a week to "check your email" or whatever, and then after three months, collect your software? They only see what goes on in the VM, you get your free Vista and everyone's happy. Well, if using Vista can be considered as something that would make you happy.

Just to show how bad their monitoring actually is:

3. Additional data collection

The following list describes some examples of additional data collection our software performs:

  • Windows settings and usage, such as the number of user accounts on the computer and the view settings for Control Panel (that is, if you use the default Category view or the Classic view to display Control Panel).
  • Details about your computer hardware, such as processor type and speed (as well as the number of processors), system memory, video memory, and other hardware configuration information.
  • File and folder information, such as the number of files and folders located in common places (for example, in Documents).
    * Which programs you open (for example, which application you use to read your e-mail).
    * Changes you make to your hardware or software.
    * Problems you encounter, such as application crashes.

They're basically looking at everything you do. Here's my favorite bit from the whole thing:

This sounds good, but I'm still concerned. Is this anything like the "spyware" I've heard about?
No, this is not spyware. You choose to participate in the Windows Feedback Program and you can easily withdraw from the Program at any time with no penalty whatsoever.

This sounds like spyware? Yeah, I'll say. But noooooooo, it's not at all harmful for your computer. Rigghhhtttt....

Re:Hide your own habits... use a VM! (5, Insightful)

Kawahee (901497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667513)

They're basically looking at everything you do
Yes, they're looking at everything they do with Windows, not everything you do with your data.

Re:Hide your own habits... use a VM! (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667523)

As long as the data isn't personally identifiable there shouldn't be a real privacy concern. The problem is you have no way of knowing for sure if it is personal data or not. For example, the number of files and folders on your hard drive isn't really sensitive personal information, I wouldn't care if MS or anyone knew that, but the names of the files and folders would be a concern to me. Same with e-mail and user accounts. How many e-mails I get a day, how long I have Thunderbird open, those aren't privacy issues but things like the sender, subject, and body of the e-mails would be. With so many skeptical eyes pointing at them, I doubt MS would try and sneak something in there that looks at more than it's supposed to, or more than they admit to in the agreement. They'd be risking a lot and not getting very much in return. Ultimately it's a question of whether or not you trust MS, personally I don't have any suspicions that they're collecting more than they say they are, but I don't blame anyone for not giving MS the benefit of the doubt.

Re:Hide your own habits... use a VM! (5, Funny)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667637)

Cause for concern:

Will I be able to see what data I'm sharing with you?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to look at your specific data. We designed the Windows Feedback Program software specifically to avoid any interference with your work or how your computer functions. To do that, the data you are sharing is stored in a binary format (zeros and ones) rather than in text format. Storing the data in binary format makes it very small and easy to share with us, but difficult for you to translate and interpret.
Damn, stored in zeros and ones, nothing I can do, it's binary. There's no way they could let me know how to understand it. If only it were just zeros, or ones, or maybe some twos...

Re:Hide your own habits... use a VM! (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667719)

That is either shocking incompetence or hilarious parody. Did that really come from their privacy policy?

Re:Hide your own habits... use a VM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667717)

If I had heard about this earlier, I would have installed Sony's Rootkit and ran World of Warcraft (with their Warden software) along with their monitoring software and seen how they responded to one another. :p

It would be like a legitimate spyware shootout. I don't know if my Barton 2800 would handle it very well though.

Hide your own definitions...use exclamation points (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667821)

"They're basically looking at everything you do. "

Only if you redefine "everything" for moderation purposes.

I'm actually happy with Linux (0, Redundant)

pravuil (975319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667473)

not going to do it.

Re:I'm actually happy with Linux (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667731)

I woulda done it, ran it on my old AMD3000+, 2GB Ram, GeForceFX5200 trying to play Crysis while compressing video with downloading p0rn in the back ground.

Give them a nice bunch of panics AND get a free coaster out of it

Re:I'm actually happy with Linux (1)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667767)

You owe SCO $699 then you Linux using fag

Re:I'm actually happy with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667885)

Am I the only one that thinks it's time to retire this one?

PS - For a "professional troll", you sure aren't up on current events...

