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Author Topic: "Of course you know, this means WAR Gentlemen!" Microsoft makes its move.  (Read 5180 times)
40hz
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« on: January 14, 2012, 07:44:37 AM »

Microsoft never ceases to amaze...or quit.

This in from OSNews:

Link to full article here.

Quote
* Microsoft Forces OEMs To Lock Devices Into Windows 8 Using UEFI
posted by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Jan 2012 16:20 UTC, submitted by moondevil


And so the war on general computing continues. Were you looking forward to ARM laptops and maybe even desktops now that Windows 8 will also be released for ARM? I personally was, because I'd much rather have a thin, but fast and economical machine than a beastly Intel PC. Sadly, it turns out that all our fears regarding UEFI's Secure Boot feature were justified: Microsoft prohibits OEMs from allowing you to install anything other than Windows 8 on ARM devices (the Software Freedom Law Center has more).

I had honestly hoped that I was wrong with my concerns over Secure Boot. Really, I hoped so hard. Sadly, 'tis not to be true. It turns out Microsoft has been lying to us all this time (shocker, right?), and despite their sugared words, they're definitely going to force OEMs into not allowing anything but Windows to be installed on ARM devices.

In response to the initial concerns over Secure Boot's potential anti-alternative operating system nature, Microsoft stated it would not force OEMs into anything. "OEMs have the ability to customize their firmware to meet the needs of their customers by customizing the level of certificate and policy management on their platform," Redmond promised, "Microsoft does not mandate or control the settings on PC firmware that control or enable secured boot from any operating system other than Windows."

Well, dip me in white chocolate and call me Lorelai, but the company has amended its Windows Hardware Certification Requirements, stating that OEMs are not allowed to disable Secure Boot on ARM machines, or even offer the option for users to turn it off ...

The above article contains a link to the Software Freedom Law Center's assessment of what Microsoft has gotten up to. Read it here.

Suggestion: Read the both articles. Then get angry. Then get very angry. Then start complaining. Loudy and to anyone within earshot.
 Angry



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app103
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 10:04:50 AM »

Another step closer.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2012, 10:22:47 AM »

In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2012, 10:42:15 AM »

In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.

It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2012, 11:04:04 AM »

In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.



It's not that easy... When your clients demand it, you follow. Otherwise, you and your family starve. Very simple.


In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.

It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.


That's the thing -- we need more people to ditch it. The MS ecosystem is simply too pervasive.

I cannot ditch MS entirely. There's simply no way. I make my living on it. I'm not willing to starve my family because of "principles". My first priority is my family, and there's no way out for me with MS.

Yeah... It sucks... But until more people opt out of MS locked technologies, I'm going to be dragged along with them.



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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 11:31:46 AM »


That's the thing -- we need more people to ditch it. The MS ecosystem is simply too pervasive.

I cannot ditch MS entirely. There's simply no way. I make my living on it. I'm not willing to starve my family because of "principles". My first priority is my family, and there's no way out for me with MS.


Don't move over to windows 8 smiley You're probably going to be OK sticking to Windows 7 for a long time without needing to starve your family smiley
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40hz
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 12:03:20 PM »

In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.

It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.

Would that it were that simple.

But in this case, those who don't like Windows enough to look for an alternative OS are in the distinct minority.

What I worry about is that the classic 'open' PC platform disappears completely once Microsoft starts setting up lock-in deals with hardware manufacturers.

Look at it this way: If somebody like Gateway or Acer is offered Windows 8 (OEM edition) at $35-$50 per unit if they go with UEFI and Secure Boot (with the argument it improves security for the end-user and cuts down on support costs for the PC manufacturers and Microsoft) or $80-$100 per unit if they don't - care to hazard a guess as to which way it's going to go?

