Well, at least the folks at Microsoft are admitting that their "Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)" is designed to deny Wine users updates through Windows Update. (I love the Orwellian names that Microsoft comes up with. If there were truth in advertising, WGA would be named "Microsoft License Enforcement" or something similar.)Jeremy White, who helms CodeWeavers was characteristically upbeat about it:
White said he was excited rather than worried to hear that the WGA validation tool was blocking Wine. "The reason we love this is because this shows that Microsoft is aware of Wine at very high levels," said White. "For us it's exciting -- it is an acknowledgement of us as a threat."Like Linux, Microsoft generally didn't acknowledge Wine's existance for many years. For Microsoft to acknowledge and block Wine, it must be making at least a small dent in the market. This is why I take the Linux desktop naysayers with a grain of salt: Linux is starting to make inroads in the desktop market. Slowly, but surely, Linux is encroaching on the desktop market enough to make the folks at Microsoft more than a little nervous. It offers an alternative to Microsoft customers, which means that the Redmond Behemoth actually has to learn to play nice with its customers, or face defections. Microsoft has to drop prices and actually innovate instead of just talking about it. (Remember, if it weren't for Firefox, Windows users wouldn't be seeing another IE update until "Longhorn" finally makes it to market sometime in 2006 or 2007.)
So much for "interoperability." But then, we really know that when Bill Gates talks about "interoperability" he's basically talking about Microsoft apps working with one another -- not anything inconvenient, like actually conceding that users might want to use products that compete with Microsoft.
What do you think? Should Linux users be able to run a legitimate copy of MS Office, if they want to, or should Microsoft be able to cripple products if they don't run on an approved platform?