A Vista kill switch would be good for Linux

A Vista kill switch would be good for Linux

Summary: There seems to be a lot of talk about a potential kill switch in Windows Vista, but that would be very good news for Linux and open source adoption in most of the world and perhaps even college campuses.  The tighter the anti-piracy controls on Microsoft software is, the wider the adoption of Linux.

TOPICS: Open Source

There seems to be a lot of talk about a potential kill switch in Windows Vista, but that would be very good news for Linux and open source adoption in most of the world and perhaps even college campuses.  The tighter the anti-piracy controls on Microsoft software is, the wider the adoption of Linux.

A person in China for example making $300 a month will save up and spend $400 on a computer.  They will spend 100 Yuan (about $12) on home grown software but they will never spend $100 on software when they can buy a black market copy for $1.  If that wasn't available or if Microsoft made it impossible to use the software because of WGA, they'll simply stop using Windows and stop using Microsoft Office and use Linux and Open Office.  In Government agencies in the third world, this is often the case unless they're able to negotiate an extremely low price from Microsoft.  Even Bill Gates admitted that people can't buy software until the economic standards are raised in the third world.

There is a similar dynamic with college students though not as extreme with American college students since they have a little more money.  College students also have the academic versions of the software available to them but even that's a problem for some.  Many college students will resort to copied software but when those same students graduate and join the work force and have money, they become loyal paying customers.  If they can't copied software then they'll simply use free Linux and Open Source solutions and they'll continue to do so even when their economic status changes.

Microsoft has more or less always turned a blind eye towards individuals who use pirated Microsoft software though they'll implement a few hurdles to using it such as the lack of updates and patches or they'll turn off Aero functionality in Windows Vista.  Is it possible Microsoft could suddenly harden their stance on unauthorized copies of Microsoft software?  It certainly is, but it would be a great boon to Linux and Open Source.

Topic: Open Source

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  • Bill and Steve

    Aren't Beavis and Butthead.

    They know this, so you can bet that there is a "little brown brother" version in the works for areas where they can't expect to sell MS software at First World prices -- or at all.

    Piracy has been very good to MS, and you can bet that they're going to continue to have piratable crippleware if only to keep alternatives from reaching critical mass.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • It already exists

      It's called Windows XP (Vista) Starter Edition and is specifically designed in feature set and proce for "developing markets."
      Ed Bott
      • That's unusable though

        XP Starter edition is unusable for most people. It's too restricted.
        • Of course it is

          However, it's not there to be used, it's there to keep people from using something else.
          Yagotta B. Kidding
          • That's debatable

            " it's there to keep people from using something else"

            That's debatable if it's effective. People want to use the real thing.
      • I know

        And I'm betting that the "little brown brother" crippleware won't have the First World piracy prevention.

        It's a two-pronged plan: reduce the incentive to pirate the full-featured versions, plus provide an alternative to non-MS software.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
    • No body wants that version

      They want the full version.
      • Then they can pay for the full version

        We all want a lot of things. Life is like that.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • Won't happen, they'll turn to Linux

          There are only the following choices for many people in the world.

          Use a pirated version of Windows and Office.
          Use Linux and Open Office.

          It's up to Microsoft which do they prefer for the third world and college students. The choice is very simple.

          Academic licensing or crippleware may be an alternative for some, but I believe it's only good for a minority of people.
          • What?.......

            Er ah........
            What the......
            Why that's it.
            I think we are witnessing George having a catharsis

            Behold George the Linux Child is born.

            (insert religious incantations here)

            ah ummmmmmm.

            Naw. Can't be.

            Nevermind. False alarm. I am wrong.
            D T Schmitz
          • Nahh he's said it before

            George has pointed out before that strict licensing enforcement would increase FOSS use. I'm in 100% agreement with George here.

            Piracy hurts FOSS, shareware, and those shooting for the consumer market far more than the big software makers.
            Edward Meyers
          • Yup, and long debate here

            Here's a long debate with Anton. Shoot, where's Anton? I haven't seen him in a while.


            Oh, you'll have to paste together the URL and remove the space injected by forum.
          • Debunker

            Is there a 'debunker' in the house?


            OK one more time.
            OK, putting a checkmark on [x] abesnt.
            D T Schmitz
          • Someone else is missing

            Where's No-Axe/Don?

            The reason why the companies offering sub $50 alternatives and why FOSS alternatives don't have as large a share as they do is because a cheap/no-cost alternative exists... The pirate/bootleg copy.

            This is also true of music. Indiebands are selling their CDs for under $10 and allowing free downloads under a CC license/$.50 downloads but people pirate the $15-$20 Label owned music because it is a $0(if they don't get caught) to them alternative.

            This is also why DRM is evil... FOSS and shareware is effectively locked out of legally (Not technically) playing/reading the legally purchased content.
            Edward Meyers
          • On the Mike Cox scale...

            ... that scores 11.0 out of 10.0!


            Hey George - you feel any different?
          • George - belief is not reality

            Academic versions of Office are used universally by students. Remember the vast majority of students are not IT people and very few of them have even heard of Linux or know what an OS is.

            Academic versions are not crippled.
          • You'd be very surprised......

            at how many students know what linux is. Most of the students I have met know linux and Macs.

            Making gross generalized statements such as yours, are always proved wrong.
            linux for me
          • Outside of the Comp Sci department?

            I am sure that works dandy for your little CS study groups, but for those sorority girls who can barely turn a computer on, yet know every custom setting to IM and MySpace never heard of Linux and for some reason don't find the penguin that cute. They go nuts over the MySQL dolphin though.
          • Big difference

            There knowing what Linux and most do know. Linux is not a well kept secret and kids these days aren't computer illiterate like they were when I was in College.

            Do they use Linux, probably not since most students get a PC that comes with Windows pre-intalled right from the likes of Dell.
          • Yes, they often use a copy of an academic version

            You're right, they often use a copy of an academic version. Hundred here, two hundred there, another hundred there for academic software just doesn't fly for a lot of college students.