M$ v World

M$ has a right to persue violations of copyright/EULA against any of its customers/users. Like any wounded beast lashing out in its death-throes, M$, instead of pursuing violators wants to pursue the customers of violators. The fallout could mean that “the tax” which we now can avoid by buying devices with non-M$ software or building from parts will now be a burden applied to every business which may anywhere use that other OS.

M$ is pushing legislation providing legal liability for any business presumed to use M$’s software illegally. The only real defence against this is to never use M$’s software. I recommend businesses use GNU/Linux. It works for them and not a failing corporation.

M$ has claimed that 90% of the use of their software in China is illegal. China is one of the world’s largest trading partners. Almost every business in the USA uses one or more products made in China. This is about M$ v World. Every Chinese business and every other business trading with China is liable to be hounded by M$’s abuse of the legal system.

See also Microsoft Pushes for Anti piracy Law

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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28 Responses to M$ v World

  1. oldman says:

    “I should not buy a PC just because it can run someone else’s favourite app which I am never likely to use. PCs are information processing machines. Any machine with any OS can do the work.”
    Your personal opinion or notions of what can and can not be done with a computer is irrelevant here. What counts is what the average user of computers thinks. And once you get beyond what I call the appliance computer users who truly don’t do anything much with a computer, you will find that people are actually doing quite a bit with their computers. And if they are professionals and computer users for for any length of time, my experience has been that they will get quite sophisticated with their computers. These people may get frustrated with the attendant overhead of computing, but I guarantee you that if they are presented with the tools that you expect them to use in their new environment, they will say thanks but no thanks. You cant compare scripting with vbscript in its integrated IDE/Debugger with what is in Openoffice. The Openoffice tools are harder to use, poorly documented in comparison to office and the non-programmer programming tools that people are likely to use are IMHO when they exist are poorly supported by a community that considers them frivolous.

    I have no problem making the contention that users of commercial applications running on windows will find that the work needed to keep malware out is miniscule in comparison to the work they will have to do to relearn the linux based tools they will have to go to. Having to string together small IMHO crappy tools/utilities just to duplicate a function that is built into a commercial product is not something anyone is going to want to waste their time doing, no matter what you think, just to avoid malware.

  2. Changing the OS is a tiny cost one time only. An experienced installer with a server and network can install GNU/Linux wholesale just as easily as upgrade/restore that other OS. The way you do that is to boot the PCs from a network installer or cloning system. It takes 10 minutes or so if all the clients accept broadcast data on the LAN. There is a bit or preparatory work but a decent inventory of PC hardware should contain all the necessary information like MAC/hardware addresses of NICs and so forth so that the PC gets a name. Configuring the installed components and setting up a server may take a few hours but it is similar to the effort of installing a single OS and you get the benefit of the installation on a large number of PCs. I don’t know any limitations to this technique if the LAN can be limited to this use for a time. The server never has to lag and the clients just copy stuff. If you charge 8 hours, say, to set everything up, the real cost of the changeover might be 9 hours of labour divided by a hundred PCs so it’s a no-brainer. For an individual the real cost might be a few hours to configure and familiarize but how many hours in the next few years does the individual save? Lots. Say hours count for $40/h, then 9h of work is only $360 whereas the organization or individual is going to spend $100 or more per PC in licences forever every few years. Again it’s a no-brainer. It just pays to use GNU/Linux.

    I have worked in schools that paid about $1000 per PC installed for a computer lab, hardware included. PCs in those days cost about $500 so folks were charging $500 for the licence and installation. I can install GNU/Linux in the whole lab for what others charge for a single PC. At Easterville, I built all the servers from COTS parts and installed thin clients and thick clients. The actual installation of software took one day for 153 seats and 700 accounts. It was a few hours to install software and data on a file/authentication server, a few hours to install software on terminal servers and an hour or so to create accounts. The whole job of cabling and installing boxes and software took 10 days, but the software was only one of those days. It was a large school and just unboxing and moving stuff around took days.

    So, an organization that was motivated can switch over on a weekend, not a large investment for a secure and efficient future.

  3. Ray says:

    “The way I see it, you can have OpenOffice.org without the burden of that other OS.”

    But why create such a hassle to change the OS, when you change to Openoffice.org?

  4. writing of Munich, oldman wrote:“Barely 20% of the systems have been converted.”

    see my blog They have migrated about 50% of PCs to GNU/Linux and 100% to OpenOffice.org and they have not spent most of their training money.

    Munich actually had a very public and open consideration of alternatives with several studies and consultants involved. The plan was public years before they actually started. That’s why M$ got involved. They had lots of opportunity to stir things up. In the end folks are doing their jobs and all is well.