In the case of companies like Dell, who manufacture their own mobos, it's an even easier decision since they're not dictating to another manufacturer. It's an in-house decision. And 98+% of their PC business is Windows. (Try buying one without Windows installed if you don't believe it. It's possible. For some models. But it's not easy.) But there is nothing stopping Dell from locking out the end-user from making changes to Secure Boot. All they need to do is clearly inform the customer their machine will only run Windows 8 (or a later OS) from Microsoft. It can be purely Dell's decision (since Microsoft doesn't "require" it - nudge-nudge, wink-wink) which therefor isn't illegal unless a court decides otherwise. And with all the competition out there in PC land, the courts won't.

The real problem with this is that there could easily come a time when taking your money elsewhere won't be an option. Because there won't be anyplace else to take it unless you start manufacturing your own hardware. (Although there's a chance somebody like Ubuntu might since they're already talking about tablets. Ah...cancel that. Ubuntu's on the tablet/Unity bandwagon so completely they're getting just as bad as the other guys. So they probably wouldn't mind seeing the PITA open desktop environment go away either. )

It's very similar to the problem corporate ownership of TV networks causes for their news desks. The mothership trolls would never censor what their news affiliates chose to report. Nor would they ever so much as hint at what stories an editor should or shouldn't run. They won't whisper so much as a single word. Nor would they want to. Because they know that cultivating low-key paranoia in an employee is much more effective since it leads to self-policing.

Let's imagine an editor for the 6 o'clock news called Ellen. Ellen is very aware of who she ultimately works for. And she knows that if she pushes things too far, or in the wrong direction, somebody someplace "high up" might suddenly take an interest in her career.

She's also smart enough to know any reprisals will be extremely oblique and impossible to prove. So she (since she is very smart) decides to self-censor herself and pull some punches with the news. She'll call it exercising editorial judgement, responsibility, and restraint. And it will be impossible to prove otherwise. And maybe, after a few years, she'll even believe it.

And that is exactly what has happened with network news reporting in the last decade.

Going back to PC hardware manufacturers, if they're in a position of staying on the good side of Microsoft by no longer supporting a miniscule portion of their former market, it doesn't take much thought as to which way to jump. There's nothing forcing them to leave their Secure Boot options user accessible. And as long as they're not being forced ('forced' being a relative thing here) by Microsoft, there's no violation of US law. Especially since US anti-monopoly laws aren't designed to encourage competition or protect specific players in a given market. US antitrust regulations do not prevent the eventual formation of what is called a "natural monopoly." They're only there to prevent the 800lb. gorillas from using their influence alone to illegally compete. And illegal competitive practices are often extremely tough to prove under US law.

So to loop back - yes, you can vote with your wallet.

But only up to a point where there are actual choices. Once the choices are gone (through machination or natural attrition) your only 'choice' is to buy what you really don't want - or do without completely.

And, in this new world we're building for ourselves, not owning some form of computer is rapidly becoming a non-option as well.
 Cool
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 12:08:36 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 03:15:13 PM »

In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.
It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.

I've been saying as much all along, but this is a VERY different beast we're now talking about.
This is hardware.

"So what? Apple's done that for years", you might say.
This is diffferent.
Apple has their own stuff, and a niche market.
This is Microsoft.
That means everything else.
Do you not get it yet?

EVERYTHING ELSE.

Please understand this, I don't want to get angry.
.. yet.
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 06:05:46 PM »

In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.
It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.

I've been saying as much all along, but this is a VERY different beast we're now talking about.
This is hardware.

"So what? Apple's done that for years", you might say.
This is diffferent.
Apple has their own stuff, and a niche market.
This is Microsoft.
That means everything else.
Do you not get it yet?

EVERYTHING ELSE.

Please understand this, I don't want to get angry.
.. yet.

Um, yeah, except Apple isn't a niche market anymore.  Besides, with all the holes Microsoft always bakes in, I see this as a potentially good thing.  Why?  Because Apple has relied on the very same UEFI to lock software to hardware and viseversa.  If people break it for Microsoft, and they will...eventually, don't you think it would be a pretty good bet the same or very similar hack will break OSX and the Apple monopoly.  I am not completely certain that isn't a side goal of Microsoft.

Now, with all that said, I really only see this as another step of Microsoft out of ideas and "me too"ing Apple.  It works for Apple, and they have no ideas, so let's do it too and lock everyone in again.  The thing is, lock-in is how Microsoft beat all the competition in the late 80's...namely they didn't when everyone else did.  Therefore while it will suck for a while, either they will use it to break competition again, or someone else will.  Yes, it will take time, but it will happen.

I can tell you one thing, if they keep following Apple like they have been, my next machine will BE an Apple with VMware installing all other OS's (unless I can find a reliable way to virtualize OSX and it's ancestors).  Microsoft doesn't have the balls to lock Windows out of a virtual environment.  It will alienate way too many IT shops.
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2012, 09:07:00 PM »

...

So to loop back - yes, you can vote with your wallet.

But only up to a point where there are actual choices. Once the choices are gone (through machination or natural attrition) your only 'choice' is to buy what you really don't want - or do without completely.

And, in this new world we're building for ourselves, not owning some form of computer is rapidly becoming a non-option as well.
 Cool


Dammit 40... I hate when you're right like this... Sad


In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.
It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.

I've been saying as much all along, but this is a VERY different beast we're now talking about.
This is hardware.

"So what? Apple's done that for years", you might say.
This is diffferent.
Apple has their own stuff, and a niche market.
This is Microsoft.
That means everything else.
Do you not get it yet?

EVERYTHING ELSE.

Please understand this, I don't want to get angry.
.. yet.


Dammit... Why do you need to be right as well... Sad


The server market will never allow this kind of hardware locking. Heck, Nginx is the #2 web server out there now. What does that say?

So, while computing options WILL remain open, I find it hard to believe that consumers would buy server hardware. It's simply too expensive for most people.

Kind of like cheap heroin. Sad


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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 06:00:59 AM »

Sure does seem like Microsoft lied about this before. I don't remember (and can't find from a quick look) any qualifying clauses in their previous statements that made them only apply to Intel Windows and not ARM.

Secure Boot would be a much better idea if the user got to decide which keys the hardware trusted. If you're running Ubuntu, or whatever, they should be able to sign it with a key that you tell the BIOS to trust, and you can go about your business with the benefit that any unwanted changes to the bootloader will be flagged.
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 10:53:40 AM »

I said this would happen ages ago and it will be round the corner for Intel/AMD based Windows boxes too.

Personally I am very happy that MS are doing this - it will galvanize action, particularly in business and the public sector where both Europe and America already has huge concerns about proprietary lockin.

I am buying a supply of popcorn and waiting for the fun to start in the courts.

The Europe Union didn't like having Internet Explorer bundled into Windows because they considered it anti-competitive behaviour. How is Europe going to view a complete lockout of all software on other people's hardware?

Apple (love them or hate them) have the right to do this sort of crap because they produce the whole package - hardware and software. It is a major reason why I think that anyone buying any Apple product is an idiot.

Microsoft don't make computers and I can't see OEM manufacturers putting up with this crap for long - either that or they will start selling boxes with a choice of OS. Seriously what is to stop them selling blank boxes with a choice of operating systems? People can still opt for Windows if they want, and if they want the cheap OEM version then manufacturers can lock the machine during production but there is no reason for them to make their entire production line on that basis. Heck how long do you think it will take UEFI to be cracked - every uncrackable protection that has been developed has been broken - most before they were even released to the public!!

As someone who builds a fair number of computers for customers (using OEM windows) I will certainly be stocking up on Windows 7 before Windows 8 is released and recommending all customers to avoid Windows 8 like the plague. It has absolutely nothing to offer desktop users.

Hopefully enough people will have the same attitude and Windows 8 as it si currently envisioned will go the way of ME and Vista - down the toilet where it belongs!!

One final thought (that has been mentioned before) if you can only boot from the OEM version of Windows (and not boot CDs/DBDs/USBs) how many people are going to be happy when Windows gets fucked up and no one can fix it? The OEMs won't fix software issues (hell they don't supply drivers or BIOS updates after a few months even when there are glaring problems and they are already obliged to support Windows as part of the OEM agreement but in practice how many do?) - and third party repair people, like me, will say OK I can only repair it using the restore factory settings mode. Going to be a lot of very happy Microsoft customers.
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2012, 11:19:05 AM »

I can't say much that others have no said before me. Ok, I can, but it involves Windows 8 looking like crap even before this failmove was announced, but that does not mean I approve of the general direction this ridiculous nonsense is going in. Secure Boot? Nice marketing. But the real development codename? Vendor Lock-In.

While I may not fully understand how this feature works, there may be another thing that might sort of save consumers in the short term, depending on the details I can't be bummed to find out. OEMs are cheap. OEMs need to automate. Which means Windows installations need to work with the BIOSes. Think key and keyhole. Looking at it the simplistic way, i just takes someone to properly copy the key Windows uses and pretend to be Windows. Obviously, there is the matter of a chain of trust that checks if it is a real or a copied key, but there will be a hole. On ARM, sadly, this is going to be the hardest part. Normal computers, you just take out the hard drive and fix the part where the 'bootsector' is to look good enough to pass BIOS verification. On ARM, it is likely soldered due to the embedded nature, and obviously Windows won't make it easy to change the bootloader either at that point.

But still, it is not a solution. It is a band-aid of freedom that basically devolves into the world of jailbreaks.
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 01:54:14 PM »


Sure, once we are reduced to the highly brittle world of "jailbreaks" (even the word says it all!) then we will have already lost.

Frankly, Linux is hard enough for new users to get a grip on, but now having to start with arcane secret hacks just to unhook Windows will be the end. Besides Secure Boot, watch for obscure hardware stuff that magically breaks the leading Linux distros "just by coincidence".
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2012, 05:17:22 PM »

Frankly, Linux is hard enough for new users to get a grip on, but now having to start with arcane secret hacks just to unhook Windows will be the end.

The "arcane secret hacks" don't stop them from "rooting" their Android device, "jailbreaking" their iOS device, or otherwise "hacking" their Wii, PS3, calculator, toaster, microwave, watch, printer, etc., to get Linux on it.
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2012, 05:31:38 PM »

Jail breaking only works in that key data is R/W enabled. Commit that to silicon and it becomes virtually impossible unless you can "wedge" around the boot sequence. And that introduces a whole new level of challenges. And there are dozens of tricks to prevent that too.

So it's not a question of what could be done. It's a matter of preventing a never ending battle to lock/unlock the boot sequence and OS.  We don't want to have to go there even if we, as a last resort, could.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2012, 05:47:24 PM »

It will be great for small system builders like me because components won't be sold with these lockins. You just won't be able to install Windows 8.

Another thought - this is only going to apply to OEMs - does that mean MS will stop selling OEM copies to smaller builders and home builders? What about home builders that want to upgrade an existing machine to a new OS?

Is the OEM build going to be completely different - or is that way it will only be restricted to ARM devices? If it is only restricted to ARM devices does it really make much difference since legacy Windows apps are not going to work anyway?
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2012, 05:51:42 AM »

gHacks recently did a short editorial piece entitled: What might a post-Windows world look like?

There was one interesting observation made:

Quote

Windows 8 is a big gamble though and if it fails then Microsoft will either have to backtrack with Windows 9, pull an immensely impressive rabbit out of their hat or face the consequences of poor decision-making.

I think this hits a very important point.

Microsoft is going in a radically different direction with their upcoming Windows 8. In many respects, the underlying message is very similar to the "Father knows best" attitude they took with Vista.

And Microsoft cannot afford another Vista debacle.

So now I'm more certain than ever that what we are seeing is an attempt on Microsoft's part to avoid that  risk by force-shifting the previously open hardware platform to a proprietary model like Apple's.

I was talking to a Mac-using client last week while attempting to sort out one of those "OSX things" I get every so often. She's owns a five person totally Mac-based company. I had asked this client if she really liked Apple and the Mac operating system all that much. My client responded it wasn't so much a matter of 'liking' Apple as it was reaching "an accommodation" with it. She said she was "generally ok" with how her Macs worked most times. But even if she weren't happy, she'd have to live with it, because she had tens of thousands invested in the Mac platform and related software. She went on to say it usually worked well enough for what she needed it for - and it wasn't like the software would run on anything else.

I think her answer has a lot of bearing on where Microsoft is attempting to go with Secure Boot. In order for Microsoft to minimize its risk, generally available open platform computing has to go away. And the only way it can be made to go away is if Microsoft can use its market share to get hardware manufacturers to 'voluntarily' abandon open hardware and queue up to produce Ballmer's walled-garden.

And Microsoft will need to make this happen while they're still controlling 85-88% of the currently deployed desktops. Because the longer they wait, the less likely they will be able to force the shift in hardware.

If Microsoft succeeds, it also garners dividends because it effectively pulls the rug out from under Linux and open software. Without a readily available and affordable hardware platform to run on, Linux will become completely marginalized and either become a VCIW ('voice-crying-in-the-wilderness') OS at best - or gradually become extinct as the 'antique' hardware it runs on wears out.

And because the US economic forecast isn't looking too rosy (either near or long-term) I don't think we can expect much intervention on the part of US government. Because any action on their part would only risk losing one of the very few market segments where the United States still holds virtual dominance: personal computing operating systems.

Which only leaves the consumers to lead a push back.

And considering the widespread acceptance and commercial success of things like the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, and Nook - I don't think the average buyer is all that concerned about proprietary lock-in.

Remember the little Linux kid?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7ozaFbqg00" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7ozaFbqg00</a>

Wanna know how he's gonna get "educated" going forward if Microsoft and Apple have anything to say about it?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfevfJQtg_g" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfevfJQtg_g</a>


Time to educate the masses. Before it's unequivocally too late. ohmy

-----

Note: My apologies for the twit who disabled embedding and forces you to go to the YouTube site to see the THX1138 segment above. (Not that it's his media to begin with.) Brave new world indeed...
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 06:07:27 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2012, 06:38:15 AM »

Their is one saying in my place that if a Monkey acts too smart ,he will end up with a stuck ball ( i mean testicle ) .
 Ms is trying its vested effort in monopolizing the market just when things looks promising for them.
No doubt that max pc users are windows but elemenating   competition from the market is not healthy.
Just quick with XP or WIN7 just dont support WIN 8 by not buying. . . . . .

p.s: Sorry for sounding crude but i think all of us can see what MS is trying to do with its subterfuge effo
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2012, 06:52:12 AM »

Apple has their own stuff, and a niche market.
The times of Apple being a niche company have been over for years now. But it is amazing that in threads like this there is always someone who says that Apple is not as bad as Microsoft. I thought bashing Microsoft is a relic from the 90s.

First, this is about ARM devices, like: Mobile phones. (Yes, and netbooks, maybe.) Compare an iPhone to Microsoft's "secure boot" plan and tell me the difference. Also, Microsoft made clear that there will not be "a force" to lock the system. I would say, let us wait for the first affected machines before following our instinct to blame Microsoft for the apocalypse. In these days of Google, Apple and Facebook, Microsoft is harmless. Get it.
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2012, 08:04:59 AM »

Lets face it, ARM for the time being means portable. So what MS are suggesting locking down are Windows 8 tablets. I don't agree with it, but Apple already do it, so do most Android tablet makers. It's the regulators who need to step in and stop this practice.
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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2012, 08:13:00 AM »

Yup time will tell  i am not complaining about how quickly win 8 is being released but the hardware supporting to run only win 8 is bothersome ...heh XP was released soon after win 2000 and win ME .
But the fittest and the most versatile do survive in computer world too .

