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Vista's Legal Fine Print Raises Red Flags (All your computer are belong to us.)
The Toronto Star ^ | January 29, 2007 | Michael Geist

Posted on 01/29/2007 11:13:55 AM PST by quidnunc

Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, makes its long awaited consumer debut tomorrow. The first major upgrade in five years, Vista incorporates a new, sleek look and features a wide array of new functionality, such as better search tools and stronger security.

The early reviews have tended to damn the upgrade with faint praise, however, characterizing it as the best, most secure version of Windows, yet one that contains few, if any, revolutionary features.

While those reviews have focused chiefly on Vista's new functionality, for the past few months the legal and technical communities have dug into Vista's "fine print." Those communities have raised red flags about Vista's legal terms and conditions as well as the technical limitations that have been incorporated into the software at the insistence of the motion picture industry.

The net effect of these concerns may constitute the real Vista revolution as they point to an unprecedented loss of consumer control over their own personal computers. In the name of shielding consumers from computer viruses and protecting copyright owners from potential infringement, Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user.

Vista's legal fine print includes extensive provisions granting Microsoft the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software and holds the prospect of deleting certain programs without the user's knowledge. During the installation process, users "activate" Vista by associating it with a particular computer or device and transmitting certain hardware information directly to Microsoft.

Even after installation, the legal agreement grants Microsoft the right to revalidate the software or to require users to reactivate it should they make changes to their computer components. In addition, it sets significant limits on the ability to copy or transfer the software, prohibiting anything more than a single backup copy and setting strict limits on transferring the software to different devices or users.

Vista also incorporates Windows Defender, an anti-virus program that actively scans computers for "spyware, adware, and other potentially unwanted software." The agreement does not define any of these terms, leaving it to Microsoft to determine what constitutes unwanted software.

-snip-


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
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1 posted on 01/29/2007 11:13:58 AM PST by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc

Now I know I'll stick to Windows XP.


2 posted on 01/29/2007 11:16:11 AM PST by wastedyears ( "Gun control is hitting your target accurately." - Richard Marcinko)
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To: quidnunc
Sounds like the definition of a virus to me.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

3 posted on 01/29/2007 11:16:15 AM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: quidnunc

Bill Gates IS Big Brother!


4 posted on 01/29/2007 11:16:27 AM PST by hophead ("A questions not really a question, if you know the answer too.")
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To: quidnunc

That kinda reminds me of the Patriot Act.


5 posted on 01/29/2007 11:17:25 AM PST by B4Ranch (Press "1" for English, or Press "2" and you will be disconnected until you learn to speak English.)
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To: quidnunc
Microsoft Vista:  the Soylent Green of PC operating systems.
6 posted on 01/29/2007 11:17:31 AM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: quidnunc
Even after installation, the legal agreement grants Microsoft the right to revalidate the software or to require users to reactivate it should they make changes to their computer components. In addition, it sets significant limits on the ability to copy or transfer the software, prohibiting anything more than a single backup copy and setting strict limits on transferring the software to different devices or users.

XP has a similar set up.

7 posted on 01/29/2007 11:17:44 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: quidnunc

Ping for a later post of URL with interesting information.


8 posted on 01/29/2007 11:18:27 AM PST by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: quidnunc

I think the direction Microsoft is moving in is disturbing..but it is their product I guess.

Regarding defender, I ran that stuff on my w2k box for a while and it never found anything. That would be good if were not for the fact that spybot and adaware were finding things. Did anyone else run it and what did you think?


9 posted on 01/29/2007 11:19:33 AM PST by DonaldC
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To: hophead

I think his partner, Paul Allen is really the one who must be watched.


10 posted on 01/29/2007 11:21:35 AM PST by Banjoguy (The words "Democrat" and democratic are not interchangable.)
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To: quidnunc

Someone contact Admiral Ackbar. I think we need his input here.


11 posted on 01/29/2007 11:21:36 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: SLB

What do you think of this?


12 posted on 01/29/2007 11:21:41 AM PST by Stonewall Jackson (I see storms on the horizon.)
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To: quidnunc

Yawn. Same old ****, different day.


13 posted on 01/29/2007 11:22:45 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Monocacy!)
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To: quidnunc
Vista seemingly wrestles control of the "user experience" from the user

Jeez, they're turning it into a Mac!

14 posted on 01/29/2007 11:23:15 AM PST by NonValueAdded (Pelosi, the call was for Comity, not Comedy. But thanks for the laughs. StarKisses, NVA.)
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To: quidnunc

LOL, that didn't take long. Looks like someone's already cracked Vista's DRM.