    On the rest of the comment: Why should everyone drive a Cadillac just because they exist? Lots of folks are quite satisfied with a Honda. It has wheels and rolls which is what they need done. With PCs it is the same. I should not buy a PC just because it can run someone else’s favourite app which I am never likely to use. PCs are information processing machines. Any machine with any OS can do the work. The problem I have with that other OS is its cost, complexity and frailty, things that annoy lots of ordinary folks. I have seen folks very annoyed with that other OS because they paid $500 for a machine with that OS, $100 for anti-malware, and $hundreds for Office and still had a machine that slowed down, froze, and got malware infested in normal use. People are sick of that. Even folks who accept those kinds of behaviour as normal balk at the silly differences between XP/”7″ and Office 2003 and 2007. They want off the Wintel treadmill which gets them nowhere.

  5. oldman says:

    “There could be individuals for whom that statement would apply. I am thinking perhaps of people who have used a particular application for years and have learned and use frequently most of the features. ”

    Pog, there ARE plenty of individuals to whom this applies who are not just set in their ways. I work with and deal with both personally and professionally, and they are performing all sorts of tasks both personal and professional that go way beyond the use cases that you are most familiar with. categorizing such computer users as these these people as merely “set in their” was is about as incorrect as Mr. Chapmans indirect characterization of the application specific features that these people leverage to get their work done done as “frivilous” and by implication, unnecessary.

    I can respect your experiences in the far north of Canada, but you have to understand that while it is your world, it nonetheless represents a corner case in PC usage. The average computer user in countries that can afford a luxury like a personal computer, generally has far better connectivity, whether with modem or via broadband, than the areas that you use as your examples.

    “My wife has needed a few minutes to see how the file manager works and to know how to find her old files on the system.”

    Your wife also has a built in senior linux sysadmin at hand who will simply be told to “fix it” when it breaks(And won’t be able to tell ther to RTFM either right? ;-).

    Most people who you would propose to convert would not have this luxury. And as appliance computer users, they will have zero tolerance for any of the “fixes” that they would be expected to apply if things went wrong off script. THis will especially be true of they are windows “converts” I have personally had to “come to the rescue” of several people who influenced to move to a linux desktop and FOSS by some local Linux “enthusiast” who then left them high and dry with no one to help them when things went off the cookbook.

    “Munich as an example has only used a part of its budget for training. Folks just did not need much training to switch the OS and the applications they used.”

    And you believe this why, Pog? I don’t! In fact Munich seems the poster child how not to do a forced conversion(which is what I call and conversion where the target user population is referred to as “slaves”. Barely 20% of the systems have been converted. Perhaps the “slaves” had enough clout to actually demand that hey be given tools to replace those that they had or built, as opposed to just having a totalliy alien system dumped on their desk on the assumption that they would figure it out.

  6. The way I see it, you can have OpenOffice.org without the burden of that other OS.

  7. Ray says:

    Why does everyone has to either stick with their software, or create a forklift upgrade? Why not just use Windows and Openoffice? What’s so hard about it?

    PS. I know, Office 2010 has their grammar check, and Linux has their stability (sans Fedora).

  8. oldman wrote:”one thing the the Linux desktop to would do would be increase people costs because its applications and toolsets are less functional and require more work to get the same results

    There could be individuals for whom that statement would apply. I am thinking perhaps of people who have used a particular application for years and have learned and use frequently most of the features. On the contrary, many people who use PCs use only a few fairly simple applications and perhaps only a few features of the applications they use. A family comes to mind. They had bought a Vista-incapable box and brought it into the bush to play CDs and games. That’s all they wanted to do. Vista shut down on them demanding they phone home. These folks had neither a phone nor a connection to the Internet. Many people I know do little except use a browser.

    Munich as an example has only used a part of its budget for training. Folks just did not need much training to switch the OS and the applications they used. My wife has needed a few minutes to see how the file manager works and to know how to find her old files on the system. I finally installed Google Desktop so she can search for stuff in an instant. She needed less than an hour of assistance.

  9. oldman says:

    “You’re talking in circles “oldman”. You say the superiority of GNU/Linux security is irreverent because people are willing to spend time, money, aggravation and resources to maybe keep from getting their system/installation hosed by a Microsoft security hole that’s been exploited? They could just as well hit themselves in the head with a frying pan because “it feels so good when it stops hurting”.

    No Mr. Chapman, I am saying that the combination of the userland toolset of Linux and FOSS are simply not as functional to use as windows based applications and tools. I contend based on my experience with both toolsets, that for most people the headaches of having to convert ones applications, relearn ones tools, rediscover solutions to problems that are solved on the windows platform when coupled with the loss of productivity that comes directly from the lack of the those so called “frivolous” functions under a linux desktop are negatives that far outweigh any temporary benefit derived from the allegedly better attack surface that Linux presents to the internet.

