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Gartner Says Linux PCs Just Used To Pirate Windows 815

Posted by michael
from the ho-hum dept.
LostCluster writes "CNET is reporting results from a Gartner Group report that claims 40% of desktop machines sold with Linux on them are being used to run pirate copies of Windows! The report goes on to say that this stat reaches as high in 80% in 'emerging markets', the same places that the stripped down lite version of Windows is being aimed at. Gartner's making a bold prediction that the number of machines sold as Linux desktops may eclipse the number of machines actually running Linux."
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Gartner Says Linux PCs Just Used To Pirate Windows

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  • wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:14AM (#10394039) Homepage
    The consulting firm issued a report on Wednesday stating that about 40 percent of Linux PCs will be modified to run an illegal copy of Windows, a bait-and-switch maneuver that lowers the cost of obtaining a Windows PC.

    I wasn't aware that PCs were made by Microsoft. I realize that B. Crew wants every PC to be sold with Windows and makes in very difficult for vendors to do anything but sell them that way, but I am pretty certain it isn't a requirement for Windows to be on every single PC out there.

    As a result, the number of desktop Linux PCs that ship will exceed the actual percentage of Linux machines that get installed in the real world. Desktop Linux will account for about 5 percent of desktops shipped in 2004, according to Gartner, with 10.5 percent of the desktops in Asia shipping with Linux this year. However, the installed base of Linux will come to only 1.3 percent.

    In 2008, Linux will account for 7.5 percent of PCs shipped, but only 2.6 percent of the installed base, about the same that Apple's installed base will be then.

    Star News reports that by 2009 15.29% of the The National Enquirer's stories will be completely false and that their own stories will overtake FoxNews as the most truthful news source on the planet.

    My last machine came with XP installed. I didn't even get to have a CD of XP other than the restore CD. The key on the back of the computer was invalid anyway and MSFT had no suggestions for me other than using a valid key... So, we have to buy a computer with Windows on it because MSFT won't be friendly with vendors that don't offer 100% Windows only. We get that computer with Windows but we really can't use the copy on any other machine and we don't get the install CD and it may not even have a working key. Yet we are supposed to believe that this is acceptable and poor MSFT will lose money to piracy.

    I paid for my copy of Windows XP and I expect to get my use out of it whether it follows MSFT's rules or not. I would assume the same rings true elsewhere. Who the hell wants to pay 20%+ of their PC cost for Windows if they can't even use it?

    Welcome to hell.
    • Re:wow! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:24AM (#10394186)
      I paid for my copy of Windows XP and I expect to get my use out of it whether it follows MSFT's rules or not.

      You paid for a non-transferable, limited use license to run XP on the specific machine that you purchased. If you want a transferable license you can get one at Best Buy.
      • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:31AM (#10394281)
        Let me make sure I understand this. When I buy a computer, I am required to pay for a Windows license, whether I want it or not (just try getting a laptop without Windows). If something happens to the machine or I just choose to not use it anymore, the Windows license which I PAID FOR is now worthless. In any business besides software, this would be shut down as the racket that it is. This is the kind of shit that makes people not take software piracy seriously. When piracy is defined as any use that the vendor does not approve of, it's hard to call it a moral issue and to think of the vendor as a victim.
        • Re:wow! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:45AM (#10394464) Homepage
          Just try getting a laptop without windows? I did. It was easy... I simply selected "None" as the OS.

          It's all about knowing what to buy and where to buy it. I bought a Compal CL56 notebook, which is a whitebook chassis used to manufacture many other notebooks (Such as one of Voodoo PC's 15" Centrino model). Because it's a whitebook, I buy the chassis and parts seperately (Though I chose to pay $29 Canadian to have the store assemble it for me).

          Because it was not purchased from a big computer maker, but simply a computer store, there is no obligation to buy or run Windows on the notebook.
          • Re:wow! (Score:5, Informative)

            by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:55AM (#10394595) Homepage
            Exactly.

            I bought a computer at a local store. The guy fished through a boxed and handed me a nice shrinked-wrapped windows licence with Getting started guide and CD. I pushed it back to him across the counter and said: "Keep it for the next guy, this machine won't be running windows."

            He smiled and said, "Cool".

          • Re:wow! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:31AM (#10395192)
            Here in Australia, it's pretty easy to get a laptop without Winbloze. You just have to be prepared to talk tough. You get the lowest quote from the shop, then tell them that you want them to remove Windows and any related sticky labels, and that you'll pay them that amount less the Microsoft tax.

            Turns out that most of them, even if they do claim to be contractually obliged etc, will oblige for the simple reason that it's a sale they wouldn't otherwise get.

        • +1 Insightful (Score:5, Interesting)

          by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:53AM (#10394577) Homepage Journal

          When piracy is defined as any use that the vendor does not approve of, it's hard to call it a moral issue and to think of the vendor as a victim.

