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Last post Author Topic: Microsoft ending TechNet subscription activations effective august 2013  (Read 7821 times)

40hz

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over.jpg

Bad news for legitimate users of TechNet.

This from ArsTechnica (link to article here):

Quote
Microsoft killing off TechNet subscriptions
Time-limited trials will have to suffice.

by Peter Bright - Jul 1, 2013 7:10 pm UTC

  
Microsoft is set to end its TechNet subscription scheme. Started in 1998, TechNet subscriptions gave IT professionals perpetual licenses to Windows client and server operating systems. Though these licenses were technically only authorized for evaluation purposes, many used them as cheap Windows licenses for personal machines.

First reported by Ed Bott, Microsoft today e-mailed TechNet subscribers to inform them of the changes. Both new subscriptions and renewals will remain on sale until August 31, 2013, with activation of subscriptions supported until September 30, 2013. With most subscriptions lasting one year, TechNet subscriber downloads will cease to work on September 30, 2014.

For volume license customers, TechNet subscription benefits will be available for the duration of the volume license agreement.

In addition to illicit production use, there have been reports of TechNet license keys being sold without disclosing their evaluation nature, leaving their buyers unwittingly exposed in the case of a software audit.

To justify the change, Microsoft said that users wanting evaluation copies of its software had shifted to freely available time-limited trial copies. That caused a decline in usage of these paid evaluation licenses.

Microsoft's official announcement along with additional information regarding MAPS, MSDN, and other subscriptions can be found here.

Quote
Microsoft is retiring the TechNet Subscriptions service to focus on growing its free offerings, including evaluation resources through the TechNet Evaluation Center, expert-led learning through the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and community-moderated technical support through the TechNet Forums to better meet the needs of the growing IT professional community.

The last day to purchase a TechNet Subscription through the TechNet Subscriptions website is August 31, 2013. Subscribers may activate purchased subscriptions through September 30, 2013.

Microsoft will continue to honor all existing TechNet Subscriptions. Subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program benefits until their current subscription period concludes.

The FAQs below includes additional information for all subscribers, including those that receive subscription benefits through Microsoft programs such as Not-For-Resale (NFR), Volume Licensing (VL), IT Academy (ITA), MAPS, Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP).

So it goes...



-------------------------

ADDENDUM:  Trevor Pott over at The Register doesn't take this bit of news quite so clamly. Read his editorial take on what this is really all about here.

Here's a brief excerpt:

Quote
Take that, sysadmins!

The cancellation of TechNet subscriptions isn't merely a Windows 8.1-style slap in the face or an incomprehensible XBone-class failure to read the market. This is a deliberate, planned, carefully considered shot to the vital bits from on high.

The message is crystal clear: if you want to test Microsoft software on anything excepting disposable short-term "free evals", then you will do it in the cloud and you'll pay for the privilege. Can't afford to subscribe to the cloud for a test lab? MSDN a little too pricy, or the restriction to development use too severe? Too bad.

You and I – we dregs of the IT industry – are not Microsoft's target market. Microsoft has moved beyond the SME, the hobbyist, and the power user. Where once we were the foundations of the empire – the hearts and hands upon which Microsoft built and projected its global mindshare – we have become too "low margin" to maintain as customers.  <more>

« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 07:59:52 PM by 40hz »

wraith808

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... and that's why we can't have nice things.

That still leaves MSDN, however, right?  Or are they removing it from my ultimate subscription too?  It doesn't appear so...

superboyac

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ok...the linux dark side is calling stronger and stronger to me.  I've managed to resist for so long.  I don't want to go there, but dammit.  Once I go down that road, I know I'm not coming back.


TaoPhoenix

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(Cue I'm Not Worthy) Who's the picture of?

Stoic Joker

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... and that's why we can't have nice things.

That still leaves MSDN, however, right?  Or are they removing it from my ultimate subscription too?  It doesn't appear so...

This bit does make it sound safe for now..:
Quote
In addition, MSDN Subscriptions remain available for purchase and provide access to current and prior software versions for evaluation, development and testing. MSDN Subscriptions also provide priority support in forums, access to eLearning courses, and complimentary support incidents as part of the paid subscription.

...But it certainly has shaved all the hair off my warm fuzzy feeling.

I bet their download servers are getting hammered as people race to "stock up" before the end.

J-Mac

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Damn! I just saw the article about this at InfoWorld and was looking to see if anyone else had reported it. (Should have known that 40hz was on top of it!).

Truly a shame. Microsoft claims this is a direct result of piracy - mainly sharing of licenses. Continuing to sell subscriptions is pretty crappy IMO, since they aren't mentioning the extremely short life of what is left of TechNet.

