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Gartner Says Linux PCs Just Used To Pirate Windows 815

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)
    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.
  • 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.
  • And vice versa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <> 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by farnz ( 625056 ) <> 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?

  • 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 draxredd ( 661953 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:18AM (#10394098)
    What about people who actually lego their boxes ? with an empty hard drive ? are they pirates to ? or linux users ?
    what about dual booters ? what about CD distros ?
    generalization is always wrong.
  • by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:19AM (#10394111) Homepage
    WTF would I want to run ANY version of Windows at home, if I'm running Linux?

    Because you're not some guy looking to find a sweet deal on a PC at Wal-Mart. These are people buying cheap ass computers and putting the OS of their choice onto it. How is that any different from what the average Slashdotter does?

  • 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 Claw919 ( 604849 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:21AM (#10394141)
    Guys, they're talking about people buying machines from OEMs (like Dell) for less money that are sold "with Linux" and then installing Windows on them to get around paying the Windows Tax on all the new machines. It's not about Linux users wanting to pirate Windows.
  • by Frobozz0 ( 247160 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:23AM (#10394169)
    I know there are a lot of Linux zealots on Slashdot, but does this really suprise anyone? Certainly not me. There are a couple of things to consider here.

    1. The only replacement for Windows on the desktop is Mac OS X. Linux is not that replacement.
    2. A lot of people are unwilling to pay for what they want, or have a feeling of entitlement that they don't actually have.

    You end up with the people who are willing to switch, and willing to pay, switching to Mac OS X. These are real people using their own computers, not terminals at a travel agency that end up accounting for the vast majority of Windows licenses (commercial terminals.) People who are unwilling to pay for a Win XP software license will buy a cheap PC and not a Mac anyway. Since they don't care about licenseing either, you end up with pirated copies of Windows software run on Linux-shipped PC's.

    It makes logical sense to me. It may be a sad state of affairs from a plethora of angles, but it's certainly not a surprise!
  • Re:wow! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:24AM (#10394184)
    If the key on the back of the machine was invalid, then you got a pirated copy of Windows. You should return it to where ever you bought it. I sincerely doubt that MS makes it a policy to ship out invalid CD keys. That doesn't make any sense.
  • Re:wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:26AM (#10394210)
    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.

    I paid for a piece of software that I should be able to use at my leisure. When someone ships a computer they shouldn't be tied down to what the vendor of the OS wants. They should be allowed to do what they want with what they got.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • "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.
  • Making wild accusations without backing it up with a solid proof because of remote possibilities

    Standard operating procedure for Gartner. The supporting data is an asset, they're not going to give it away.
  • 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...
  • Re:And vice versa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rusty0101 ( 565565 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:31AM (#10394280) Homepage Journal
    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 different matter.

  • 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:2, Insightful)

    by JAgostoni ( 685117 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:32AM (#10394296) Homepage Journal
    It has happened to me a couple of times but that was Dell PC in a corporate world so who knows what's going on there.

    However, what if you bought the PC used from someone? Did they keep that key for their own use but not remove it from the back of the PC? I could see that as a problem.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Let's outlaw desks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bbowman0 ( 469547 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:35AM (#10394335)
    I wonder how many desks out there are being used to hold up computers that have pirated versions of windows on them. how dare they. We better require that Windows XP gets bundled with desks!
  • 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.
  • Sales. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caluml ( 551744 ) <> 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.
  • options c, d, e (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Little Brother ( 122447 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:45AM (#10394457) Journal
    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?

  • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> 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.

  • The register (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alex_tibbles ( 754541 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:48AM (#10394502) Journal
    See this article [] 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 kafka93 ( 243640 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:48AM (#10394517)
    Your argument presupposes that 'free' in Linux refers to price. It doesn't. There are other, more important reasons to run the OS than low cost of entry.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:50AM (#10394536)
    The Gartner Group is largely sponsored, not to say owned, by Microsoft. Their task is to project the phony image of an independent research group. What Microsoft does is absolutely disgusting. I really hope they legally get their ass kicked and more people start suing them.
  • by Foogle ( 35117 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:52AM (#10394554) Homepage
    If my contract is only thing keeping them out of bankruptcy, maybe they're not the best shop to go with... Hmm?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:3, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig.hogger@gmail.NETBSDcom minus bsd> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:59AM (#10394679) Journal
    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.
  • 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."