          Exactly. This is another variant of the problem that the entertainment content industry has created for itself: By making copyright terms so long that most people don't realize they ever expire, people no longer see copyright as a good trade -- or as any kind of trade at all -- and therefore have no compunction about violating the hell out of it.

          It's a slashdot cliche, but it really is true: The more you tighten your grasp, the more copies will slip through your fingers, as the majority simply stops paying attention to your restrictions.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @01:25PM (#10396504)
            Not after we demonstrate the power of these copyright terms. In a way, you have determined the choice of the rights that will be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the P2P base, I have chosen to test these terms' destructive power...on your fair use rights.
        • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by natet (158905) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:58AM (#10394670)
          This brings up an interesting point. I don't see Gartner doing a report on the percentage of machines that are shipped with windows on it that are going to be used to run Linux.
        • Re:wow! (Score:5, Funny)

          by Electrum (94638) <david@acz.org> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:00AM (#10394701) Homepage
          just try getting a laptop without Windows

          That's odd, my laptop [apple.com] didn't even have the option of coming with Windows.
        • Re:wow! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LinuxGuyFriend (756285) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:41AM (#10395375) Homepage
          Let me tell you a little story. Last year, my appartment was broken into and my computers stolen. Of two Windows copies, the insurance company agreed to reimburse only one. Apparently they have problem with paying for software...

          Since I keep all my CD keys seperately, I ended up calling MS to get a new key because the old one refused to install on the new computer.

          Guess what, they refused to cancel the old one and give me a new one because the license is tied to the stolen hard drive. Great.
      • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:46AM (#10394484) Homepage Journal

        You paid for a non-transferable, limited use license to run XP on the specific machine that you purchased. If you want a transferable license you can get one at Best Buy.

        Odds are good that said non-transferable license won't hold up in court, which is probably why Microsoft has never tried to enforce it through legal means. If it makes you feel better about yourself to carefully honor the terms of an invalid and one-sided agreement, go nuts, but don't expect everyone else to do the same.

      • validity of EULA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by belmolis (702863) <billposer@a l u m . m i t .edu> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:04AM (#10394750) Homepage

        I have never entered into a contract with Microsoft. Indeed, the last few machines I have bought had MS Windows pre-installed, so I never even had to click on "I accept" to install it. Under the doctrine of First Sale, in the absence of a contract I can do what I please with the goods that I purchase. Can someone explain to me how Microsoft's wishes could possibly be binding on me?

        For me this is a purely hypothetical question since I have no interest in running MS Windows, but I am perplexed by the idea that Microsoft's EULA's can be binding on people who either never saw them until after they purchased the software or on people who have never even looked at the EULA. Haven't the courts ruled that such "shrinkwrap licenses" are invalid?

    • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KingKire64 (321470) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:27AM (#10394230) Homepage Journal
      In other news people who build thier own computers have Linux or a pirated version of windows on it a majority of the time also. Why not attack the ppl who build thier own boxen?
      Oh thats right they only attack the machines sold with linux cuz they have linux on them.

      Sry MS Publicity machine i forgot the rules.

      Tinfoil hat on full power
    • Re:wow! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kartik3 (590836)
      Hey bud, I certainly feel for you....

      If you have a legal copy of windows XP you can find out what the key on your machine is by using the "keyfinder" utility found at:
      http://www.magicaljellybean.com/
    • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:34AM (#10394315)
      That said, Windows users that don't want to pay are pirating Windows, so what else is new? Some of them have some more or less convincing, though not legal justifications, which you listed.

      But my point is: this really has nothing to do with Linux.

    • Re:wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

      I would'nt get too excited about ANYTHING 'The Gartner Group' has to say. They should rename themselves Bill Gates little Lap dog and kiss a&& group. Thier Bread and butter is windows, loss of the windoze monopoly would spell thier doom. I think in a way this points to Linux getting a larger desktop share, because the 'Garden compost group' is obviously worried enough about it to manufacture a story like this.

      BTW I do folks that pirate windows, but they usually build thier own boxes. My neigh
    • Re:wow! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:54AM (#10394583) Homepage
      Well, no not really. You can't use WinXP unless you agree to their rules. It's in the EULA, and regardless of how you feel about the EULA (it stinks), that's the way it works. Here's a plan: If you can't stand M$ Rules, don't use M$ Products, use the Linux desktop which is perfectly adequate. If you "need" to use M$ Products, it's likely you need it for games or such, well, than you got to pay the M$ Tax...
      • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig@hogger.gmail@com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:06AM (#10394779) Homepage Journal
        Well, no not really. You can't use WinXP unless you agree to their rules. It's in the EULA, and regardless of how you feel about the EULA (it stinks), that's the way it works.

        Utter bollocks. Microsoft, no matter what they say (or do) are not above the LAW.