Why aren't we surprised at this behavior?

Oh well... 40hz - prepare yourself for a lot of questions about implementing Linux!

Jim

40hz

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FWIW I think it may only be a short while before they'll only be providing VMs for developer use.

Developers who need the actual software for testing purposes will probably need to sign additional paperwork and submit more frequently to those rare (but very real) onsite compliance audits Microsoft does do from time to time.

The biggest hurdle I can see is that unless you're an MVP, a MSDN subscription is considerably more expensive than TechNet was. Which really hurts small software developers and start-ups.

lucy.jpg

Right now, my biggest concern is what they might do with MAPS. As a "non-developer" MS Partner, MAPS is an absolutely essential resource for my company. Unfortunately, Microsoft has been dropping some pretty strong hints that they want all of their partners to be involved in software development - so the more traditional 'support & service' companies preferred by SMBs may soon be shown the door. Unless they also develop and sell software that would make a client need to "go Microsoft" in order to run it.

 :-\
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 08:44:41 AM by 40hz »

40hz

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Microsoft claims this is a direct result of piracy - mainly sharing of licenses.

Supposedly it was for a number of reasons besides just piracy. And to be blunt, the rules surrounding TechNet software were pretty widely abused by many subscribers.

But I really think it has more to do with a broader long-term goal of pulling actual copies of Microsoft software out of the hands of companies and individuals, and getting everything up into the cloud where it can be more effectively regulated, metered, and billed for. (And, in the wake of recent revelations, monitored by our government as well.)

I think a lot of the motivation is because Microsoft has been unable to convince people that Microsoft products are "licensed not sold." So their customer's perspective is still one that says "possession is 9/10ths of law." And that's despite 30 years of trying to "educate" people otherwise. Most people flat out refuse to accept the notion of 'intellectual property' when they're buying a physical product.

So the simple fix is to not allow customers to get their hands on a copy to begin with. Just allow them to use it. That way there is absolutely no question of who owns what. And many more revenue opportunities to be had because of it.

Oh well... 40hz - prepare yourself for a lot of questions about implementing Linux!

It's really not that big a deal. Seriously. It's not.

Grab a copy of Linux Mint's Cinnamon edition (or something similar) and just try using it. It's not much different from Windows. Most people that just use their computer for "productivity" will hardly even notice the difference.

I've booted Mint off a live DVD for non-tech types and told them it was an advanced experimental version of Windows that wasn't due out until 2015. And guess what? Most of them loved it. Raved about how nice it looked, how smooth it felt, how it was great to see a familiar desktop environment again, etc. etc. etc. They'd play around with it for a few minutes and were soon off and running, getting things done.

But if I told them it was Linux first, they'd immediately get confused and convince themselves they couldn't use it.

Interesting, no?

pumpkin.jpg

Suggestion: you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Just give it a try. You'll be amazed how far things have progressed in the Linux world - much to Microsoft's chagrin.
 8)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 08:45:40 AM by 40hz »

J-Mac

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Oh well... 40hz - prepare yourself for a lot of questions about implementing Linux!

It's really not that big a deal. Seriously. It's not.

Grab a copy of Linux Mint's Cinnamon edition (or something similar) and just try using it. It's not much different from Windows. Most people that just use their computer for "productivity" will hardly even notice the difference.

I've booted Mint off a live DVD for non-tech types and told them it was an advanced experimental version of Windows that wasn't due out until 2015. And guess what? Most of them loved it. Raved about how nice it looked, how smooth it felt, how it was great to see a familiar desktop environment again, etc. etc. etc. They'd play around with it for a few minutes and were soon off and running, getting things done.

But if I told them it was Linux first, they'd immediately get confused and convince themselves they couldn't use it.

Interesting, no?
 
Suggestion: you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Just give it a try. You'll be amazed how far things have progressed in the Linux world - very much to Microsoft's chagrin.

Well, I don’t think I would want to jump right in with my primary box. If I screw something up I would probably be down for a while until I could straighten it out! Plus I would then have to reinstall all my software (gobs of it!!) and that is when I would find out that a lot of it won't run on Linux. (Is that even a little accurate??)

Best bet is to install it on my last "primary" computer, which was running on Windows 7 Home Premium. It was built in May 2006 but it was fairly high-tech for its time. It has an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+, 2200.0 MHz, 4 GB Corsair SDRAM, an nVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT w/ 512 MBytes of GDDR3 SDRAM, and three HDDs internal. I haven't used it very much since I got my current machine from Puget Systems in January 2012, but it is in pretty good shape. I wouldn’t have to worry if I put that older computer out of action for a while.