    "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 LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:02AM (#10394723) Homepage
    I've read the article, and Gartners 'Report'. No facts, no data, no tests run discussed. The report does not even demonstate any sampling methods. FUD material.

    At the end of the report, it does say, (off report topic), that novice users use only a few tools; and windows.

    This would make an interesting web site. The site would be an index of simple ways to do VERY simple tasks in linux. The index would be impressive itself, but the content need not be to 'overly stated'.
  • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig.hogger@gmail.NETBSDcom minus bsd> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:06AM (#10394779) 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.
  • 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!
  • I didn't know... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:13AM (#10394901)
    ...that Linux sold PCs, or was a perticular brand of PC. That's what the headline implies. It also implies that the particular configuration of a "Linux PC" is such that pirating Windows is easy/convenient/necessary for many users.

    It should say the 60% of PCs which are sold pre-loaded with (a) Linux OS have had pirated versions of Micorsoft Windows installed after the customer buys the PC. I'm curious what the stat is for PCs which are sold without operating systems. ( I didn't rtfa, I assumed it wasn't in there. If I did rtfa, I wouldn't have time to post!)
  • Re:wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fitten ( 521191 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:17AM (#10394960)
    Can I sell a license with a book? With lettuce maybe?

    Irrelevant. They aren't the same thing. This is where the whole F/OSS vs. Closed Source issue is founded. The book comes with copyrights, which says you can't copy it. You can sell that one book to someone else, but you can't make copies and sell them or even give them away. Similarly, the lettuce is a consumable and used only once by you (I hope). It's hard to copy a head of lettuce and sell or give it away.

    Software is easily copied and distributed for little/no cost to the copier. Even copying the book would cost some consumable materials (paper, maybe a cover, binding, etc.). Software has no materials in this way (and requires very little time investment even to copy and distribute). An automobile has a material cost in just the cost of the steel, plastics, rubber, etc. if not in the expertese/equipment required to put it together. It isn't feasible to copy and sell or give away automobiles. The same thing goes for computer hardware. Physical material cost (for the item itself and the equipment required to build the parts) prevents it. There are no such preventatives against software. It's just electrons and magnetic fields and stuff. In the same vein, if IP has no value, then NDAs aren't required because there is nothing to protect.

    The folks who want to copy and sell/give away any software claim that this is OK because no material is involved/consumed in the process. Others claim Intellectual Property is the "material" and is therefore limited by the same restrictions on automobiles or that book you mentioned.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:18AM (#10394987)
    I'm betting that the vast majority of people who have what microsoft would consider a legal copy of microsoft's software have never done business with microsoft. I've always wondered exactly what grounds microsoft has to pursue legal action against me when it was walmart that I gave my money to for my copy of Windows and my copy of Office. Any contract that may apply would be between me and walmart, not me and microsoft.
  • Re:wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:20AM (#10395015) Journal
    Tell me where I can buy a new Mac without an OS so I can install Yellow Dog?

    You've obviously not looked very hard. Try the Yellow Dog website [] for machines pre-installed with Yellow Dog. On the other hand, since they cost the same amount as OS X machines, you'd be better off buying one from Apple and then selling the install DVD (which is transferable and can be used, for example, by someone with an older version of OS X)

  • by sbrown123 ( 229895 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:42AM (#10395378) Homepage
    I find many of Gatners findings run contrary to reality. This ones included. I would wager to guess that there are people buying Linux installed PCs and installing Windows on them. But are they pirated copies of Windows? That is where I disagree with Gartner. I have seen many times where people, already owning a copy of Windows, bought a PC sans Windows for the cheaper price and installed Windows on it. Now, the question becomes: is installing an owned copy of Windows on a new box pirating? Im sure according to Redmond, and Gartner, you have to buy a new copy of Windows to be legit. Its always been my view, and many others for that matter, that the PC and software are two seperate components. To say: 1 computer = 1 install only is idiotic. If I replace a computer with a new computer my version of Windows should be able to be migrated. Period.
  • Re:wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by boaworm ( 180781 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#10395568) Homepage Journal
    Just try getting a laptop without windows? I did. It was easy... I simply selected "None" as the OS.

    It can be even easier.. I bought a Mac! :)
  • by Gonarat ( 177568 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @12:18PM (#10395587)

    I've got a suggestion. Don't read your rental agreement and don't pay your rent. When they evict you, you can explain you never read the contract. See what happens.