    To put it personally, I know the tools that you have referred to elsewhere as a “coherent whole”. I use them still for server based tasks daily. I can state categorically that I have better tools available to me under windows, some of which are free (e.g. Powershell, powerGui, plus a whole raft of extensions for same) that make me demonstrably more productive than I was when I used FOSS tools.

    As far as your implied characterization of the features of windows based software toolsets as frivolous is concerned, How do you figure that Mr. Chapman? Can you tell me what is “frivolous” using an application that has the ability to derive an XML schema on file Open. Why should I have to spend time cobbling together utilities to pre process input data, Mr. Chapman? I’ve also been making extensive use of Excel 2010’s “Remove duplicates” function. This allows me to extract the unique entries from a data set without programming. It has saved me tons of time and the headache of writing a filter program. The function does note exist in openoffice. Is it frivolous want to save time by using an application to that has such a function? What do linux user land offer me, more work to duplicate with either a script, a program or some rube Goldberg combination of linux userland tools?

    Eh Mr. Chapman?

    “The economy is getting less friendly towards frivolous expenses no matter much they are believed necessary.”

    The economy is also getting more hostile towards increasing people costs, and one thing the the Linux desktop to would do would be increase people costs because its applications and toolsets are less functional and require more work to get the same results.

  10. Bender says:

    GNU/Linux is NOW secure, when/if the threats arrive GNU/Linux is ALREADY prepared (SELinux/Tomoyo/AppArmor/Pax/GRSecurity).

    In addition to that it is YOU(or distro maintainer) that CAN modify the software to your liking or fix some programming errors before deploying them to everyone. You don’t have that comfort with Windows.

  11. Richard Chapman says:

    You’re talking in circles “oldman”. You say the superiority of GNU/Linux security is irreverent because people are willing to spend time, money, aggravation and resources to maybe keep from getting their system/installation hosed by a Microsoft security hole that’s been exploited? They could just as well hit themselves in the head with a frying pan because “it feels so good when it stops hurting”. The economy is getting less friendly towards frivolous expenses no matter much they are believed necessary. All that work, worry and expense is not needed with GNU/Linux.

  12. oldman says:

    “Good security design practices have been known for decades. Microsoft chooses to ignore them. They’ve done a good job of convincing most of the world that malware is like the weather, you just got to live with it.”

    Again, nice straw man Mr. Chapman, but As far is security is concerned, I could care less about your conceit that because Linux has a decreased attack surface out of the box this somehow means something.

    If computer users have a set of software for the desktop that yields them a specific level of productivity, and the costs for maintaining that set of software are known to them and are acceptable, computer users will continue to use those tools and the platform (windows) that they run on and invest in them. If maintaining this investment means that that they have to follow a specific security regimen to keep themselves safe, then that is what they will do.

    The “superiority” of the linux desktop in this regard is irrelevant.

  13. Richard Chapman says:

    I suppose it’s possible to avoid malware by applying enough time and effort to avoid it. Unfortunately there’s no avoiding the security holes put in their software by Microsoft. Some people like to think security holes come into existence upon discovery. Or worse, upon patching. If you use Microsoft’s products, look back on the long string of security patches. Now look to the future to the as yet discovered security holes. The Chinese have already discovered many of them. They are holding them in reserve.

    The storm of malware affecting Microsoft’s products is not like the weather. The source of the problem is Microsoft’s software. Microsoft wants all arrows of responsibility for their atrocious security pointing away from them. That’s what whitewashing is all about in news articles about the latest Microsoft security debacle. That’s what trying to legislate responsibility for quarantining infected computers by ISPs is all about. That’s what posting bounties on malware writers heads is all about. DON’T LOOK AT MICROSOFT! Look anywhere else.

    Good security design practices have been known for decades. Microsoft chooses to ignore them. They’ve done a good job of convincing most of the world that malware is like the weather, you just got to live with it.

  14. There is nothing obscure about GNU/Linux.

  15. oldman says:

    “Since detection of malware may be as low as 80%, best practices do not rely on using anti-malware software, which I consider a different form of malware.”

    What you consider is irrelevant to the point. What counts is that anti-malware software is one tool in the kit of software and behavioral practices that allows us all to avoid malware and continue to be productive with the tools that we have now.

    Besides As far as I and quite a few others are concerned, even a move to a linux desktop is nothink more the a move to security by obscurity, which is no guarantee of security at all.

  16. oe says:

    Matias

    Not suggesting fr your daughter to do a Henry David Thoreau but have her check out Portable Apps. These are like userland installed binaries but for the world of the Other OS.

    http://portableapps.com/

    I use these now in lieu of the IT provided not-so-good MSOffice (can’t figure that ribbon thing out….)

  17. Surveys report about 60% of PCs run malware. Where I worked last year, it was above 50% until I installed GNU/Linux.

    e.g. http://press.pandasecurity.com/news/in-january-50-percent-of-computers-worldwide-were-infected-with-some-type-of-computer-threat/

    Since detection of malware may be as low as 80%, best practices do not rely on using anti-malware software, which I consider a different form of malware.