Of course I have to wait until I am somewhat stress-free... I'd hate losing it and kicking it across the room! (My toes can't take that stuff anymore!!   :o   ;D  )

Thanks!

Jim

40hz

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Plus I would then have to reinstall all my software (gobs of it!!) and that is when I would find out that a lot of it won't run on Linux. (Is that even a little accurate??)

That's a lotta accurate.

Windows software is Windows software. Linux software is Linux software.

You can get some programs to run in a non-native environment. But not always. And usually not without some gotchas.

If you're absolutely wedded to a large number of titles in your Windows software library, you're stuck with Windows. That or running your stuff in a Windows virtual environment under Linux. Which amounts to the same thing - so why bother?

Some WINE and Crossover aficionados might try to tell you otherwise. But that's pretty much the way things are as of right now.

Sorry.  :(


J-Mac

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No "Sorry's" allowed here!!

Besides, if at some point I have to move to Linux because I simply refuse to use Windows for whatever reason, then I'll just have to learn to deal. That said it would probably be in my best interest to do what I posted above: Keep my current main box on Windows 7 Pro and setup my previous "main box" with Linux. That way I can take my time and become accustomed to Linux on the other machine; learn what software is available, which ones I prefer, etc. Then if/when the time comes for a complete switch to Linux I would at least be well aware and hopefully as comfortable as I can be with it. As opposed to just committing fully all at once.

Plus this way I can go at a more comfortable pace with Linux.

Thanks again!

Jim

wraith808

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Besides, if at some point I have to move to Linux because I simply refuse to use Windows for whatever reason, then I'll just have to learn to deal. That said it would probably be in my best interest to do what I posted above: Keep my current main box on Windows 7 Pro and setup my previous "main box" with Linux. That way I can take my time and become accustomed to Linux on the other machine; learn what software is available, which ones I prefer, etc. Then if/when the time comes for a complete switch to Linux I would at least be well aware and hopefully as comfortable as I can be with it. As opposed to just committing fully all at once.

Plus this way I can go at a more comfortable pace with Linux.

If I'm honest, this is the main reason that I'm not on Linux.  I tried them side by side rather than jumping in.  And of course, when you're confronted with not having your apps, and what you're familiar with, you go back to that.  I do believe it's an all or nothing proposition (well, other than work).  If you give yourself an easy out, human nature wins in most cases. 

You have to make a decision not to worry about what you don't have and look at what you do... and find alternatives.

At least, that's what I'd do if I was inclined to go back.  But, considering the fact that what I do other than work for a large part is games... well, it's just not there yet.  And I'm not inclined to play in what is basically a VM just so I can say that I'm on a different OS.  If I actually need to switch, the games won't be that important at that point.  But I'm not there.

J-Mac

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Thanks for the comment, wraith. Good to hear from someone who has already considered this.

I don’t see the need to abandon Microsoft Windows just yet, but when I try to work out problems on the notebooks I purchased for my daughters - both running Windows 8 - I can see the possibility in the not-so-distant future. I just want to know what I can and can't do if or when the time comes.

Thanks again!

Jim

Stoic Joker

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I think a lot of the motivation is because Microsoft has been unable to convince people that Microsoft products are "licensed not sold." So their customer's perspective is still one that says "possession is 9/10ths of law." And that's despite 30 years of trying to "educate" people otherwise. Most people flat out refuse to accept the notion of 'intellectual property' when they're buying a physical product.

As well they should. The whole IP war drum thing is psychopathic corporate greed and laziness. They want to just sit back and gorge themselves with cash for doing absolutely jack shit. It makes about as much sense as an 80's one-hit-wonder walking around acting all butt-hurt because they're not still rich and getting top hat treatment.

Bill Gates became the richest man in the world during the peak of the casual copy "issue". Then MS concocted this activation BS and profits began to decline. and decline ... And decline. They are poring more money into nickel squeezing the thumbscrew based licensing schemes than they are into creating a product that doesn't suck. That's why they're profits are down ... But psychopaths really aren't trainable so they're not going to learn until they end up being bought out by the competition for a song.

They damn well better hope that cloud they're ascending into is iron clad. Because as the other companies follow them into said cloud...they are going to be giving birth to a very large crowd of very angry unemployed IT people.


Hack the Planet!

40hz

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Best bet is to install it on my last "primary" computer, which was running on Windows 7 Home Premium. It was built in May 2006 but it was fairly high-tech for its time. It has an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+, 2200.0 MHz, 4 GB Corsair SDRAM, an nVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT w/ 512 MBytes of GDDR3 SDRAM, and three HDDs internal. I haven't used it very much since I got my current machine

That's the smart and recommended way to to it.