    True, but then every rental agreement that I know of has to be signed. I have never rented a place or bought a house where "by putting your key in the lock, you agree to the following rental agreement/morgage agreement. Your presence in the dwelling indicates legal agreement to this contract."

    You don't pay your rent or your mortage, the Landlord or Bank has legal, signed documents that they can use to kick your ass out. A EULA doesn't (yet) have that level of validity in most States/Provinces/Countries.

  • Yes it is. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FudgePackinJesus ( 444734 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @12:30PM (#10395735)
    This is a jab at the credibility of selling Linux installed machines to protect the perpetuation of the Windows tax. The report is pumped into the media channel to implant the idea that selling Linux installed PCs is a bad idea because the users are just going to install pirated Windows anyway. The same thing happened with "Bare" or "Naked" PCs a couple of years back. That's why only way you can get a box without anything on the hard drive is nearly impossible without building your own.

    Just because the figures are true doesn't mean there aren't ulterior motives for a report to be funded to bring those numbers to light.
  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <> 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 OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @01:02PM (#10396171) Homepage Journal
    Funny you should mention YDL. Terrasoft (makers of YDL) are the only Apple authorized reseller allowed to package an Apple product with a different OS [].

    By default they install a dual-boot setup of YDL and OSX. But from what I've been told you can simply request that you don't want OSX installed. which is good if you want to use the entire drive for YDL.

    I'm sorry but Apple fanboys should just stay out of this conversation. Apple keeps far tighter control over hardware and OS than Microsoft.

    I'm not sure what your remark about Apple fanboys is all about. Your post has basically asked that a person with an opposing viewpoint need not reply? Why did you bother posting at all if you don't wish to discuss things? (If you didn't notice, I've ignored your request)

    Also what does it mean that Apple keeps tighter control over the OS than Microsoft. (obviously not the hardware since MS isn't a hardware company). There are secret APIs in Windows. You need to buy an expensive dev kit if you want to write drivers for Windows. but on OSX you can write a driver for whatever USB dongle you have the specs for, and you can just use the bundled compiler and debugger. And the API docs are posted on apple's website. I MS's site also has freely available docs on devel topics too. From my point of view Apple has kept no more tighter grasp on it's OS than Microsoft has. Perhaps even a looser grasp if you consider that Darwin is completely open source. Am I somehow misinterpreting the point of your original statement?
  • Re:-1, Mac Zealot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @01:27PM (#10396524) Homepage

    The Mac is the only true desktop replacement contender. When Microsoft Office becomes available for Linux, that's when Linux will become a serious contender.

    I would love to sample some of that iCrack you're smoking. 1) not everybody needs or even wants an office suite. even counting "business machines" which are the vast majority of windows licenses, only about 30% have any sort of office suite installed. I can't cite a source, but my company does very large scale samplings of global business machines annually. 2) microsoft is not the only source of excellent [] office [] suites. []

  • Re:wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fitten ( 521191 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @01:30PM (#10396558)
    From the above list, you'll see that software and books are very similar. Both can be copied cheaply and easily. Books can be scanned it and distributed through P2P.

    Yes, but it takes a bit of time to do that. That is where the cost is. I don't know how long it would take to scan a 400 page book, but it would be boring and probably take up an afternoon or so.

    The original question I think asked how come I can buy a book and do with it as I please (except copy it) but not the same with software for which we license it, sometimes with severe and inconvenient restrictions? It is a valid question.

    I'm not sure I understand what the "do as I please" part is. You have a copy of the software and you have a book. Legally, you can't copy either for distribution. However, if you desire to set them on fire, you can. Give it to someone else? Yeah, as long as you remove your copy (the copy the other person uses is the only one). The normal licensing of the boxes of Windows you get at BestBuy have all these things. It seems that he bought a very restrictive version that said that he couldn't. I could buy a book and sign an agreement that I wouldn't sell or give it away, just like that licence. I say the guy bought the wrong thing and is unhappy with his decision. Things like that happen all the time.

    The ease and cheapness of copying does not differentiate books from software, both are generally quite easy and cheap. The difference seems to lie in the fact that software naturally comes in a form that can be copied and a book has to be converted from physical to electronic (via scanning, for instance). It's not as clear a difference as some would believe.