  18. oldman says:

    “You are not productive if your systems run malware.”

    You seem to imply that everyone running windows has malware. This is clearly an unfounded assumption. It is far easier to protect against malware than it is to change all of ones tools and have to relearn and require solutions to the problems that you have solved. This does not even address the situations where the application that you are leaving behind does not exist. THIS is the forklift upgrade that I speak of.

  19. You are not productive if your systems run malware.

    20mins may be bull, but many departments have been migrated on a weekend and made a huge savings on maintenance. I once worked out how a computer lab could be converted in two hours. Go around setting every machine to boot PXE and install GNU/Linux and LTSP on the teacher’s computer. For 30 PCs that comes out to 4 minutes apiece. The first lab I ever converted was similar. I made boot CDs. Either way the configuration necessary is just one PC. You determine your outward connecting ethernet NIC and configure printer/scanner and you’re done. No forklift required.

  20. oldman says:

    “What I need now is for some person who really loves Microsoft and their software to point out the two times in the more than two decade history of GNU/Linux that a repository package has been compromised. I need it to compare to the tens of thousands of malware vectors in use by the Microsoft system.”

    Nice straw man Mr. Chapman, but totally irrelevant. As I just finished telling Pog, Malware is there, we take appropriate precautions and go on from there being productive with the tools that we require for our jobs.

  21. oldman says:

    “Nope. A person might send/receive 1000 documents in a year but it only takes 20 minutes or so to change the OS.”

    Allocating 20 minutes for a forklift upgrade is pure bull pog. And how many hours to relearn all of the ins and outs of their toolsets and adjust to the different maintenance issues.

    “There are a thousand new malwares each day for that other OS.”

    So what, we take appropriate cautions and go on from there using the tools that make us the most productive.

    Why is this so hard for you to understand Pog?

  22. Chuckle. It’s not tens of thousands but millions… There are a thousand new malwares each day for that other OS.

  23. Richard Chapman says:

    It’s called “selective memory”. The affected person only remembers certain details of an event or process. For instance: Installing software is much easier on Windows than it is on GNU/Linux, all you have to do is double click on the download button. What could be simpler?

    That statement selectively forgets possessing the knowledge to negotiate the minefield of bogus offerings to find the application you want. It then proceeds to forget the subsequent click-next, click-next, click-next… until you get to the “Finished” button. Finally, it’s installed, but now it needs to be updated along with a chorus of other separate applications the need to be updated. Every last one with its own little pop-up window reminder. Each one has to be dealt with in detail.

    What I need now is for some person who really loves Microsoft and their software to point out the two times in the more than two decade history of GNU/Linux that a repository package has been compromised. I need it to compare to the tens of thousands of malware vectors in use by the Microsoft system.

  24. Nope. A person might send/receive 1000 documents in a year but it only takes 20 minutes or so to change the OS.

    I have often seen advertisements for positions that required Word or .doc resumes. I always send .pdf and I usually get the job. There may be several reasons for that: the employer has no clue that many folks do not have Office, Reader pops up and presents the document and they don’t notice, or the employer thinks, “Wow! This guy knows how to make .pdfs”. I happen to know that every PC involved in education will likely handle .pdf because governments distribute curriculum, memos and so forth in .pdf. I can only recall once in the last 14 years where a potential employer responded that they could not open a .pdf. That was an outfit big enough to have a personnel department.

  25. oldman says:

    “PC. Suddenly he/she can create files that cannot be opened by the previous version… This pressures people to upgrade rather than do the “save in another format” dance with everyone with whom that person does e-mail.”

    It would seem to me that doing the “save in another format dance” as you call it is far easier than doing the “throw all your existing software away” dance that you propose Pog.

  26. The old “evolving file format” trick used to be one of M$’s best tools to encourage people to take another step on the Wintel treadmill. An associate “upgrades” his system by buying a new PC. Suddenly he/she can create files that cannot be opened by the previous version… This pressures people to upgrade rather than do the “save in another format” dance with everyone with whom that person does e-mail.

  27. Matias says:

    I just wonder why there are compatibility problems with FLOSS and MS. Yesterday i found one example when my daughters ppt/pptx-power point files were easily opened by Libre Office at home but not with MS Power Point at her school. I mentioned to her to demand school’s advisory system to install Open Office/Libre Office but they didn’t do it. I wonder why (license? co-operation with Microsoft?). What schools really need is to have a choice to use Open Office with or without MS Office.

  28. Bender says:

    That only means one thing.This is a sign of Microsoft struggling, if the laws won’t go through then i suspect more layoffs will be in place. That is a bad thing for the working people but good for the overall IT ecosystem.

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