        They can say whatever they want in their EULA, but they can only have courts enforce what is LEGAL.
    • Re:wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pig Hogger (10379)
      I paid for my copy of Windows XP and I expect to get my use out of it whether it follows MSFTs rules or not. I would assume the same rings true elsewhere. Who the hell wants to pay 20%+ of their PC cost for Windows if they cant even use it?
      No. You paid for a license that lets you use Windows on a very specific the way Microsoft intends it and not otherwise, laws to the contrary be dammed.
      • Re:wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AviLazar (741826)
        Civil Laws can be superseded by contracts, unless the contract violates criminal laws.
        For example, in PA there is the "Employment At Will" law which means that an employee can quit anytime s/he desires, and a company can fire an employee anytime s/he desires. Neither party needs to give a reason, and they cannot be held accountable for terminating the employment.
        HOWEVER, companies make contracts all the time in PA regarding employment terms of services. These contracts supersede the "Employment at will"
    • gartner is on drugs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by swschrad (312009)
      but they can't make music like brian wilson did.

      you need a written order from God to get a branded computer without the windows virus on it. you can also buy a box full of random parts anyplace, and build a kickass computer with no OS any time you want.

      where gartner is pulling this "data" from, I don't know, and I am not about to spend hundreds of dollars to find out. it is so bogus on its face that I can't see how gartner is staying in business.
    • What they fail to realize is that the common factor in pirating Windows is a computer without Windows, not just computers preloaded with Linux. The fact that these computers are being sold with Linux is just a distraction. Many people build their own computers just so they can pirate Windows and not have to pay the higher price to include the OS. Should we then disparage the selling of separate computer components as conducive to Windows piracy?

      This is a huge logical fallacy to imply that Linux has an
  • by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:14AM (#10394041)
    So what's new? Microsoft pays its lapdog, Gartner Group, for another anti-Linux FUD piece. Next story, please.
  • Bollocks (Score:5, Informative)

    by TuataraShoes (600303) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:15AM (#10394051)
    Bollocks. All my work machines come with XP on them. The first thing I have to do is purge the damn thing and install Linux.
    • Re:Bollocks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:22AM (#10394148)
      Bollocks. All my work machines come with XP on them. The first thing I have to do is purge the damn thing and install Linux.

      Perhaps you should resell your copies of Windows to others who might want them for barebones systems - and split the Microsoft tax 50/50.

      Microsoft says you can't do this. But the courts have indicated that you can.
  • And vice versa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:16AM (#10394057) Homepage
    That'll just about offset the number of machines that were bought with windows on them that are now running linux. Or do they not care about those?

    • Re:And vice versa (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rusty0101 (565565)
      Why would Microsoft care about those? Depending upon whether it was just Windows, Windows and Works, or Windows and Office, Microsoft got between $50 and $500 out of you for the purchase of their product. The fact that you will never use it just means that they have no ongoing expenses related to support of that product.

      Granted they didn't really have that ongoing expense anyway, as they push ongoing support of products sold with a computer off onto the company that sold you the computer, but that's a diff
  • Barebone machines (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoney27 (36372) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:16AM (#10394063) Homepage
    Why go through all the trouble of buying a machine with an OS when you can just get a barebones machine and then load what ever OS you want.

    • Re:Barebone machines (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shillo (64681) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:23AM (#10394160)
      > Why go through all the trouble of buying a machine with an OS when you can just get a barebones machine and then load what ever OS you want.

      Because of the strong Microsoft campaign against selling those machines as 'encouraging piracy', many vendors don't offer them at all. Others only offer this if you buy components and assemble them yourself - this is beyond many users who do want to run Linux.

      Which is what the fuss is all about - a nice MS marketing ploy is falling apart and they're taking notice.

      --
    • Re:Barebone machines (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bgarcia (33222)
      Why go through all the trouble of buying a machine with an OS when you can just get a barebones machine and then load what ever OS you want.
      First, it's no trouble. In fact, it's much easier for me to buy a Dell with WinXP preinstalled than to buy an OS-less machine.

      Second, it's much cheaper. Dell makes price mistakes, and they also have huge sales at the end of their fiscal quarter. Makes for some great bargains!

  • Yeah, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zenmojodaddy (754377) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:16AM (#10394066)
    ... by the same token, how many machines sold with Windows end up having Linux installed?

    Both of mine, for a start.
    • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ajs (35943)
      The one this post is being sent from was purchased with Linux, and is still running it. I have second desktop that was the same.

      At home I have four computers (firewall, SO's desktop, my desktop, server) all of which were purchased with Windows on them. One still runs Windows full-time (SO's), one runs it every now and then (my desktop for games) and the other two have been purged of Windows and Linux is the only OS on them.

      I also have a laptop for work that I use for support. It dual-boots, and I have a p
  • by farnz (625056) <slashdot@NosPAM.farnz.org.uk> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:16AM (#10394069) Homepage Journal
    Trouble is that the statistics are too limited; we know how many machines are bought with each OS, but there's no way to accurately estimate how many machines have their original OS removed (whether Linux or Windows).

