Microsoft admits targeting Wine users

Microsoft admits targeting Wine users

Summary: The software giant has admitted specifically excluding users of the popular Windows compatibility toolkit with its update tool

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Microsoft prioritised making its anti-piracy tool prevent users of Wine, an open source toolkit that allows users to run Windows applications under Linux, from downloading Windows updates, the software giant said on Friday.

A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet UK it made sure the validation tool used by its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) programme identified Wine users, so that only users are running a genuine version of Windows could download updates and add-on tools.

"As the most popular third-party translation technology in use, Wine was the first emulator to be specifically tested for via WGA," said the spokesperson. "Microsoft does not knowingly provide copyrighted Microsoft Windows OS files to users of third-party emulators or cross-platform API translation technologies such as Wine."

The spokesperson said users who are not running Windows XP or Windows 2000 natively can still download updates for Microsoft Office from the Office Update Web site.

Microsoft's public acknowledgement of Wine suggests a shift in corporate policy. Earlier this week Jeremy White, chief executive at CodeWeavers, which sells products based on Wine, said that Microsoft has until now had "a clear corporate policy to not talk about Wine".

For this reason, 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."

Topic: Operating Systems

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  • Well this is rare. Microsoft admitting potentially illegal practices and admitting they're scared of something. I think I've regained some slight respect for them.
    anonymous
  • I think it's outrageous that Microsoft is intentionally blocking users of legitimate Microsoft products just because the user chooses not to use Windows! Note to Microsoft: Hey guys, not everyone thinks Windows is the bee's knees! In my opinion it's buggy, bloated and downright insecure. Others may think differently. Regardless, I should be able to run my legitimately purchased copy of office on Unix if I choose and receive every update that i'm entitled. This is just one more incentive for me to move to open source equivalents of all the Microsoft software I currently use. If this isn't behavior becoming of a Monopolist, then I don't know what is!
    anonymous
  • Good move, nice, optimal, unexpected!!. Microsoft attitude will push users to get rid of Windows as soon as possible.
    anonymous
  • Minimum system requirements:
    Microsoft Windows.

    You knew what you were getting into when you bought the software.

    pwn3d.
    anonymous
  • does anyone spell/grammar proof these columns, or should i consider zdnet of the same literary quality as most blogging sites?
    anonymous
  • What about those users running a legal, dual-boot system? Are the registry keys that MS is targeting still going to prevent the updates from working?
    anonymous
  • This is an outrage.

    Microsoft has a responsibility to keep its products secure, regardless of whether its products are running in Windows or Wine.

    The Microsoft products themselves have been legally purchased, so Microsoft should not discriminate against users of alternate operating systems.
    anonymous
  • "Minimum system requirements:
    Microsoft Windows.

    You knew what you were getting into when you bought the software.

    pwn3d."

    You sir are quite mistaken. If I purchase a piece of software, by God I will run it on whatever I want to. Fair Use states I am allowed to do so.
    anonymous
  • Good. Valid Windows users **paid** for it, so Microsoft gives them updates for free. Linux users didn't pay for anything, so why should Microsoft furnish them with software for free??? They have zero obligation to give away software that they paid for through the labor of their programmers to people that haven't paid for it. This is **not** illegal in any senses.
    anonymous
  • Do you guys read the entire article before bashing Microsoft ? Here is one paragraph that I read:

    "The spokesperson said users who are not running Windows XP or Windows 2000 natively can still download updates for Microsoft Office from the Office Update Web site."

    So, it stated that user can still download NON-OS patches. Which is fine. As long as you have a legal license of Non-OS app, you can download and apply the patch. It only stated that ppl without a legal OS license (as in the case of WINE), you cannot download the OS patches. Seem to make sense to me. In fact, if you're running WINE, chances are, you wouldn't wanted to download and install MS's Patch. Who knows what it will do the the WINE application. And, yes, WINE is just an application running on top of Linux (or other platforms).

    Please people, please read the entire article before we start to bash other over their heads with things. It just seems like a mention of 'MS' would trigger all these bashing.

    Wouldn't it be worst if you are running WINE and upon going to MS's download site, it automatically download and apply their patch on top of WINE ? Wouldn't that cause a much bigger stir with you bashers ?

    Come on, at least be reasonable.
    anonymous
  • If a person pays for microsoft office, that person should be entitled to office updates, no matter what platform they run their office software under.

    This move will only serve to further alienate people and encourage them to purchase non-microsoft products.
    anonymous
  • Re: Windows users **paid**; The article is talking about updates for Microsoft Office that are running under Wine. Customers using this solution have paid for Office just like any other Office user. Microsoft is discriminating based on the operating system that the product is running on, which may very well be illegal.
    anonymous
  • Most software also states what the minimum hardware requirements are.

    If I am running Windows under a virtual machine (Virtual PC or VMWare) I am not running on the minimum hardware required, it is running on emulated not real hardware.

    Does this mean the MS will not support it? Nope, they will. To the OS, it appears that it is running on real hardware.

    Running Windows based software under WINE is no different. To the software it appears it is running on Windows.
    anonymous
  • Good for MS.

    Let's be clear about something: You bought MS Office for WINDOWS. You didn't buy MS Office for SOMETHING LIKE WINDOWS. You don't expect MS Office for Mac to run on Windows, why would you expect MS Office for Windows to run on something else?

    If you bought it then obviously it is your software and you can do what you want with it. Just don't expect MS to go to great lengths to help you run in an unsupported manner. It's like expecting Nintendo to help you get your ROM game running on a SNES emulator.

    I know you all love to hate Microsoft but I think they are being quite fair this time. WINE uses dlls and modules that were written by Microsoft yet they have not paid for them. Is WINE violating copyright? No, they are asking you to do that for them.