I threw Linux in my second best machine and soon discovered I was using it almost exclusively when I (mostly) switched over.  I still keep Windows 7 Pro on my "main" best laptop - although I have currently carved out about 500Gb of its 1TB for use with Linux since then. Thank happiness for things like GParted which allow you to do that safely and easily. And for Linux's talent for dual booting and maintaining a peaceful coexistence with existing Windows installations.
 :Thmbsup:

Besides, Windows is already bought and paid for. So why should I only have one OS when I can just as easily have two or more? (Nobody's paying me for an exclusive.) So between my Win and Nix boxes plus my "bought for a song used" Mac Mini, I have all the bases covered. No matter what OS the app I want to use runs best on.

As I said, Linux is all about choice - even when your first choice isn't always Linux. ;D  8) :Thmbsup:

superboyac

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I've been toying with Linux with your guys' help here for a couple of years.  I also have a dual booting laptop with Mint on it.  I still primarily use windows for anything serious, but my strategy is to slowly familiarize myself with Linux for several until "the day comes".  And it will come, I know it, I'm too into this stuff for it not to come, lol.

I can already tell I've been through some transitions already.  When I first started here at DC, I was practically installing every shareware/freeware that was named here.  All the time.  Then I grew out of that and started focusing on certain content creation tools.  Now I've whittled that down to the basic few that I do most of my work in, so I'm not playing around with software anymore.  I haven't moved to windows 8, don't really plan to, don't see why.  So I'm guessing whenever windows 7 hits the expiration date in about 10 years or less, I'll have made the transition to Linux.  We'll see.

For the sake of my curiosity, can anyone else describe the moment that made them make the transition?

zenzai

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I think a lot of the motivation is because Microsoft has been unable to convince people that Microsoft products are "licensed not sold." So their customer's perspective is still one that says "possession is 9/10ths of law." And that's despite 30 years of trying to "educate" people otherwise. Most people flat out refuse to accept the notion of 'intellectual property' when they're buying a physical product.

As well they should. The whole IP war drum thing is psychopathic corporate greed and laziness. They want to just sit back and gorge themselves with cash for doing absolutely jack shit. It makes about as much sense as an 80's one-hit-wonder walking around acting all butt-hurt because they're not still rich and getting top hat treatment.

What many people don't seem to know however is that several if their products (like Visual Studio) are practically non-profit, i.e. the cost of development is equal to what they earn on selling these products (there is a technical word for this, don't recall it). And they also give away a lot of free stuff, like the Visual Studio Express versions.

I'm using Visual Studio Pro myself and I feel I'm getting an incredible value for money here. I also bought 3 copies of Windows 8 Pro for about $50 each (normal price $350 where I am) during the promotion. Anyone who already owned a copy of Windows could do that. Microsoft may have been "the bad guys" in the past, but they certainly have changed over the years.


Stoic Joker

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I think a lot of the motivation is because Microsoft has been unable to convince people that Microsoft products are "licensed not sold." So their customer's perspective is still one that says "possession is 9/10ths of law." And that's despite 30 years of trying to "educate" people otherwise. Most people flat out refuse to accept the notion of 'intellectual property' when they're buying a physical product.

As well they should. The whole IP war drum thing is psychopathic corporate greed and laziness. They want to just sit back and gorge themselves with cash for doing absolutely jack shit. It makes about as much sense as an 80's one-hit-wonder walking around acting all butt-hurt because they're not still rich and getting top hat treatment.

What many people don't seem to know however is that several if their products (like Visual Studio) are practically non-profit, i.e. the cost of development is equal to what they earn on selling these products (there is a technical word for this, don't recall it).

Yeah, it's called a "Loss-Leader". You sell/giveaway item X at a loss so that people can spend even more money on (much more impulse driven) add-ons/support/accessories for said item.

Prime examples are game consoles, cell phones, and Pezz dispensers.

40hz

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^Microsoft's main goal is to eventually go over to a walled garden app store model for software installations. So once they start demanding (and getting) 30% of every single dollar spent for every single program that gets installed on Windows, it will all become largely moot.

Any breaks in dev tool pricing you see are mainly to get more "for Windows 8" titles out there ASAP. Especially since neither the consumers or dev shops have exhibited too much interest in this largely needless upgrade. It's starting to look a little embarrassing for Microsoft that so few people seem interested in attending their latest shindig.
 8)

wraith808

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^Microsoft's main goal is to eventually go over to a walled garden app store model for software installations. So once they start demanding (and getting) 30% of every single dollar spent for every single program that gets installed on Windows, it will all become largely moot.

Any breaks in dev tool pricing you see are mainly to get more "for Windows 8" titles out there ASAP. Especially since neither the consumers or dev shops have exhibited too much interest in this largely needless upgrade. It's starting to look a little embarrassing for Microsoft that so few people seem interested in attending their latest shindig.
 8)

Just saw an article in the latest MSDN magazine that alluded to that.

http://msdn.microsof...gazine/dn296517.aspx

In case that's a wall for MSDN subscribers, I'll quote the relevant part below:

Quote
Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are on a path toward convergence. In the meantime, developers interested in building for both platforms must understand the major similarities and differences between the two. Learning where the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Runtime APIs currently intersect gives you the best opportunity to deliver applications for both, leveraging much of the same knowledge, tools, code and assets. In this article I’ll explore these differences and commonalties to help you understand what is and is not possible before you start building a solution that targets both platforms.

The consistency in the UX—the use of tiles, the rich touch interface, the app bar and navigation—simplifies application design and implementation for both platforms. And the adoption of a common API surface area facilitates code sharing for a lot of scenarios. You can choose the right technologies for your apps: C#, Visual Basic or C++, or a hybrid for both platforms. The resources found at aka.ms/sharecode contain great info about creating applications that run on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, and present code-sharing techniques to maximize code reuse when building for both.

Emphasis mine.  I don't think that was just idle talk, but points towards what 40 is saying.  And unfortunately, I'm willing to eat crow on this.  If there *is* convergence, unless something changes, the only way to install is going to be through the walled garden.  Even Apple hasn't done that on the Mac, though I see more and more developers choosing to distribute solely through the App Store rather than provide the DMGs for install...

40hz

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I see more and more developers choosing to distribute solely through the App Store rather than provide the DMGs for install...

That's the power of offering "favored nation" promotional status as an incentive once you start leading the dev community down the app store/walled garden path...

I've been told it really only hurts in the beginning. Later on, a spacey numbness settles in and it all becomes soooooo much easier. As Rodgers & Gilmour would say:

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.

I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now,
The child is grown...
The dream is gone.

I... have become comfortably numb


 :-\

40hz

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For the sake of my curiosity, can anyone else describe the moment that made them make the transition?

It occurred in two stages for me. The hassles I had trying to support clients that insisted on using Vista opened the door once Microsoft started stonewalling about its problems. That's when I really started looking at Linux as a possible replacement OS rather than just an alternative.

The real breaking point (on the professional level) came with Sinofsky's announcement to IT professionals basically telling us to shut up and 'get with the program' as regards Windows 8 deployments, which was coupled with a few implied threats about 'us' not having a choice in the matter since our end users would soon be demanding "the Windows 8 experience." Too bad the retail sales figures don't support that contention despite "how excited" Microsoft repeatedly told us they were about this non-event. Then they went and dropped the ball big time with Surface...poor lads!

Here's your new case badge Mr. Ballmer:

Loser.pngMicrosoft ending TechNet subscription activations effective august 2013

On the personal level it came with the introduction of Metro and Microsoft's version of an app store. That's when I saw the handwriting on the wall. And the way they're handling their UEFI/Secure Boot initiative-  and their ongoing legal arm-twisting tactics with some of the major distros - rammed it completely home for me.

I no longer want to use Windows...or Office...or pretty much anything else Microsoft produces, FlightSimulator be damned.

Fortunately for me, I don't have to. 8)

« Last Edit: July 12, 2013, 02:26:20 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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^^ Nice, thanks 40.  I'm keeping an eye on the developments with Linux and Windows, and slowly prepping myself for the day when I decide to make the transition.  I predict the motivation will max around when MS says Windows 7 is not going to be supported any more.  So probably around 5-10 years.

Stoic Joker

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I predict the motivation will max around when MS says Windows 7 is not going to be supported any more.  So probably around 5-10 years.

I'd say closer to 3 years...as it will all pivot on Windows 9. MS listens (stop laughing 40hz) our creed can most
likely continue. If MS cracks down harder it'll be rats off a sinking ship time for sure.

...I'm trying to budget time to play with Slackware a bit more again...just in case.

Renegade

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I no longer want to use Windows...or Office...or pretty much anything else Microsoft produces, FlightSimulator be damned.

Fortunately for me, I don't have to. 8)

You're lucky.

...rats off a sinking ship time for sure.

My current plan is for my next box to be a server running a virtual environment with concurrent VMs inside. Then I'll be able to flip around between OSes easily.

As for investing another penny into MS... Not if I don't absolutely have to. Done with subscriptions and no longer care. There's enough FLOSS out there to replace it all.
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