Thursday, November 02, 2006

Windows EULA

Okay, just so people don't get the idea that I'm a supporter of Microsoft-style EULA's (though I'm also not a big supporter of GPL-style EULA's)...

Paul Thurrott is a man, just like you, except he has roots and fronds because he is also a plant. (Thanks to Tycho for that word-play)

Matt is funny and accurate as usual, so I'll continue on from Matt's thoughts.

Paul uses the same tactic with the other "newer, bigger than ever!" restrictions...Re: "Windows Transfer Rights" he says:
What's more amazing is that the number of people who actually try to do this is incredibly small. Since you can't transfer a copy of Windows that comes with a new PC anyway, less than 10 percent of all Windows licenses are transferable at all. And of those, only a tiny percentage of users have ever tried to even transfer a Windows license once. The only people that really need to do this regularly are hardcore PC enthusiasts who change their machine configurations regularly. In short, this new restriction isn't all that new and it won't affect any mainstream users.

To me, this just highlights the fact that Microsoft really doesn't give a crap about "developers, developers, developers, developers" anymore. Try calling up Microsoft with a technical programming support question sometime. We had a problem with .Net Framework for Windows CE a couple years back and when our main .Net engineer called MS, they basically said, "Tough. We'll try to get around to it in the next service pack."

I also like his similar "rebuttal" to the "Adding and removing PC components" issue.
Fewer than 5 percent of PC users ever open a PC case let alone perform major hardware surgery. But if you're one of those guys who regularly upgrades your PC's hardware, you'll be happy to hear that instances of forced reactivation because of hardware upgrades are less frequent under Vista than they were under XP. More to the point, this is another one of those issues that only affects a tiny, tiny percentage of Windows users.

More to Paul's point - new restrictions aren't really restrictions because most Windows users won't be affected. Uh, sure .... that makes all kinds of sense. Maybe thousands of developers, power-users, and enthusiasts are small in comparison to the entire Windows user-base ... but that doesn't really change the fact that these new restrictions are indeed that - restrictions.

I also have to rip into Paul for the notion that hardware upgrades are less frequent under Vista than Windows XP. I don't think he and I have been reading the same industry comments. So maybe it's not Vista's shiny new algorithm, but the fact that most Vista users (at least 90% are OEM, remember) users will have to buy a new computer just to run Vista?! Again, that's just a whole bundle of sense from Mr. Thurrott.

1 comment:

Matt Crouch said...

Nice and concise. Your emphases throught put me in mind of a very long-tail insight: small does not equal zero.

In fact, small can equal more than big if there are enough of it.

Kinda touches on several of (y)our recent topics: e.g. Blankenhorn on F/OSS eventually generating "serious numbers". Great point, blank! there aren't any 200 billion dollar F/OSS companies. But there are prolly 5 million freelance devs making $40K/yr (i.e. $200 B) off of LAMP