    Therefore, there's no way to tell whether the number of Linux pre-installs that are replaced with pirate Windows are balanced with the number of Windows pre-installs replaced with Linux. Gartner's prediction is that more people replace Linux with Windows than vice-versa, but how do you get to that information without guessing?

  • Shhhh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by m00nun1t (588082) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:16AM (#10394074) Homepage
    Don't tell anyone, but I'm using my Windows PC to run a pirate copy of Linux! I downloaded a copy from the internet and didn't pay a cent for it! Suckers...
  • Nah! (Score:4, Funny)

    by laetus (45131) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:16AM (#10394078)
    That would be like buying a Maserati and replacing its engine with that of a Ford Escort.
  • Big news! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Donny Smith (567043) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:17AM (#10394080)
    Big deal - that's been known since 2000.

    I have heard it first hand from resellers and h/w makers in Asia Pacific - "we bundle Linux just so that MS leaves us alone and it's up to the end users to get their copy of Windows".

    In some places shipping systems (assembled computers) without OS is either disallowed or frowned upon by MS and/or anti-piracy watchdogs, so bundling Linux is a nice excuse to avoid pre-installing Windows....

  • by GreenCrackBaby (203293) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:17AM (#10394087) Homepage
    Sure, if you want to install a pirate copy of Windows on a new PC, your only real choice is to order a PC with either no OS or one with a free OS (i.e. Linux). Since none of the big PC makers will even let you order a PC without an OS, guess which one you'll choose.

    This doesn't have anything to do with Linux.
  • by FalconZero (607567) * <FalconZero AT Gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:17AM (#10394088)
    "...Gartner's making a bold prediction that the number of machines sold as
    Linux desktops may eclipse the number of machines actually running Linux."


    Funny that. Its a bit like Windows if you take into account crashes - The
    number of machines sold as Windows desktops is far greater than the number
    of machines actually RUNNING Windows.
  • Perfectly Legal (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:19AM (#10394107)
    I somewhat regularly upgrade computers or rebuild systems for family and friends. When that happens, I end up with a lot of unused copies of Windows. These are bought and payed for - 100% legitimate. So when my friends want a new Windows computer, I'm not going to re-buy a copy of windows when they already own the rights to a copy!

    But I bet they would count this as a hit for their study.
  • RIAA Logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by solitarian (398175) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:19AM (#10394112)
    If we were to use the logic that the RIAA and MPAA use, then we should ban all Linux Distributions because they are used to pirate software. Then Microsoft will truly rule the world!
  • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:20AM (#10394117)
    100% of PC's sold with Windows ME, run Pirated copie s of Windows 2000
  • This isnt FUD... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imsabbel (611519) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:20AM (#10394122)
    Its actually quite true. Here in germany many retailers have "ultra-cheap" PCs, in the 200-300 range, without operating system(well, not without, but with dr-dos or linux,ect). Windows XP is a 50 or 100 addon.
    How many people are willing to buy that addon instead of visiting suprnova.org?
  • by upside (574799) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:23AM (#10394165) Journal
    Gartner finds Linux is not only a dangerous tool actively being used by terrorists to avoid detection, but a psychotrophic drug that causes terrorism, delinquency, malaria and AIDS.

    Linux is also subverting good, honest children to criminal behaviour, communism and encouraging them to move to harder drugs such as Heavy Metal music. Not to mention occultism and role playing games.

    Linux on an IBM mainframe is also less cost effective than Windows on a dual Xeon! Quick, in the Holy name of Redmond, call a priest and bring out the holy water!
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:24AM (#10394187) Journal
    The zealot faithful are already foaming at the mouth at this report. But what's so surprising about it? All it really says is that of the PCs purchased with Linux pre-installed on them, 40% of them will be modified to run some variant of Windows (possibly in a dual boot configuration) without being within the terms of the EULA. This probably includes transferring OEM licenses to other computers (which, if memory serves, is against the terms of the EULA).

    I can't find the report on Gartner's site [gartner.com] and therefore can't say anything about its methodology. (And if the report isn't free, I ain't shelling out the bucks for it.) But it strikes me as telling that of the people rending their clothes and screaming here, very few of them are actually arguing with their numbers beyond saying that it's "justified," or "MSFT gets what's coming to them," or "this is offset by," etc.

