Is Microsoft's Genuine Advantage program good for Linux?

Is Microsoft's Genuine Advantage program good for Linux?

Summary: Microsoft is stepping up its Genuine Advantage program, and requiring a "piracy check" for all customers who want to download patches — excepting security updates — for Windows XP. This is a great strategy...

TOPICS: Windows

Microsoft is stepping up its Genuine Advantage program, and requiring a "piracy check" for all customers who want to download patches — excepting security updates — for Windows XP.

This is a great strategy... for Microsoft's competition. I don't have any figures on the number of "pirated" copies of Windows XP, but I'd be willing to bet that at least 25 percent of Windows XP users in the U.S. are using copies of XP that they don't have a legitimate license for.

Microsoft is at the point where it's unlikely that it will increase its already mammoth market share -- so they've reached the conclusion that they need to start shaking down the non-paying or under-paying users. There's nothing wrong with that, really. As I've said before, I do think that people should pay for Windows if they're going to use it -- and if Microsoft's licensing policies are too draconian for your taste, use an OS that doesn't require the purchase of a license for each PC. Just because everyone wants 'free' Windows, doesn't mean they can have it.

But it's probably not going to endear Microsoft to the many users who are using illicit copies of Windows, for whatever reasons. The company may be successful in forcing some users to pay for their copies of Windows, but it will also anger some of its users -- who may not be paying Microsoft for Windows, but they do contribute to Microsoft's dominant position. Some of those users will eventually decide to look elsewhere.

Enforcing Genuine Advantage isn't going to convert Windows users to Linux users in droves, but I think it is going to annoy a number of Windows users to the point that some consider switching to Linux, Mac OS X or another OS. Even if the shift is only a few percentage points, that's a huge boost for Mac OS X or Linux.

Microsoft's new policy should also serve as a wake-up call to users who use Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and other proprietary packages without paying for a legitimate license. Authentication schemes will become more rigid and strictly enforced over time. Eventually, users are going to need to choose between paying for a legitimate copy, or using software that doesn't come with a license fee.

Topic: Windows

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  • Clueless

    The article just shows how far out there you guys are. Basic Principle is to make Money. market share is wortheless without revenue that matches it. Who cares how many Linux users there are. Are they paying for it? Vast Majority are not. Are they buying apps? Vast majority are not. If they are going to pay, let them go. MS is right here on providing a product for a fee. Now some genius will whine, "well the buy apps for it" bullhockey, what are they buying? HMmm? Not the Office package, if they are illegal on Windows, how naive are you to say that they arent illegal on office? Games? Hmmm. most games arent MS, no money made there. Hmmm Hardware, Only hardware MS really markets is a small amount of peripherals. So I guess you can pretty much say MS isnt making money on Illegal Windows. Let them switch, please do, get off the platform which Most Linux dweebs bash anyways..
    • Market Share Matters

      [i]market share is wortheless without revenue that matches it.[/i]

      So you're saying that MS was [b]R[/b]eally, [b]R[/b]eally [b]D[/b]umb to drop billions on destroying the competition to IE, which they gave away without charging for it?
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Who cares how many Linux users there are.

      I would say that companies selling Linux support cares very much. The whole business model around Linux is to give the sofware away, and sell support and packageing services. This is the same model mahy phone service companies have when they give away free cell phones, only that it is much cheeper to give away software than phones, especially if the customer downloads it himself.
    • Of DOS, Linux, Windows, Dweebs

      >>>MS isnt making money on Illegal Windows. Let them switch, please do, get off the platform which Most Linux dweebs bash anyways..<<<

      I would have never believed I would live to be old enough to see somebody so proud to make such a statement, and remember a time when DOS diehards where saying the same sorts of things about those morons who used that new fangled Windows program.
  • I think that OS/X will benefit more

    People want "packages" that they are "familiar" with. Many Windoze users have had SOME Mac exposure in their past - college, high school, whatever. And that exposure was probably positive. Now with Apple reducing prices (Mac Mini), there's a reason to look there. Linux is kind of clunky and lacks games, and you need to have a tolerance for that if you switch. Mac OS/X is smooth and refined and is a MUCH more pleasurable experience than "Mr Reboot" . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • Not me...

      Right after Jobs was kicked outa Cupertino - I was working for a VAR at the time - and got a chance to work on one of the Apple knockoffs.

      Okay, that was a few years back, and yes it was not a pure Apple built Apple machine - but close enough. What really really turned me off to Apple and the 'Apple Philosophy'? Ejecting a floppy disk.

      Ya see - the user of a PC is given a nice easy button to push on the machine - simple mechanical device. The human decides when, where and how to eject the floppy. On the Mac - at least at that time - one made a request to the OS to eject the floppy.