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/01/29/1811201.shtml


15 posted on 01/29/2007 11:23:58 AM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: quidnunc
Someday, someone will
build special asylums for
the people who feel

the imperative
to spend every waking hour
"informing" the world

of Microsoft's "flaws"
and attacking everything
that Microsoft does.

(If I'm put in charge
of the asylums' IT,
I'll make it a point

to build our software
around Vista -- then inmates
can dream of escape . . .)

16 posted on 01/29/2007 11:24:04 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: quidnunc
All Your Computers Are Belong To Us

..Gates knew it all along...

17 posted on 01/29/2007 11:24:19 AM PST by WalterSkinner ( ..when there is any conflict between God and Caesar -- guess who loses?)
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To: quidnunc

Spyware.


18 posted on 01/29/2007 11:24:30 AM PST by Petronski (Who am I and why am I here?)
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To: wastedyears
Now I know I'll stick to Windows XP.

Very smart. Vista won't be needed for years yet, if ever.

Needs a gig of RAM just to idle, more to do anything serious. The medium to high-end versions are needed for all the eye-candy. The 3d-view is awkward. The UI is a ripoff of Mac OSX right down to the Gadgets feature and the new Search gadget.

The most compelling reason to upgrade is if you are a high-end gamer with $2000 or more invested in your hardware. Even then, the games and even the video cards aren't yet widely available and won't be for at least a year.

Vista looks to be the new Windows Millennium (previously the worst known version of Windows). Oh, and it's annoying and confusing for anyone except expert users, spending most of its time forcing you to click on this or that authorization for something it doesn't explain to you. Early studies are showing that it's so annoying that people just turn off all the security features to keep it from pestering them so much and end up far worse off for security than they were with XP. Oh, and Microsoft locked out the other antivirus companies so you can't use your reliable security programs with it even though it's very lame.

I won't even start in on all the DRM stuff that is designed to degrade your HD videos if you don't have HDMI/HDCP monitors and video cards. Lot of people out there have over 2 grand of first-rate equipment and buy the HD-DVD drive for another $200 and still can't even play it on their screen. It down-rez's it to DVD resolution.

I warned all my friends, families and customers to get a new machine with XP on it before Vista is the only choice. Or to just get a Mac which is what I finally did (Mac Pro). I haven't been this content with my computer in years. I use it to multi-boot, running Mac OSX, WinXP and Ubuntu Linux all simultaneously, all on top of the lovely Mac rock-solid BSD OS. Very stable, an amazing setup.

Vista is the Zune of operating systems.
19 posted on 01/29/2007 11:33:35 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: George W. Bush

"Oh, and Microsoft locked out the other antivirus companies so you can't use your reliable security programs with it even though it's very lame."

I had not heard this. Is this a perm. situation?


20 posted on 01/29/2007 11:36:47 AM PST by DonaldC
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To: George W. Bush; Petronski
Vista is the Zune of operating systems.

LOL.

21 posted on 01/29/2007 11:36:48 AM PST by jdm
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To: quidnunc
I'll stick with XP-PRO until it corrupts itself, and then maybe go to Xandros for $60. :)

I misplaced my Windows XP-PRO disk and product code so I should spend another $280 again. Registration is a one way street for MS.
22 posted on 01/29/2007 11:37:51 AM PST by captain anode ("love it or leave it" Ramsey is a bottom feeder.)
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To: redgolum
XP has a similar set up.

Slashdot: Professor Michael Geist on Vista's Fine Print

Includes a lot of varied comments from techies about why Vista is bad for business and bad for the home.

Some of the Vista crap is just inexcusable. What a bad joke.
23 posted on 01/29/2007 11:44:08 AM PST by George W. Bush
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Oopsie.

Slashdot: Professor Michael Geist on Vista's Fine Print
24 posted on 01/29/2007 11:45:41 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: George W. Bush
Yup, and there are a host of other problems as well. Even as I type this, there are dozens of programs that won't work with Vista and there is very bad driver support. I just find the whole thing highly annoying (won't work with some games, doesn't recognize some hardware, no hardware audio etc).
25 posted on 01/29/2007 11:45:57 AM PST by corlorde (New Hampshire)
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To: George W. Bush
A long and scary analysis of Vista's DRM.

Yeah, Vista is "secure", if you are the RIAA.