    Oh, and by the way: the headline is stupid and wrong.
  • by lukestuts (731515) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:26AM (#10394198) Journal
    I'm a bit sceptical about that 40% figure - I'd say it was closer to 2 in 5.
  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:26AM (#10394213) Journal
    In emerging markets, where desktop Linux enjoys wider popularity, the trend is even starker. Around 80 percent of the time, Linux will be removed for a pirated copy of Windows

    Making wild accusations without backing it up with a solid proof because of remote possibilities... When did slashdotters start working for Gartner?
  • by trilks (794531) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:27AM (#10394229)
    I agree with a reply to the article on CNet, which basically said that the piracy of Windows is Microsoft's problem, not Linux's problem. It's not Linux's problem that it's free, it's not Linux's problem that Windows is being pirated world-wide, and it's not Linux's problem that people are choosing Linux PCs instead of Win machines. This just amounts to FUD, trying to make Linux look like it has some involvement with piracy. It's the people who pirate, not the software.
  • by laird (2705) <lairdp@@@gmail...com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:27AM (#10394235) Journal
    "Gartner's making a bold prediction that the number of machines sold as Linux desktops may eclipse the number of machines actually running Linux."

    While I'm would expect that somewhere there are plenty PC's being sold with Linux pre-installed that get wiped and have a pirated copy of Windows installed, my personal experience is the opposite -- I have run hundreds of Linux machines (server farms, at home,at work, etc.), and aside from rack-mounted servers the only practical option is to purchase a PC with Windows, then wipe it and install Linux. In theory you can buy a PC in the US with Linux installed, but in practice, nobody stocks them, and it's easier to get a Windows PC now than to special order a Linux PC to arrive eventually, and do the install yourself.

    So, while some percentage of the small number of PC's sold with Linux on them may be converted to run Windows, certainly a percentage of the very large number of PC's sold with Windows on them are converted to run Linux, and in my experience the numbers lean strongly towards the latter case.

    On top of this, I would argue that the number of copies of Windows sold (irrespective of Linux) is artificially inflated by the pre-installed copies in other ways:

    With consumer PC's you almost always need to buy a "real" copy of Windows, because the pre-installed copies don't come with install CD's, or even the right to make your install CD's. So if you buy a cheap PC and _anything_ happens to it that would cause you to need to reinstall (like, say, owning the PC for six months), the only (legal) option is to run a "restore" that wipes your hard drive and restores it to factory state.

    On corporate desktops, if you by PC's with Windows installed, and then wipe the drive and install a standard disk image (which most companies do, to simplify management) MS insists that you need to buy a new Windows license, because the copy in the disk image is a new copy.

    If you donate a used Windows PC to a school or church, MS tells them that it's illegal to use the copy of Windows on the PC unless it's accompanies by the original certificate of authenticity, and that otherwise they must by a new copy of Windows (which would often cost more than the PC itself is worth, and wouldn't run on older PC's in any case), and that without that, they must trash the PC's.

    So if Gartner is trying to correct for artificial distortions on the sales numbers to determine true numbers of users, I think that they have some more work to do.
  • by mikael (484) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:29AM (#10394262)
    Going by the argument that Microsoft uses to justify the requirement that all PC's to be sold with Windows XX pre-installed, the movie industry could argue that all DVD players/video recorders be sold with a pre-supplied library of movie classics, as owners are more than likely than not to pirate them.
  • So, would this mean that Microsoft is left with the dilemna:
    a) try to stamp out this piracy by discouraging "after-market" installs (hey! don't install windows! You had better leave that Linux on there, buster!)
    b) tacitly allow the after-market piracy, thus maintaining their marketshare but sacrificing revenue

    It would seem that the obvious choice for them would be b), because so much of the MS revenue stream depends on a Windows OS on the machine.

    To some degree, I have set up a false dichotomy, but I do know that these cheap Linux machines will only grow in number here in Asia. MS is stuck in a very tricky position, and will be forced to retreat from the OS to their apps and "higher functionality" for value-add. Good luck with that in China...
    • options c, d, e (Score:3, Insightful)

      c) Make Linux Boxen illegal (they are trying anyway)
      d) Require a liscensed "Microsoft Install Technician" to do all "after-market" installs, and don't give anyone else the disks.
      e) Custom-make each Windows CD to only work with one CPU serial/ID number, pass extra costs on to the customer and blame the pirates.

      Anyone want to work on options f, g, h?

  • Duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nullvector (694435) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:31AM (#10394293)
    I've known this for a long time.

    Even here in the US, what do you think happens with the Wal-Mart linux machines that they sell dirt-cheap. They get turned into 'grandma's-email/XP machine' by some kid that installed a pirate copy of XP.

    I dont see this message from Gartner as Anti-Linux. So many of you people have blinders on so that whenever you see MS and Linux in the same sentence you think "OMG Micro$oft Sux0r5!1!"

    This is the same as buying one of those MP3 players with a huge CF card, and taking the CF card out to use in your camera.

    People just buy cheap crappy PC's that come preloaded with Linux, they wipe the drive, and install XP.

    Its purely economical from their point of view. Cheap PC + Pirated software = WIN.