      Now, one may say that was a slick and wonderful thing to do - heck Apple saved you a step. There you sit, at your keyboard, and ask the machine to vomit forth a floppy. But! The flip side - and for me the Jobs legacy is - the user is too stoopid/lazy/chic/caught up in the Appleness to do such a mundane thing - WE'LL do it for them.

      Thanks, keep your Appleness and cutziness chic nonsense.
      • The Amiga did it right.

        With the Amiga, you had the best of both worlds. The machine could tell when a disk was inserted or removed, but gave you a button to remove it.

        If you removed it when there was still data to write, the computer would tell you to put the disk back in or risk corruption of the data on it.

        Push the button like a PC, resources tracked and maintained by the OS like a MAC.

        Funny, no one's using those machines much now, except as video editing suite controllers.
        • Except for the clicking

          The amiga floppy drive was contantly polled, so you HAD to keep a floppy in it to stop the clicking noise.

          I am a die-hard Amiga fan. The machine was WAY ahead of its time. AmigaOS was a true multi-tasking and multi-processing OS - when Windoze wasn't and MacOS was "preemptive" multi-tasking (i.e. hardly multitasking at all).

          Of course, Commodore is my nominee for WORST RUN COMPUTER BUSINESS OF ALL TIME. C= never spent a dime on Amiga advertising - they used word-of-mouth and just rode it into the ground. I have MANY IT BOZO awards for these jokers.
          Roger Ramjet
      • Apple handles floppies the right way

        Have you ever tried to help PC users who need to put Word docs on floppies? Invariably they'll open up a file on their hard drive, and do File|Save As to the floppy, and take out the disk as soon as the LED goes dark. Wrong!

        Then what they have on the floppy is a partially-saved file, which is unuseable. Then they shut down Word, ignoring the clicks & buzzes from the floppy drive, and the "can't save file" error messages from Word. If only they would put the floppy in again, and click "Retry", not "Cancel".

        I can't tell you how many wasted work-hours I've seen caused by exactly this problem. And the downside of showing up at the client's office with a floppy that can't be read is even more damaging. Every time I explain to them what they're doing wrong, they either don't freakin' understand it, or they get even more hostile because they think I should have prevented this from happening.

        On a Mac, if Word hasn't closed that file on the floppy, you can't take it out, and the OS won't eject it! That's the way a PC should work. Then people would quit wasting their time, and they'll quit calling me and my staff, requesting that we fix the file. As always, it's their fault, but it's our problem. Way to go, Apple. I agree with some of your other beefs about Macs and Mac users, though - the stoopid/lazy/chic stuff.
    • Mac Vs Linux

      Mac OSX is Linux with a price tag.

      My apple that I played Oregon Trail with in grade school isn't the same thing as a BSD Unix code base Mac.

      Its not the same.

      Don't get me wrong Mac is cool, but the average PC user is retarded and can't handle learning anything new. They'll dish out 200 bucks and stay stupid.
      • Someone with common sense

        Well said:

        MacOSX = Linux with a price tag! Apple started feeling the heat some time ago and wanted to do something about it! The NextStep nonsense went nowhere. With few exceptions, there's nothing on the Mac than can't be done in Linux.
        • Not quite true

          MacOSX is a BSD Unix - not Linux, because the GPL just wouldn't work for Apple (or at least they spent no time trying). The Mac interface uses OpenGL - not X-windows like Linux does, so you would be hard-pressed to mimic it in Linux/X.

          [With few exceptions, there's nothing on the Mac than can't be done in Linux.]

          or in Windoze or on a Mainframe. Computers are computers, and they can all do about the same thing.
          Roger Ramjet
  • So he number of dual boot machines will go down?

    Oh heavens! Man the barricades! What a buncha hoohey.

    The next whine - predicted here, you saw it first - will be "Windows Vista will increase numbers of Linux users due to draconion hardware requirements" or some other drivel (BTW - I was sorta kinda playing fast and loose with the truth - as the above headline had been used with release of W2K AND XP).

    Here is a question to pose the elite penquinista. How many users still actively use Netscape 5.0? How many still actively use KDE 1.0. How many still use Debian 2.0? How about Linux Kernel 2.2.x? Curious yet in terms of the releases asked about? Those are releases in the 1998 Windows 98 release timeframe.

    Until Linux can claim the same as MS - that earlier releases of a kernel keep users from upgrading to a more current release - all from the penguin cage is nothing but bloviation.
    • Huh?

      [i]Until Linux can claim the same as MS - that earlier releases of a kernel keep users from upgrading to a more current release - all from the penguin cage is nothing but bloviation.[/i]

      I believe that you've completely missed the point here. The argument (by MS analysts, both in and out of the company) is that older versions of MS software reduce Microsoft's ability to demand more for the newer versions.