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

Originally linked from here:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/12/a_cost_analysis.html

26 posted on 01/29/2007 11:46:26 AM PST by dinasour (Pajamahadeen, SnowFlake, and Eeevil Doer.)
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To: George W. Bush

Had supper with a friend from out of town last night. He works on the installers for a major lab and control software company.

He basically said "Don't do Vista". There is going to be massive issues with this one.


27 posted on 01/29/2007 11:47:09 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: dinasour
Remember when Sony infected millions of PC's with a malicious rootkit? I'm not crazy about giving any third party low level access to my PC.
28 posted on 01/29/2007 11:48:57 AM PST by corlorde (New Hampshire)
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To: corlorde
The issue with the Sony rootkit, and maybe with Vista, is that under current law you don't "own" the software or music. You own (or lease) a license which can be revoked under certain conditions.
29 posted on 01/29/2007 11:51:47 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: DonaldC
I had not heard this. Is this a perm. situation?

That's their intent. Looks like some lawsuits and legal wrangling are forthcoming from Norton (ugh-bad) and McAfee (only a little better). Norton's corporate stuff under the Symantec label is quite good though, nothing like the horrible versions for home users of Norton.

Norton and McAfee aren't popular with techies because they're slow resource hogs and don't do an especially good job at detecting viruses, no better than some of the free or lesser known AV programs. Norton is particularly bad because it can crash your machine permanently if you simply try to uninstall it.

I recommend AVG Free and Spybot Search And Destroy, both free. If updated regularly, they do as well as anything. Both free, both well-known, neither one a resource hog. Intel now owns AVG. For technical users, NOD32 is probably the finest AV software out there. But it requires more knowledge and tending than AVG with only a slight advantage in security for most people.
30 posted on 01/29/2007 11:53:34 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: captain anode
I misplaced my Windows XP-PRO disk and product code so I should spend another $280 again. Registration is a one way street for MS.

There are a variety of freeware programs that will extract the product code out of your existing copy of XP. Here's one:

http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml

31 posted on 01/29/2007 11:57:35 AM PST by Space Wrangler
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To: redgolum
He basically said "Don't do Vista". There is going to be massive issues with this one.

He's right. I'm no Microsoft fanboi but I will say that the Microsoft product people should consider is Office 2007. Despite trying to screw the open standards pooch (like they always do), if you're willing to learn their new layout, worker productivity does go up with it. It's more oriented toward what-you-want-to-do, a more user-centric design. So we have to give ol' M$ some credit in 2007.

Office 2007 is a product that shouldn't be ignored. Vista is.
32 posted on 01/29/2007 11:59:38 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: corlorde
> Remember when Sony infected millions of PC's with a malicious rootkit?

It is also of some note that the company that wrote the software that discovered the rootkit, is now wholly owned by Microsoft.

Systems Internals had some really good "toys for geeks".

Now known as:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx

I predict they will disappear completely.
33 posted on 01/29/2007 12:02:03 PM PST by dinasour (Pajamahadeen, SnowFlake, and Eeevil Doer.)
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To: Space Wrangler

Hey, Thanks!


34 posted on 01/29/2007 12:02:15 PM PST by captain anode ("love it or leave it" Ramsey is a bottom feeder.)
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To: captain anode
I misplaced my Windows XP-PRO disk and product code so I should spend another $280 again.

If you want some help with that, let me know. You don't have to reinstall from your original media again. You can use any WinXP Pro (retail or OEM) that matches your original installation and then enter your license information at the appropriate point (right at the activation prompt).

Not hard to do. Perfectly legal because you own a license to WinXP Pro, not merely a license to that one disk that you lost.
35 posted on 01/29/2007 12:03:27 PM PST by George W. Bush
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To: corlorde
(won't work with some games, doesn't recognize some hardware, no hardware audio etc)

Many of those mass-market machines like the Dell's that people bought last year that were "Certified For Vista" turned out not to be. They don't have drivers, they don't work, they hose the existing WinXP installation.

This is especially true of the laptops.

Make sure that others with identical hardware have successfully done the Vista upgrade before you risk your setup. For Dell, check the Dell.com forums for info. Very useful before you jump off the Vista cliff with no parachute.
36 posted on 01/29/2007 12:07:13 PM PST by George W. Bush
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To: George W. Bush

I'm really liking Office '07. As you said, there is a learning curve involved, but I think MS actually listened to its customers for a change. Once you get through the curve, it is very much an improvement in productivity.

