Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be Sure You're Ready For Microsoft...

... when they do this.

Do you run Windows 7 or plan to do so (perhaps compelled by work)? If you don't deliberately dodge Microsoft's KB971033 update, you may find that your Windows 7 system "phones home" every 90 days to check whether M$'s authentication system believes you have a genuine licensed copy of Windows... and if it determines you do not, IT SUMMARILY DOWNGRADES YOUR SYSTEM, no delay, no appeal, demanding you pay for a new license right away. If you feel you were somehow "had," you can petition Microsoft to restore the system, but YOU have to prove to THEIR satisfaction that you are not a user of a pirated copy of Windows. And this is "cradle-to-grave": your system may have registered as "genuine" for five years since you bought the machine, but suddenly one morning begin complaining of piracy. Tough shit, kiddo; it's M$, after all.

What does this mean for us beleagured end-users, the people whom Microsoft once viewed as "customers" before it embarked on paranoid fantasies? It means we have few options. One is to pray that it's not your particular computer on which the phone-home procedure happens to run amok today. But you know, if M$ applies its draconian piracy remedy today, what will it do tomorrow, when (inevitably) widespread piracy is NOT brought to a screeching halt? How far will they go? How much raw hostility will they manifest toward their customers in the interest of stymieing their non-customers?

There is only one guaranteed effective solution for users: don't use Windows for any mission-critical application. That's right... just don't use Windows. Go to a decently maintained and secured version of, say, Linux; develop your apps to that non-Windows platform, and thereby simply refuse to be abused by Microsoft. This is of course neither a trouble-free nor a zero-cost solution. But now is a good time to begin thinking about it, because inevitably you, whether you are a sophisticated wizard or an ordinary home user, have no choice but to respond. Push HAS come to shove.

(H/T lambert.)

1 comment:

  1. yet another reason i avoid microsoft like the plague. i don't use IE on any platform and as soon as i'm comfortable with linus, this little laptop of mine will say goodbye to bill gates' monster forever.

    good thing he's got that foundation. he needs to be giving away billions to atone for the bull he inflicted on computer users. pity he's not using those billions to buy his victims decent hardware and software.



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