    • Re:Duh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jdreed1024 (443938) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:54AM (#10394590)
      >I dont see this message from Gartner as Anti-Linux. Bullshit. Then they should have said "40% of PCs sold without MS Windows pre-installed are used to run pirate copies of Windows". That would still make the "Windows must be pre-installed on all machines or the world will end" argument. They didn't have to specifically target Linux if they didn't want to. There are plenty of places that sell "business computers" that come without an OS. I bought one recently, and since I already had a retail copy of Win2K, I put it on there, and I didn't need to pay the MS tax.
  • by ancice (817863) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:34AM (#10394321)
    MS has nothing to gain from this report. So what if it says that there are pirated copies of Windows? Everyone knows that. That's not the point.

    The report makes bold claims so as to stand out from common_wisdom. This gives it an edge in its consulting business.

    If the claims turn out wrong, they'll say that the companies/countries involved have made very good progress to stamp out piracy. They then go make a report of "How to combat piracy and reduce piracy figures by [claimed figure - actual figure]" and then teach these techniques to others.

    If the claims are right, it's going to be "Told you so."

    Well, it's a win-win situation.

  • Smokescreen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreatDrok (684119) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:36AM (#10394348) Journal
    They're just trying to hide the fact that they are shit scared that machines sold with Linux preinstalled WON'T end up with a pirate copy of Windows. The only thing worse than MS not getting paid for a copy of Windows is for a user to stick with the copy of Linux that comes with their machine. That is a sale MS will never get back.
  • El Reg... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XeRXeS-TCN (788834) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:38AM (#10394376)

    The Register [theregister.co.uk] had a good story about this yesterday, basically stating that they weren't even aware of the story until Gartner sent them out a rather insistent correction to a press release they hadn't actually received. As they say:

    We in the press find recalls and corrections a big help. We get a hell of a lot of junk that we assume is dull and therefore throw away without reading, often without even noticing, but the shrill words RECALL!!" or "CORRECTION!!!!" signify to us that there is something somebody has decided they'd rather not have said, or that they'd rather we didn't read. We dive straight into the trash, and although frequently the original remains very dull indeed and is immediately retrashed, sometimes it isn't.

    What the correction actually said, seemed to be a rather more reserved opinion:

    "More PC vendors are using Linux as an insurance policy against Microsoft license fees in many emerging markets. However, about two-fifths of these PCs will be modified to run a pirated version of the Microsoft's Windows operating system (OS) a few days before they are used. Most of these systems are targeted towards users that aim on save on OS costs, which can account for up to 15 percent of a PC's total cost."

    "Until recently, Microsoft preferred users to employ a pirated version of Windows until the company was able to combat piracy in emerging markets effectively."

    El Reg themselves then add:

    [It] suggests that Microsoft's recent introduction of Starter Editions of XP is a sign that it intends to switch from this, which is effectively using piracy to its own advantage in order to maintain its dominant position, to trying to win the revenue for itself. Given that that as far as we can see there's no earthly reason why Starter Edition should work, the main effort for this sales drive is surely going to go into lobbying governments to crack down hard on piracy.
  • Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caluml (551744) <slashdot&spamgoeshere,calum,org> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:41AM (#10394411) Homepage
    Companies that sell reports (Gartner) stand to make more money when they write whatever the people paying the $700 for the reports want to read.
    Is this PHBs just wanting to stick their fingers in their ears, point at this report, and say, La la la, no, you can't run Linux, it's bad.?
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:44AM (#10394455)
    Of coarse, Gartner know that it is just a spin, which they try to paint as truth. Someone is SERIOUSLY worried that ISV, hardware manifacturers, etc. will start to take Linux into account and will start to build around it! Ohh, what a horror, Windows-only world is impossible, sky is falling!

    But seriously, do they really believe their own lies? They clearly know that GNU/Linux has maybe far more than 6% of installed base - because most people which uses Linux is downloaded it from internet for free. It is nearly impossible to know the correct percentage of that.

    And also - I think that most pepole who buys OEM computer with Linux do that with purpose - to use it! Because OEM will pay Microsoft tax anyway - look at the price, it is not so much difference. So what is the reason not to buy Windows computer directly? Nice spin, but...a little bit wrong logic.

    And in the end, I just migrate and convert some ten computers each month (small/medium business stuff) to my Debian based distro. And I don't know why everyone claims 'Linux is not ready for the desktop!', 'Linux sux', 'GPL is viral', etc.

    It works. It really works guys. That's all I know.
  • by elpapacito (119485) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:47AM (#10394493)
    The fact that there's Gartner written on it doesn't mean it is a realiable statement or word from a Holy Book of Markets.

    Indeed, let's look back in 1999 when (according to this CNN article [cnn.com]) some among the "prestigeous" Garnter analysis predicted :

    The Gartner Group finding is that Linux will fade from the scene following the release of the first service pack for Windows 2000.