      In other words, it's competition with their own installed base.

      Older versions of the Linux kernel, KDE, etc. also compete with newer ones and lower the amount that Linus, the KDE team, etc. can demand for their updates.

      Oh, regarding the 2.2.x series kernels: they are still in active use in embedded devices. The latest 2.2 series kernel is 2.2.27-rc2 (January 2005) and the latest 2.0 series kernel is 2.0.40 (February 2004). Unlike Microsoft products of the same timeframe, they are actively supported.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Do you know what you're saying quietLee?

      Because I sure don't...

      Maybe it's some reference to the number of existing Windows 98 users? Is that a plus for Microsoft?

      I was one user who was driven to Linux after reading about the licensing enforcement WinXP would use. It was an uncomfortable transistion, to say the least, but now I can't imagine the need to use Windows except for gaming.

      I have a Sony Vaio I bought with Win98 on it, and it was pretty slow. I put Linux on it, it was slow. The interesting thing is, every new release of KDE showed marked improvement in performance. Unless I am encoding audio or video, I cannot tell the difference in performance between my old P3 600 laptop and my new P4 2Ghz laptop. Make of that what you will, but in my opinion it shows that Linux and Windows are heading in opposite directions. Partly because free Linux isn't about selling new versions and the improved hardware to go with it.

      Use Linux or don't use Linux, what do I care?

      I do like the penguinista thing, though...

      I was sort of thinking "Linux Fundamentalist" sounded pretty cool, but penguinista has a nice sound to it.
  • Droves

    [i]Enforcing Genuine Advantage isn't going to convert Windows users to Linux users in droves[/i]

    No, it's mainly going to keep more users on the non-updated versions that they have. Those will be either hacked XP, W2K, W98SE, or (as with one person I know) sticking with W95 because it's the last one that can be cleaned up easily.

    That large base of old versions not churning will drive application developers to keep supporting old versions instead of cutting off support for them [1].

    Which is, all in all, a Good Thing.

    [1] says /me, annoyed with Intuit for dropping support for old stuff in their tax software. Intuit seems like a contender for the Adobe Death Wish Award.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Win95, Win2k or Linux Kernel 3.x ;)

      Well I completely agree with you that either the users are going to stick to hacked versions of the OS or even better get the patches from the same place they got their pirated OS from.

      Microsoft's strength has been that more and more people could easily make a copy of the OS and get used to it - in fact so used to it .. that anything else is just not an option.

      Now these people are either gonna cough up the extra money to get legal versions of the software (right ;) - like hell they will) or they are gonna look for "me-too-windows" alternatives.

      While I have not installed and used it - lots of Linux Variants (Linspire, Xandros) are supposed to make things relatively easier for people wanting to consider alternatives.

      By the time the M$-Empire clamps down in a big way, viable alternatives could (would) emerge. There is a possibility that the Mandarins at M$ might just understand that they are shutting out too many possible-addicts and revert to the unlocked state! ;)

      All things said and done - it is interesting times for the customer - for everyone, including Linux Dweebs (mark me a wanna-be for this), Windows-user and frustrated (definite has been for this) and Mac-OS-users (will some tell stevie to drop the damn prices on the machines).
      • Win95, Win2k or Linux Kernel 3.x ;) -- Couldn't edit hence an addendum

        I have used Fedora Core and SuSE Linux - both of them are great distros. Not the kind I'd have my mom using, but certainly something that my wife would be happy with.

        Opera on Linux makes the browser experience the same as it were on Windows.

        And Open Office is sufficient for most documentation.

        Kopete is a good enough Instant messenger program, and since both of them used Trillian on Windows, getting used to Kopete took very little time.

        When the Linux Kernel finally reaches 3.x - Desktop Linux would not be a alternative, it would perhaps be the de-facto Desktop standard for many organisations.
        • Desktop Linux is not kernel-dependant

          Linux on desktops is not dependant on kernel releases as much as it is on applications and utilities. Until there is a Linux version of the most common desktop apps, other OS's will continue to dominate. Personally, all I'm waiting for is full Linux support for every piece of hardware that I buy off the shelf (webcams etc) and full Linux support on the applications that use such hardware. (Yahoo and PalTalk messengers, as examples) Until then, my GRUB will continue to include Win2K...
      • Licensed Versions

        It would behoove M$ to consider loosening up there licensing to the point that at least a common home user can purchase the OS and install it on their home network. For example maybe allow installation on 2 or 3 computers on a home network using the same license, but that would make to much since for the consumer.. M$ does'nt dare do that. They have to support all the patches somehow and it is the consumer that pays for those patches in the end isn't it...