Prior Art (5, Insightful)

madbawa (929673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667501)

They want us to let them monitor use of their program?? Don't they do that already???

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667723)

Yes, but they'll be honest about it.

i don't see the issue (5, Insightful)

xubu_caapn (1086401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667517)

I don't see the issue here. No question of privacy really, people can choose to do this or not, and it's openly the catch. Microsoft probably wants to watch people's use of it to see what people have trouble with and what they can improve..

Re:i don't see the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667635)

No one really said there was much of an issue; the article is just some information about a "deal" some people might be interested in. That said, I have no idea why this is a slashdot article, let alone news.

Re:i don't see the issue (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667661)

I only use Windows for tech support, the occasional Windows-only utility, and games. All my real work is done under Ubuntu or OS X. I'd take Microsoft up on their offer, if for no other reason than to - ugh - get more familiar with Vista.

Re:i don't see the issue (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667857)

don't see the issue here. No question of privacy really, people can choose to do this or not, and it's openly the catch. Microsoft probably wants to watch people's use of it to see what people have trouble with and what they can improve..

Funny thing is they may find people never use ebay, paypal, or online banking. (Would you log into any of these on a monitored computer?)

Upon further digging (3, Interesting)

HadesInjustice (872477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667535)

Does the software impact the performance of my computer? "We have gone to great lengths to design the Windows Feedback Program software to limit the amount of computer resources it uses to collect data. You may see a minor change in performance when you first log in to Windows; however, this typically only occurs during the first few minutes after login while we are collecting basic configuration information." In my opinion, that translate to... "The print out of the code is so lengthy the printer ran out of ink, twice. The software will not severely hamper the performance of the computer (as compare to Vista that already used up ~500mb of RAM on idle, there isn't all that much performance left to hamper anyway). After you first log in, we are going to collect some basic information and make sure you have an authentic Windows OS. We might decide to sue you or disable your OS if we found it to be pirated."

Re:Upon further digging (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667597)

Do people still not understand how Vista manages RAM? This is slashdot, of all places I'd expect the people here to understand pre-emptive caching. That 50% RAM usage isn't Vista, it's all kinds of stuff that you are constantly opening being kept in memory so that the next time you need it the program can open faster. It learns your habits and caches stuff it knows you frequently use. It's the reason why WMP11, firefox, or word opens nearly instantly when I click on it. You can even turn this feature off it bugs you so much, it's a service called superfetch.

There are legitimate reasons for disliking Vista, there's so many in fact that you don't need to be using this false one to pad your list of complaints. When you do, it weakens your argument and makes it look like you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Re:Upon further digging (5, Interesting)

HadesInjustice (872477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667651)

I am sorry if I am a chemical engineer and not a EE or CS major. But if what you said is true, then the RAM usage on a perfectly new computer with Vista shouldn't used up around 500mb of RAM either, but they are. Also, if it already cache the information, then how come every time I open Firefox or Winamp, I see a clear jump in my RAM memory? What I mean is...why is it that Vista sit at idle at around ~500mb, and the moment I open firefox (which I have been using on a daily basis for months), it jump to around 650-700mb? If it is already cached, shouldn't it stay relatively constant?

2girls1cup (3, Funny)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667543)

I would setup a dedicated box with XP on it that would just sit their with their spy software installed and 2girls1cup running on replay. Stuff it in the basement and forget about it for three months :D

Aikon-

Re:2girls1cup (1)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667859)

with their spy software installed and 2girls1cup running on replay

oh god.. I didnt need to see that.... why do I have to be so curious and google everything I don't know about :'(

yup (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667575)

2007-12-11 00:00:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.hotporn.com/
2007-12-11 00:15:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.reallyhotporn.com/
2007-12-11 02:15:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.hot-girl-on-girl.com/
2007-12-11 04:30:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.hot-threesomes-with-food.com/
2007-12-11 09:30:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.midget-cocks.com/
2007-12-11 10:00:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.men-on-men.com/
2007-12-11 10:15:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://google.com/?q=how+to+tell+parents+i'm+gay
2007-12-11 10:30:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://www.men-on-men.com/
2007-12-11 10:31:00; PROGRAM: Explorer; DOCUMENT: http://google.com/?q=how+to+remove+stains+from+wallpaper

It's like this EVERY DAMN NIGHT!