    I think ease and usefulness add into it though. You *can* copy a 1000 page book if there was reason enough to do so, but I don't know of anyone who would do so simply because it is boring and would take a long time. Also, when you are finished with a book you can simply give it to your friend or let him borrow it. Software is more like a tool you may want to use all the time and can't (or don't want) to stop using it while your friend uses your licensed copy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @01:48PM (#10396798)
    How so? If you own a single copy of a copyrighted work, you don't need any permission from the owner of the copyright to use that work in any way you want, as long as you don't try to distribute new copies of it. Copyright law even specifically allows computers to make strictly temporary copies to RAM and the like, regardless of the disposition of the copyright owner.
  • Re:wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IDIIAMOTS ( 553790 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @02:12PM (#10397089)
    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.

    I take it you have never purchased heard of restricted (non-refundable, non-transferrable) airline fares.

    Let's just settle the dramatic misunderstanding. The license for which YOU PAID FOR is a restricted license which is sold to you at a discount in exchange for the ability to transfer the license to another machine. Check or your favorite vendor: XP Pro OEM = $142, XP Pro Retail = 241. That's a pretty substantial discount. The typical user who buys machines from a major OEM doesn't want to transfer licenses. They get a machine, use it for 3-5 years and replace it with a new OEM box. To the majority of Dell's, Compaq's and HP's customers the upfront cost of the machine is obviously more important than being able to transfer the license to a different machine later on. If the majority thought otherwise, then each of these machines would be marked up $100 and sold with retail license of Windows XP.

    As to being required to pay for a Windows license, well that's not particularly Microsoft's problem. After the anti-trust they're no longer allowed to discriminate OEMs based on whether or not they sell hardware with other OSs. If you're unable to buy a machine without Windows from a major vendor, then your beef is with the vendor and not Microsoft. Consumers (not businesses) who want to buy hardware without Windows installed are a minority and thus until people like you become numerous enough to make it a competitive disadvantage for Dell to only be pre-installing Windows, no major OEM will bend over for you. Suck it up and exercise your right of choice by sending your business towards an OEM that will sell you what you want.
  • by scotch ( 102596 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @02:20PM (#10397171) Homepage
    Not following the rules is part of the game, too.
  • Re:wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `srevart.sirhc'> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @02:56PM (#10397567) Homepage Journal
    You actually didn't pay for the software but a very limited license on the software at a hugely discounted rate. If you want a copy without the restrictions then pay the full price for the software.

    Surely you mean "fewer restrictions."

    Linux has fewer restrictions still....

    And BSD has essentially no restrictions.

    SO if you want the OS without the restrictions, go with Linux or BSD, depending on your needs....
  • Re:wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nerdus_Maximus ( 629452 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @03:00PM (#10397613) Homepage Journal
    If purchasing a PC from a major manufacturer entails accepting a limited-use, non-transferrable license, this assertion would only strenghten the case, if not the need, that the manufacturer should offer an OS-less, Linux, XP-lite, and Full License XP options.

    It is certainly understandable from the PC manufacturer's prespective that technical support would be much easier if there was a common OS image on their PC products.

    I agree with garcia that if I purchased a PC with XP and did not receive an installation CD, a valid key or no ability to move it to different hardware. (think crashed or destroyed HDD) To think I would pay money for an XP license, then go to Best Buy (not likely) to purchase yet another license for the same OS to run on the same PC is a little naive. I would agree that this situation does not occur with most people but only those of the Digirati. However, for those of you who have had to deliver the bad news to your neighbor when you try to replace their fried HDD, I believe you might see my point. The manufacturers should make this condition more explicit instead of kowtowing to Microsoft or at the very least, provide the option to exclude OS & its fee from the purchase price. (However, it was my understanding the the OEM pricing for the PC manufacturers was contingent on not providing this option, I could be wrong)

    When I purchase Quicken, I would fully expect to move it and use it on whatever PC I chose.

    In the end & only because I can, I build and upgrade my own PCs, so I purchase a standalone XP license for my two PCs...the OEM version, keep the box, the book, and the shrinkwrap. However, I will abandon MS when the cost per year of service for my OS exceeds $50/year/PC, meaning, If I paid $150 for XP and get 3 years of life from it, I am happy. If I had paid $300, I would run Linux on the Desktop. I think that Microsoft is learning that lesson very quickly in the pacific rim, XP lite or not.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly