Friday, 28 August 2009

Windows 7 Sins — The case against Microsoft and proprietary software

Windows 7 Sins: The case against Microsoft and proprietary software

1. Poisoning education: Today, most children whose education involves computers are being taught to use one company's product: Microsoft's. Microsoft spends large sums on lobbyists and marketing to corrupt educational departments. An education using the power of computers should be a means to freedom and empowerment, not an avenue for one corporation to instill its monopoly.

2. Invading privacy: Microsoft uses software with backward names like Windows Genuine Advantage to inspect the contents of users' hard drives. The licensing agreement users are required to accept before using Windows warns that Microsoft claims the right to do this without warning.

3. Monopoly behavior: Nearly every computer purchased has Windows pre-installed -- but not by choice. Microsoft dictates requirements to hardware vendors, who will not offer PCs without Windows installed on them, despite many people asking for them. Even computers available with other operating systems like GNU/Linux pre-installed often had Windows on them first.

4. Lock-in: Microsoft regularly attempts to force updates on its users, by removing support for older versions of Windows and Office, and by inflating hardware requirements. For many people, this means having to throw away working computers just because they don't meet the unnecessary requirements for the new Windows versions.

5. Abusing standards: Microsoft has attempted to block free standardization of document formats, because standards like OpenDocument Format would threaten the control they have now over users via proprietary Word formats. They have engaged in underhanded behavior, including bribing officials, in an attempt to stop such efforts.

6. Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM): With Windows Media Player, Microsoft works in collusion with the big media companies to build restrictions on copying and playing media into their operating system. For example, at the request of NBC, Microsoft was able to prevent Windows users from recording television shows that they have the legal right to record.

7. Threatening user security: Windows has a long history of security vulnerabilities, enabling the spread of viruses and allowing remote users to take over people's computers for use in spam-sending botnets. Because the software is secret, all users are dependent on Microsoft to fix these problems -- but Microsoft has its own security interests at heart, not those of its users.

Windows 7 Sins — The case against Microsoft and proprietary software

Well I would like to addresses each one of these rationally.

Poisoning education: silly.  Schools use Microsoft because they can afford it and support it. Efforts to provide Linux machines to education has a terrible track record.  Schools use pencils made by pencil companies, books made by publishers and various other company generated items.  I profoundly doubt using Linux will make education any freer by itself.,

Invading privacy Potetially good point by Microsoft is not particularly bad at this compared to the web firms like Yahoo, Google, and Facebook that apply ads to daily content. I am pretty secure using Office to produce secrets.

Monopoly behavior 100% true. Companies probably won't care and actually like having one IT monster to order the process.

Lock-in Okay point. But there is lots of non-Microsoft stuff that runs on Microsoft boxes. For example Google download tools run better on Microsoft as does Second Life client. Its an okay point.

Abusing standards Well they are not great alll the time, but who really is? Microsoft has embraced Web Services and RSS so they pass by me.

Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) In Microsoft's dreams. Also why would a company not install Windows because their users can't tape MSNBC shows on them?

Threatening user security The main user security problem is users themselves. Microsoft has made improvements. 

I like FSF but this is a silly campaign.  They should be pushing a viable Linux desktop rather than trashing MS if they want to promote Linux.
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