Microsoft's Genuine Disadvantage

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Do you need another reason today to love GNU? Check out Ed Bott's Microsoft Pushes the Stupid Button, which outlines some pretty horrific consequences of the big M's new plot to annoy lamers into ponying up for storebought copies of Windows. The only problem is, the system is as buggy as a Louisiana summer evening in the bayou. The "Validation Tool" assumes you're guilty until proven innocent, and, what's worse -- Microsoft violated its own user agreement to get this malware installed on its users' systems. This is heavy stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't hear of a class action soon (assuming there isn't one already).



Matt Barton's picture

I'm really surprised to hear that so many folks are still using Windows ME or 98. Both were incredibly buggy and vasty inferior to XP. However, the high cost of XP coupled with all the new "anti-piracy" measures in place, it's no wonder that so many people are taking a new look at GNU. I always thought that Microsoft was willing to tolerate unauthorized distribution of its products provided it was lowkey and non-commercial. The tradeoff was, you get kids growing up using the tools, and then they are ready to use them in the workplace--where Microsoft did keep a close eye on unauthorized copies. Now, it looks like Microsoft is reversing that strategy and telling the kids that they just shouldn't use Windows at all if they can't afford it. If they keep this up, I'm sure we'll see massive support for GNU/Linux building up.

In short, the better Microsoft gets at curtailing "piracy," the more kids will grow up using GNU instead of Microsoft. When that generation enters the job market, they're not going to want to re-tool to Microsoft. Then again, Adobe has tried its best to keep kids away from its products for a long time, and Photoshop remains the standard. Still, even with all of these measures, I know plenty of kids who have unauthorized copies of both Photoshop and Windows XP/Office running on their machines.

It'll be interesting to see what'll happen if any of these companies ever gets to the point where cracking or getting unauthorized copies won't be worth the effort. Will all those kids then turn to GNU? Or will they simply give up on tech and find other ways to amuse themselves?

Mr. S's picture
Submitted by Mr. S (not verified) on

Recently had laptop serviced and lost windows 2003, which I copied from a friend. After I got my laptop back without Microsoft 2003, I went out and bought windows 2007 and tried to use templates and got the not Genuine message. Is there anyway to get Genuine without paying microsoft?

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Matt Barton's picture


Matt Barton is an English professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He is an advocate of free software, wikis, and the Creative Commons. He also studies and writes about videogames and computing history. Matt also has blogs at Armchair Arcade, Gameology, and Kairosnews.