I want the bonus offer (1)

zazenation (1060442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667577)

I'd like them to throw in the "32,768 FREE hours of AOL" disks too.
I need to know which one I can throw farther.

There's more then one catch. (1)

fremean (1189177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667601)

Catch #1: You have to let them watch you
Catch #2: You have to use their software (hugs linux)
Catch #3: You have to be American.

Now, I don't know about you lot, but I really don't care about #1 - if they can gleam useful information from my porn habits and game play time, go ahead.

Catch #2 is more of an issue for me, cos I hate using Microsoft software

Catch #3: Who wants to be an American? Why is my feedback any less important then an Americans feedback? Just because I say G'day at the top of my emails doesn't make my opinion that Windows/Microsoft sux any less valid.

Re:There's more then one catch. (1)

Darby (84953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667713)

Just because I say G'day at the top of my emails doesn't make my opinion that Windows/Microsoft sux any less valid.

Ahh, but it calls all of your opinions into question. I mean if you're saying G'day when it's really G'night, then how can you be trusted?!?

Re:There's more then one catch. (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667911)

Who wants to be an American? Why is my feedback any less important then an Americans feedback?
Depends on the scope of their marketing analysis. If they are looking into the habits of users in the U.S. market and/or selling the data they collect to companies interested in American users, then yes your feedback would be less important.

Re:There's more then one catch. (1)

fremean (1189177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667929)

The problem being that 90% of software and products for American users end up being used by the rest of the world, and we might be, perhaps, getting a little tired of the limited view American users appear to have?

Hey Microsoft (1)

trouser (149900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667607)

I'll tell that what I use it for if you don't send me a copy of Vista. I'm a using it to download some porn. And I'm a using it to download some porn. And now I'm playing solitaire while I download some porn. And I'm using it to download some porn.

My thought process was as such... (4, Funny)

definate (876684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667647)

Something FREE! That's good!

Vista Ultimate? That's bad!

Monitoring? That's bad!

Can I downgrade it to Windows XP Pro and get a free Windows XP Pro license that's legit? That'd be good! ...

Just seems you can't even give Vista away.

Re:My thought process was as such... (3, Funny)

nuggetman (242645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667747)

Take this OS, but beware, it contains monitoring software.
That's bad.
But it comes with a free legitimate license!
That's good!
The legitimate license also contains monitoring software.
That's bad.
But you get your choice of XP or Vista!
That's good!
There are no more copies of XP, only Vista. .....That's bad.
Can I go now?

Re:My thought process was as such... (1)

falconcy (1082517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667881)

Even if you did agree to it, notice that it is only available in the good ol US of A, yet being flaunted here on the WORLD wide web by Microsoft, a company that claims to have world wide operations. Does this smell of DMCA and it's jurisdiction?

Beta Tester anyone? (2, Insightful)

terrible76 (855014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667659)

Sounds like its not free, but a way to save money instead of paying someone to test the software bugs. Give it away and just don't call it Beta testing. I think its more complicated and business wise then just spyware.

So, no changes... (1)

lnxpilot (453564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667691)

"The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program."

???

They've been doing that all along.

There have been countless cases and articles of M$ spying on Windows users, so what's new?

Uhm, that they're now doing it *openly*?

comScore not good (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667705)

Note that the site mentions that comScore is part of the Windows Feedback Program. ("Microsoft, comScore, and MarketTools employees are not eligible to participate.") Also note that comScore has in the past been involved in very pernicious man-in-the-middle HTTPS attacks [stanford.edu] that have allowed them to sniff bank passwords (and everything else, of course) by installing a special certificate in end-user's browsers. If it were me, I wouldn't install any executables that may have been authored by comScore until there's been enough time for them to be thoroughly vetted by independent third parties.

Free Beta (1)

embsysdev (719482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667733)

I've given away software to beta testers too, but shouldn't a program released a year ago be out of beta by now? ;)

But seriously, I'm glad they are soliciting feedback for improving the user experience. Maybe the next update will have fewer distractions.