    Service Pack 2 was really so terrific ?! Man, if Service Pack 2 can do that imagine what could an hotfix do..maybe cure plague ? Guess Nostradamus is spinning in his grave as he finally found some serious competition.
  • The register (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alex_tibbles (754541) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:48AM (#10394502) Journal
    See this article [theregister.co.uk] for a more interesting take.
    A. It's not hard to build PCs and pirate Windows onto them (most companies won't 'cos the risk of audit is high, whereas consumers have less money so are less important market).
    B. Even if true, so what? 80% of cars are used to break speed limits. There is no cogent argument here.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:49AM (#10394523) Homepage
    I buy Linux machines to reformat and install a warez version of Microsoft's Windows XP Starter Edition. Merely having product activation telling me how much I can upgrade my hardware was not draconian enough. I want an OS that also tells me how many programs I can open and what resolution I can use. Damn-it, freedom is overrated!
  • by motown (178312) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:53AM (#10394575)
    Of course, not only Microsoft is unhappy with this phenomenon. The Linux community is not amused either, since of course we would have preferred to see the customers continuing the use of Linux instead of wiping it from the drive and replacing it with Windows, pirated or not.

    But perhaps there is a solution that could kill two bird with one stone: make Linux-systems deliberately incompatible with Windows by supplying them with a legacy-free OpenFirmware-implementation, such as OpenBIOS, which could be optimised specifically for Linux.

    Many experienced UNIX and Linux users have been desiring OpenFirmware/OpenBIOS acceptance in the x86-market anyway, and this may be just the chance to make it happen!

    It's a perfect solution: On the one hand, Microsoft can no longer complain about Linux-systems being a merely a method to use pirated copies of Windows. On the other hand, selling Linux systems solely with OpenBIOS firmwares (and making some modification to make the motherboards imcompatible with pirated legacy BIOS-versions) guarantees that buyers will be running Linux (or other open-source/free-software OS'es) instead of Windows on it.

    And of course, as we all know, an Openfirmware-based BIOS would provide additional technical advantages and features over legacy BIOS implementations.

    And finally: true OpenBIOS-enabled Linux-systems would be free from any DRM-crap.

    Take the problem, and turn it in to an opportunity Wonderful! :)
  • by Mr.Surly (253217) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:54AM (#10394587)
    As a result, the number of desktop Linux PCs that ship will exceed the actual percentage of Linux machines that get installed in the real world. Desktop Linux will account for about 5 percent of desktops shipped in 2004, according to Gartner, with 10.5 percent of the desktops in Asia shipping with Linux this year. However, the installed base of Linux will come to only 1.3 percent

    I guess if you assume that the shipped units will replace 100% of existing machines, I guess this would be a startling claim.

    As it is, if say there are 100 machines already in use, and only 1 of them runs Linux, then you ship out 100 more machines, and 10 of them are Linux Desktop machines. None of these 100 machines are used to replace existing machines. Now, your shipped units are 10% Linux boxes, but (horrors) only 5.5% of the installed base is running Linux.

    PIRACY! PIRACY! Men with eye patches and parrots are looting software boutiques looking for copies of XP!

    Thing is, most people don't bother to think critically about information presentation. Even if the facts are all correct, the wording leads to false conclusions.
  • Apples and Oranges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by engywook (802813) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:01AM (#10394708) Homepage
    The artticle says:

    "Desktop Linux will account for about 5 percent of desktops shipped in 2004, according to Gartner, with 10.5 percent of the desktops in Asia shipping with Linux this year. However, the installed base of Linux will come to only 1.3 percent."

    then:

    "In 2008, Linux will account for 7.5 percent of PCs shipped, but only 2.6 percent of the installed base..."

    Does anyone else notice that they are comparing shipments with installed base? Unless we were to assume that the entire installed base of PCs is thrown away and replaced each year, this is a bogus comparison.

    It's similar in kind to comparisons of raw numbers with percentages. I start a new club. I'm the only member. Next year, I get someone else to join my club. I can report that I've grown my club's membership that year by 100%.

  • by MadMan2 (3669) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:06AM (#10394784)
    I have always been told that the kind of statistical researches of companies like Gartner have some point or other to make. But having read the summaries of this research, one can only wonder which conclussion they are trying to reach? (I once saw a university medical statistical study proving that people living in the country and owning no cars are likely to have a higher risk of colon cancer!)

    On all the new PCs I have ever bought over the years, some windows flavour had been pre-installed. In more than half of the cases, it was reformatted and promptly replaced by a Linux flavour.

    Thus: if pre-installed desktop linux pc's are treatening for MS-sales and encouraging windows piracy, is the opposite not true and can it therefore not be concluded that pre-installed desktop windows pc's are treatening to linux and encouraging linux piracy? ;-)

    Let's us conclude that this kind of statistical research is not conclussively written in numbers, but should rather be written with astrological starcharts!
  • How Dare ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:15AM (#10394923) Homepage Journal
    I must say i dont think I have ever heard anything more infurating than this. Of course it doesnt need to be said who funded this study..