    I don't get the big deal anyway. What are you running Office on *nix for anyway? Shouldn't you be using that piece of crap, OpenOffice anyway you sellouts?

    I think this is definately Microsoft's way of acknowledging WINE. Of course my way of acknowledging flies is to pull out a rolled up newspaper. It certainly doesn't mean I feel threatened.
    anonymous
  • === QUOTE ===
    Let's be clear about something: You bought MS Office for WINDOWS. You didn't buy MS Office for SOMETHING LIKE WINDOWS. You don't expect MS Office for Mac to run on Windows, why would you expect MS Office for Windows to run on something else?
    === QUOTE ===

    Apparently, MS Office DOES run on "something like Windows", so why shouldn't they be allowed to get updates? Are they calling for technical support? If they were, _then_ I'd agree with your argument. However, if they are self-supporting and all they want to do is get an update to fix bugs, then I don't understand your objection.

    Running MS Office for MAC on Windows? That's a strawman argument and is, therefore, absolutely rediculous. Macs aren't x86. Linux runs on the same hardware as MS-Windows, so adding a software compatibility layer shouldn't be a problem, except that Microsoft is desperate to maintain their OS monopoly.

    === QUOTE ====
    I don't get the big deal anyway. What are you running Office on *nix for anyway? Shouldn't you be using that piece of crap, OpenOffice anyway you sellouts?
    === QUOTE ===

    Because some silly people have decided that MS Office is a "standard" (tip: it's not!) and MS has gone to great lengths to not document the file format, so while that "piece of crap, OpenOffice[.org]" may open those PROPRIETARY Microsoft file formats 99% of the time, there's always that 1% where the formatting isn't right or OOo just can't open the file.

    Think before you post next time.
    anonymous
  • RE: Good for MS. Let's be clear about something: You bought MS Of...

    You I can understand them not supporting your Office installation if you are running it under Wine. But to deny updates to the software that you bought is just evil. A repuation that Microsoft has been living up to more and more lately.


    Bret Baptist.
    anonymous
  • I'm just reposting this because this person has a good point

    Do you guys read the entire article before bashing Microsoft ? Here is one paragraph that I read:

    "The spokesperson said users who are not running Windows XP or Windows 2000 natively can still download updates for Microsoft Office from the Office Update Web site."

    So, it stated that user can still download NON-OS patches. Which is fine. As long as you have a legal license of Non-OS app, you can download and apply the patch. It only stated that ppl without a legal OS license (as in the case of WINE), you cannot download the OS patches. Seem to make sense to me. In fact, if you're running WINE, chances are, you wouldn't wanted to download and install MS's Patch. Who knows what it will do the the WINE application. And, yes, WINE is just an application running on top of Linux (or other platforms).

    Please people, please read the entire article before we start to bash other over their heads with things. It just seems like a mention of 'MS' would trigger all these bashing.

    Wouldn't it be worst if you are running WINE and upon going to MS's download site, it automatically download and apply their patch on top of WINE ? Wouldn't that cause a much bigger stir with you bashers ?

    Come on, at least be reasonable.
    anonymous
  • "You sir are quite mistaken. If I purchase a piece of software, by God I will run it on whatever I want to. Fair Use states I am allowed to do so."

    I just saw this and I couldn't help but laugh.

    This kind of haughty attitude is what makes me hate Linux, and their users.

    The software says it requires Microsoft Windows. Your argument is about as stupid as someone complaining because HL2 can't run on Win3.1.

    I'm glad Microsoft is doing this. About time they took some action against this kind of misuse and, in most cases, piracy (Linux users = free software).
    anonymous
  • "I'm glad Microsoft is doing this. About time they took some action against this kind of misuse and, in most cases, piracy (Linux users = free software)"

    Whoa, hold on there pally, before you run off and start calling people stupid let's think about this for a moment. It's true that you can get most if not all distro's of *nix for free (legally). Granted. You can also get a copy OOo and a lot of other kinds of Office suites fro free (legally). OK... with me so far? Now, let's take a look at the situation as a whole.
    Now, I what I'm seeing is that some people have made a decision to use another opperating system instead of the "tried and true" Windows. But for whatever reason, whether they are just more familiar with Office or just have to work with people who use Office... at there office, they need it. So they buy Office and get Wine to run it. No problem, right?
    Alright, let's revisit something. 1) This attack won't effect people who already have office installed. 2) Like a talk back already mentioned - this is probably better for your average wine user because the development team will have a chance to see how different updates can or should effect the Wine application and then tweek it so that it work properly.
    As far as Piracy is concerned... It has been my experience that a majority of the people who do piracy related to software for Window use Windows. I mean, one of the draws of open source is that it's free and when you look at a typical Window user, they are already spending hundreds to thousands of dollars paying for hardware and software (Did I mention that office included for free?) that some would probably not question looking into solutions that can save them a buck or two. In fact, when I mention to my friends that I'm going to buy some software, they look at me as if I just went crazy.

    Whew... I'm a little all over the place with that one. Later.
    anonymous
  • "Jack Benetton, Occupation: software engineer
    Commented: Good. Valid Windows users **paid** for it, so Microsoft gives them updates for free. Linux users didn't pay for anything, so why should Microsoft furnish them with software for free??? They have zero obligation to give away software that they paid for through the labor of their programmers to people that haven't paid for it. This is **not** illegal in any senses."

    I think you are confused sir. We're not necessarily talking about pirated software here. When I go out to the store and purchase Microsoft Office, I can currently use WINE to run that legally purchased software on a Linux/Unix operating system, instead of Windows; if I choose. What Microsoft is doing is penalizing me for not choosing Windows and is blocking me from downloading any updates, bug-fixes or new features for my legally purchased software just because i'm not running it on their operating system (i.e., Windows.) That is NOT fair!
    anonymous