Alright, so they're watching you. (5, Insightful)

Zorque (894011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667791)

At least it's completely voluntary and you make ~$400 off of it. Why are people getting upset that Microsoft is paying you for providing them with information? It's not like it's mandatory for Windows users.

While I agree... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667849)

That putting this up as a program isn't horrible so long as it is totally voluntary and glaringly obvious (though saying 'it's not spyware' in a faq answer is kind of disingenuous') However, saying you make ~$400 off of it is not a good characterization. First off, $400 is the MSRP of Vista Ultimate retail box, without upgrade. If you can participate in this program, first you'd likely be qualified for the upgrade cost. Secondly, OEM pricing is an option if not intending to 'upgrade' your current system (you'd be making a new one, fair chance). Putting all that aside, there are handfuls of ways to get Vista for 'free' or at least for less (i.e. the marketing programs that offer Vista as the free gift).

Simply, there is a good chance the user never would have possibly paid $400, and if someone actually wants Vista, there are plenty of less than blatantly obvious ways to acquire it legally without that money paid. Plus, with all the questionable press reception Vista has received, it's in Microsoft's best interest to give out the software as they can under whatever pretense they can. This way, they preserve the commercial image and pricing, but expand the market share.

I'll get modded troll for this, but still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21667805)

They are not forcing anyone to do this. What you guys don't understand is that there are many people in this world who consider their privacy to mean nothing, Microsoft at least considers it to be equal a copy of their software. I'm sure that many slashdotters would say it's ok for girls to sell their bodies, but computer users selling their privacy, oh noes...

We can now officially say (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667815)

...that Vista is so bad Microsoft had to give it away to get people to use it.

Make it productive. (4, Interesting)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667827)

Why not install this on a couple VMs (or actual machines sitting around) and then install all kinds of free software on it? Let them chew on the fact that so many people, straight away after installing, go get Firefox and Open Office and GIMP and VLC and Thunderbird and Pidgin.. and never bother using IE or Office or whatever else. Make sure they also see all the useless services you disable and how quickly you can shut off UAC.

Impossible to unsubscribe (4, Interesting)

FliesLikeABrick (943848) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667835)

I tried to sign up so that I could run my free XP in a virtual machine with this spy software of theirs and see exactly what kind of stuff it reports. I didn't realize they were out of "gifts" and completed their survey before realizing this. I went through the survey and answered their questions honestly, saying that I use Linux and never use Windows anymore. 5 minutes later, I wanted to remove myself from their database for this so that I don't get e-mails in the future related to it when I have no involvement with it whatsoever... being that they had no more software to give out and all.

I looked on their FAQ page and found conflicting information. Two separate sections saying to send a blank e-mail to two different e-mail addresses with 'remove' in the subject. I e-mailed both, and what did I get in return?

I did that. What did I get back? Two NDRs for separate reasons:

: host maila.microsoft.com[131.107.115.212] said: 550
        5.7.1 (in reply to end of DATA command)

-- and --

: host maila.microsoft.com[131.107.115.212] said: 550
        5.1.1 User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command)

Good one MS, you never cease to amaze me!

I'm not outraged (1)

pat mcguire (1134935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667851)

On any given installation of Windows, there are going to be multiple processes reporting back to various organizations about your usage habits - it's simply a result of the insecure nature of the operating system that no installation can escape unscathed. That said, a program that is installed with my permission to return non-user-specific information in exchange for a four hundred dollar piece of software is quite the anomaly. However, do you think the alternative to this is for them not to collect the information? No, it would be to simply put it in unannounced during a Windows update and put it in the Terms of Use that you don't read and that they can change without notifying you. If maybe this isn't quite doing the Right Thing(TM), it's certainly much much better than the alternatives.

A fair look from a Microsoft-neutral observer (5, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667853)

Glad to see that you guys don't let facts get in the way of a good MS bash.

Anyways, just in the in case there's anyone actually curious about this and not just interested in kneejerk reactions about poorly-written, inflammatory summary.