Vista....well, what is there to say really? For the most part, it's eye candy. MS seems to be taking the marketing approach of hitting the home consumers on this one. I know of no corporate IT departments that even have evaluations scheduled for Vista. Server 2003 is still a long time in the pipeline, and without some major AD additions to take advantage of Vista, and Longhorn still at least a year away, there is no incentive at all to move the desktop environment over to Vista. Right now it's all downside...added hardware cost, productivity hits while users adjust to the learning curve, limited support, etc, etc. I think if we take the time machine to one year from today, we may start seeing some evaluations taking place, but after a year in the pipeline and XP will still be the predominant OS in the corporate world.


37 posted on 01/29/2007 12:12:37 PM PST by Space Wrangler
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To: jdm; George W. Bush

Will sales zune too?


38 posted on 01/29/2007 12:17:37 PM PST by Petronski (Who am I and why am I here?)
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To: Petronski
Will sales zune too?

No. Microsoft will refuse to sell copies of XP to Dell/HP/Gateway or in retail packages. So they'll sell them because you won't be able to buy computers with XP and Vista will be included "free". Just like they've done before.

Microsoft is a damned monopoly. I hope the EU continues to go after them on it and on DRM. I noticed that the EU, led by Norway, is going after Apple for their far less intrusive DRM as well. It's all good.

On the DRM thing, it's clear now that M$'s draconian PlaysForSure DRM is a squalid failure and will never succeed. So now Microsoft is pretending to be anti-DRM (for audio CDs) to placate Europe and to hurt Apple's very profitable iTunes store. To make it even more fun, M$'s stupid Zune wireless thing of share-and-play-it-3-times policy has now been shortcircuited by some of their music suppliers so you can't even do their puny worthless filesharing thing.

Microsoft really needs to get some smarter marketing and design people. Geez.
39 posted on 01/29/2007 12:28:05 PM PST by George W. Bush
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To: Space Wrangler
Once you get through the curve, it is very much an improvement in productivity.

Even all us rabid M$ critics have to admit it: Office 2007 was done right. And retraining is an effort but doable in short order. Then people love it and productivity goes up markedly. In a large organization with, say, 20 office workers, maybe it means you don't have to hire that new employee. Given its omnipresence in American business, Office 2007 upgrades are pretty much a no-brainer, a question of when to upgrade, not whether to. Vista is not so compelling though.

The only question is why they didn't do this in Office 2003/2004. Still, they did it right and deserve the credit.
40 posted on 01/29/2007 12:34:10 PM PST by George W. Bush
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: captain anode

After a little further investigation, you may want to use the Belarc Advisor at http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html. You can use the magic jellybean link that I sent, but you'll want to remove it immediately afterwards as it apparently is not liked by most anti-spyware programs. That is enough for me to withdraw my recommendation of it. The Belarc Advisor is a pretty handy little program in its own right though.


42 posted on 01/29/2007 12:44:44 PM PST by Space Wrangler
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Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: Space Wrangler; captain anode

Belarc Advisor: good stuff.


44 posted on 01/29/2007 1:03:59 PM PST by George W. Bush
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To: quidnunc
The first major upgrade in five years...

Geez....I considered WinXP's SP2 to be a major upgrade.

45 posted on 01/29/2007 1:13:26 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Anger and hate need only to burn the air and life they swallow and smother to survive.)
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To: Petronski
...will not "look like ass." ---Jim Alchin

Oh, my, that is hysterical!

46 posted on 01/29/2007 1:13:49 PM PST by jdm
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts
Geez....I considered WinXP's SP2 to be a major upgrade.

Didn't SP2 come out in 2002, though? It's been about five years since SP2, as well (at least I think).

47 posted on 01/29/2007 1:15:25 PM PST by jdm
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To: DonaldC
Did anyone else run it and what did you think?

It was a great product when it was Giant Spyware Tool. I ran it as a MS beta and deleted it when it was no longer free. It was useless.
For spyware protection and cleaning you can't beat AdAware and Spysweeper.

48 posted on 01/29/2007 1:18:46 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Anger and hate need only to burn the air and life they swallow and smother to survive.)
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To: Space Wrangler
There are a variety of freeware programs that will extract the product code out of your existing copy of XP.

"Insane Keyfinder" is another. It also extracts the MS Office key.

49 posted on 01/29/2007 1:27:14 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Anger and hate need only to burn the air and life they swallow and smother to survive.)
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To: jdm

WinXP SP2 release date was August 25, 2004.


50 posted on 01/29/2007 1:28:48 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Anger and hate need only to burn the air and life they swallow and smother to survive.)
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