    But to say this when it is so difficult to find any high street store or OEM that will sell you a computer without Windows -- because of the penalties imposed by Redmond... Man this fires me up badly.

    Is it so difficult to swallow that some people actually prefer an operating system that doesnt have all the flaws that Windows has ? Is it so bad that OEM's and other companies are starting to notice this? what next ? It really amazes me who dreams up these new and wonderful FUD stories to try and blacken Linux, whos very existance is borne from love?

    The increasing trend of OEM's selling PC's with linux pre-installed is because there is a certain amout of demand for it - in the server space and increasingly as an alternative desktop for developers and in some cases just ordinary folk.

    Once again this simply emphasizes how worried they are in Redmond about the linux trend that they dont seem to be able to do anything about except generate lies and FUD which is usually ill informed - made up - or just twisted statistics. If these people are failing to see the merits of Linux and the community of people behind it creating software- well then there is no hope for Windows getting any better.
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:27AM (#10395137)
    A friend of mine, that never, never listens to me until it's way to late and I hate to sit him down and tell him "I told you so, I told you so, it's a POS.." just went and bought a Gateway PC.
    Basics, P4-2.6ghz, 512m, 120m, Nvidia, CRT & MF PSCF, and, Winbloz XP home.

    He ordered the machine, $1,500 (about $800 more than I could have built one from scratch)

    He brings the whole thing, brand new in the box to me and says, "Install Suse 9.1 Pro on it please." and takes off.

    Guess what? This Gateway machine will NOT BOOT AT ALL if it detects a Linux formated hard disc (0x83) plugged into it via ANY means. IDE, IDE on a card, even a USB drive formated for Linux stops the boot from happening. It won't boot Linux from CD or DVD, it won't touch Linux at all. It is coded into the bios to NO BOOT if it detects a non windows drive connected to it.
    It won't boot with XP as the OS on the primary drive and a Linux formated drive connected as a secondary drive. I spent a week verifying this. I tried dozens of different drives, CD's, DVD's, distros, and combos thereof. I had to re-install XP back on it and tell my friend, "You screwed the pooch, take it back." He won't, he claims he signed a contract to make payments on it. Screw that, I say it's broken and should be at the very least replaced with a usable machine. So my dumb friend is going to keep it, pay for it and give it to his daughter.

    So, Gateway and M$ have found a way to prevent anyone from using anything but M$.

    Oh, and one last comment, these so called XP pirates that would use Linux to pirate XP? Nope. They are too stupid to figure out how to use Linux just to get free winbloz. To do this they would have to spend way to much time figuring out how to setup their PPPOE, then finding using GTK-Gnutella or BitTorrent & Python and finally K3b to burn it to disc. Right.
    I've seen these low end PC's that have Linux pre-installed, ThizLinux. Total, unusable GARBAGE. Trust me, they will never accomplish the task. Just go to any of the alt.os.distro.linux groups and read any of the multitude of "Linux sux!" posts....

    These retards will just get a copy from a buddy that's already online. XP is easier to find than crack or meth. Something they need to quit smoking. Oh, and if Linux is such an easy to use pirating tool, why is it that M$ is the number one delivery system for pirated warez?

    Someone should sue these morons for slander and liable.

  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin AT amiran DOT us> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @12:31PM (#10395746) Homepage Journal
    I want MS to:

    A)Stop patching pirated copies of Windows.
    B)Have Windows Update sabotage pirated copies of Windows.
    C)Break compatability with newer versions of MS apps (Office, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player) with pirated versions of Windows.
    D)Legally crack down on pirates like none-other.

    Right now, we exist in a world where it is okay to get Windows for free (pirate), and the cost is subsidized by the rest of the world.

    If EVERYONE that used Windows was forced to considered the market(monopoly) value of it, Windows marketshare would fall off considerably.

    I used to pirate Windows. One day, I made the decision to keep all my systems 'legal'.

    This brought the level of problems I've had with my Linux systems into focus.

    Of course, this hasn't been hurt by the general improvements in Linux distros. SuSE 9.1, IMHO, is a very polished, easy to use distro.

    Force people to understand the true costs of using MS software, both upfront (end piracy), and TCO (patching, clearing viruses/worms, spyware crap, other generalized Windows issues), and the costs of using Linux don't seem to bad (have to be picky with hardware, much smaller software base (counterweighed by tons of free software), training needed to become familiar with the layout of your particular distro).

    In order for the Free Software community to become more succesful than it already has, and continue to claim more and more marketshare, we need to have a VERY strong respect for Intellectual Property rights.

    The very same protections that gave us the GPL highlight the BEST economic advantages of F/OSS.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @03:27PM (#10397871) Homepage Journal
    Appears to me that the Gartner Group got bought out under the table, and now will be used to propagate incorrect facts to the 'masses', influencing everything from marketing to legislation.

    What is next, a report from them on 'pirate-2-pirate'.

    Truth often gets lost when the other side has control of the media/marketing machine.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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