I've actually RTFA (and a page linked off of it) and here's something the summary completely neglects to mention:

The automated data collection is one of two different options you can pick; the other is to be asked to fill out a survey not more often than once every two weeks. It sounds like you can pick either option.

Now, that all said, there's also one more big thing: They're giving away FREE copies of EXPENSIVE software* which many people NEED** or WANT with a perfectly reasonable caveat. They're being open and honest, and they're providing both a manual and an automatic method of data collection. The latter is particularly appealing to many, because it basically means they can just forget about it. Those who are worried about their privacy can take the surveys.

Disclaimer: I am a fanboy of many things, including Xbox 360, but not Microsoft in general. I like Windows XP and hate most everything that MS has put out which isn't an OS (i.e. office, internet explorer, etc). I'll definitely not be participating simply because I'm not interested in any of the offerings.

*Expensive for a typical end user, I don't care how much your company paid for its graphics design software
**Again, typical end user who doesn't know what OpenOffice is and just wants to be able to open their files at work without thinking about converting file types.

Re:A fair look from a Microsoft-neutral observer (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667961)

Now, that all said, there's also one more big thing: They're giving away FREE copies of EXPENSIVE software* which many people NEED** or WANT with a perfectly reasonable caveat. They're being open and honest, and they're providing both a manual and an automatic method of data collection. The latter is particularly appealing to many, because it basically means they can just forget about it. Those who are worried about their privacy can take the surveys.

More EXPENSIVE does not automatically mean MORE COVETED, or more NEEDED or WANTED. Take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ATeLDM1H4M [youtube.com]

Its not even worth pirating Vista... or apply to use the damn thing for free.

Besides, will this free version be usable without being connected to the internet atleast once a week? I doubt it. The moment it is connected to the 'net; privacy for the user is only a pretence.

Saw this a few days ago and took a long hard look. (1)

dzd-n-confused (1017824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667861)

Then I was like hell no. They allow themselves to monitor basically everything on your computer processes, favorites, patches, cdkey Its just like nasty keyloggers and spyware except its from microsoft. I pass I like my private information away from them.

Just wait 90 days... (1)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667869)


...and after only 3,283 people sign up, we'll finally have the proof that...

...Microsoft can't -- give -- Vista away.

Geez... Such Cynical People (4, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667877)

I can't believe all the cynical responses from Slashdot readers. Why would you doubt the sincerity and generosity of the company found by the man who will donate $100 to an orphanage each time I forward his email to someone?

Deal (1)

TBerben (1061176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667897)

I'm actually tempted to take the offer. We have two (legal) XP installs here, one of which is on my pc. The only reason why I haven't formatted it into oblivion yet is because I can't get Civilization IV to run on Linux even though every forum online says it should. I'm more than happy to have them monitor my Civ victories and as a bonus, I'll browse the web for an hour using firefox, check my mail using thunderbird and draw them a nice cartoon using the Gimp. Heck I'll even install Cygwin! Then at the end of the three months I'll use the Debian w32 installer...

Tactic to gain more ground? (1)

KillzoneNET (958068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667899)

I have to admit that I'd be one of people openly against Vista until I received it for free after doing something similar to this. I've come to believe that the only reason people are so openly against it is that they have little to gain from spending so much for something that in their view is a relatively small upgrade over XP. I for one would of never gotten Vista if it weren't for it being free, and now I actually prefer it over XP many times over.

I could do this... (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667913)

Do completely random stuff, install as much free non MS software (GPL, Mozilla etc) and do things that they would never expect. Then download a Linux ISO of some sort while making lots of documents as ".doc" in Word where the main thing is saying Linux is so much better. View mainly Linux sites, and so on... Basically shove it in their wistle-area :P

The Catch (3, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667915)


"The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program"

So they'll monitor my activities when I sell it on eBay?

Under Wine.... (3, Interesting)

themacks (1197889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667943)

Out of morbid curiosity I had to know, and it installed just fine. Thankfully it uninstalled just fine too.

I wonder what kind of "useful" data Wine reports...

Free as in beer? (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21667965)

"The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program."

So how does this make the free copy any different than the one you pay for? Just askin'.

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