I believe win 8 is better in its own way the ARM device and SECURE BOOT thing.
But how many people can afford the devile perhaps thats the single factor for XP s success. Put XP in a win 7 hardware and see how beautifully it works.
b
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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2012, 08:17:13 AM »

Only time and country with higher GDP Rate will decide its fate.
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2012, 08:54:02 AM »

Compare an iPhone to Microsoft's "secure boot" plan and tell me the difference.

It's totally unacceptable behavior no matter who is doing it. So why bother comparing? Both are indulging in unnecessary restrictions here. To get into a discussion of whether Apple or Microsoft is worse here is like listening to two STD patients pointing fingers at each other and arguing over who has the worse infection.

Also, Microsoft made clear that there will not be "a force" to lock the system.

Microsoft is well known for its veiled threats, ambiguous announcements, position flops, and unannounced policy changes. I've been with them since DOS 3.0. And I've sat in on licensing negotiations with them. Microsoft does not give a single inch on anything unless they feel it is absolutely necessary to do so. And when they do give that inch, they try to take it back as quickly as possible. And usually as quietly as possible. They are probably one of the most consistently ruthless corporations on the planet. If I would give them credit for anything, it would be for their never making any bones about what they are. Compared to Apple's disingenuous and cynical faux-New Age "for the good of all mankind" propaganda, it's almost refreshing. Most people can more easily admire a selfish bastard than they can a lying hypocrite.

Also, Microsoft made clear that there will not be "a force" to lock the system.

They are saying that because they know lawsuits and anti-competitive charges would erupt all around them if they did.

But Microsoft also knows that there's a big legal difference between 'necessary' and 'required.' They don't need to make locking hardware a licensing requirement for Windows 8. That would put them on thin ice legally. But Microsoft could easily make it a necessity by giving favorable treatment and inside information to manufacturers who do lock down their systems. That's called 'suasion.' And there's no rule against doing that since participation in such a plan would be wholly "voluntary" on the part of the manufacturers.

It's just like my bank requiring my social security number to rent a safety deposit box. They don't have a legal right to require that number since the law that created social security specifically said a social security number was not to be used for ID. And therefor, I have every right to refuse to give it to them.

And they are perfectly within their rights to refuse to rent me a safety deposit box.

So it's not required for me to give the bank my tax number - but it is absolutely necessary if I want to do business with them. Microsoft is doing the same thing.

And it was a very smart move on their part, as most in the industry will grudgingly admit.

And to my earlier point, Microsoft often changes its position and frequently contradicts its previous statements. So just because they're saying they won't do something now doesn't mean they'll still be saying the same thing later. Because if they want to change something, and they think they can get away with it, they will.

And please note Microsoft initially gave NO advance warning about where they wanted to go with safe boot beyond talking about it as a form of enhanced security. Most people thought it would be totally user controllable when it was first presented. Because that's how it was presented.

But now that we're getting down to actually implementing it, it's becoming increasingly apparent where Microsoft wants to take it.

(Hint: Three rings for the elven kings...)

I would say, let us wait for the first affected machines before following our instinct to blame Microsoft for the apocalypse.

I would say let's base our reaction and preparations on our previous experiences, and Microsoft's track record, rather than take the easy way out. Sitting back and hoping for the best is seldom a good strategy in the tech world. Or pretty much anywhere else.

And please... let's not use phrases like "apocalypse" in this sort of discussion. This is not about religion. (Since we're not discussing Apple here.  mrgreen)  This discussion is purely about technology, business practices, and market share. Let's keep it there. smiley

In these days of Google, Apple and Facebook, Microsoft is harmless.

Hardly.




Get it.


Get what exactly? Assertions don't establish something as fact. Far better to continue to ask questions and raise objections. Because both the jury and the 'smart money' are still out on this latest development.

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Tuxman
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OMG not him again!

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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2012, 09:35:58 AM »

Facts are not the same as assumptions, no matter what they are based on.
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