Drive People To Linux
Will Microsoft's Strong Anti-Piracy Stand Drive People to Linux?
By George Lunt
Microsoft is due to release its new Vista operating system either toward the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. Will this new operating system be as successful as Microsoft's other offerings?
Microsoft's own greed could end Windows reign as the leading desktop operating system. To fight piracy, Microsoft first introduced activation with its with Windows XP. Activation was supposed to insure that one copy of XP can only be used on one PC. Hackers easily created versions of Windows that avoided activation. Then in the fall of 2004, Microsoft introduced "Windows Genuine Advantage". This program was created to allow Microsoft to check individual PCs to see if they are running a genuine XP or a pirated XP version. At first it was voluntary. Then last summer, Microsoft made it mandatory in order to download any free Microsoft software. Now its even become necessary to get XP security patches. If your PC fails the test and you have a counterfeit installation disk that appears genuine (including the holographic emblem similar to the one on real copies of Windows), Microsoft will send you a genuine disk for free in exchange for the fake disk. Otherwise, to make your Windows genuine you need to either buy a genuine Windows XP or take advantage of whatever offer Microsoft cares to give you.
With the advent of the "Windows Genuine Advantage" campaign, Microsoft has become a personification of a typical, greedy "Corporate Alien." As Linux distributions get better and better, Microsoft has to be careful how it deals with its users. They seem to think that their software is so good, that people would rather pay than switch.
Microsoft licensing always stipulated that, to be legal, you had to buy a license for the Windows or DOS operating system for every PC you own. But from the early DOS days up to Windows 2000, someone would buy one operating system and pass it around to family, friends, and neighbors. So that one Windows 98 Second Edition wound up on ten or more PCs.