Hidden traps in the Windows 7 beta EULA

As reported in Ed Bott’s recent blog article, Microsoft is up to their usual nasty tricks with the license for the beta version of Windows 7.

Even though it is far from new, I find the prohibition on benchmarking particularly obnoxious. A company that truly believes they are releasing a superior version of an existing product should be able to accept a benchmark with a previous (and intended-to-soon-be-inferior) version as yet more feedback. But this isn’t just any company, this is Microsoft, and publishing a benchmark subjects you to immediately losing your privilege of running the Windows 7 beta.

Continuing in this same theme, Microsoft has specifically forbidden the use of the Windows 7 beta in a production environment. That, combined with the prohibition on benchmarking, suggests very strongly to me that this is just a pacifier for the people who really hate Windows Vista and Microsoft just wants people to casually kick the tires and rev the engine a little bit, not really test what new PCs will ship with this summer.

And of course, there’s the expiration date. On 2009 August 1, your Windows 7 beta chariot turns into a pumpkin. I suspect this can and will be defeated by some enterprising souls, but given the de facto corporate police state of Windows starting with XP with regard to validation and activation, it probably won’t be easy.

I’ve looked back enough, so I’ll wrap this up before I turn into a pillar of sand, or something.

Completely unacceptable conduct alleged by ex-KBR worker

(Warning: potentially offensive content, especially if you follow the linked story.)

Found this one in the Houston Press about a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against KBR. For those unwilling to follow the link, I’ll summarize by saying it started with a worker rubbing himself on a male co-worker’s desk, escalated to leaving a sexually suggestive picture on that same co-worker’s digital camera, defacing the exterior of the camera’s memory stick with a “$%#&ing rules” taunt, and got much, much worse from there.

It shocks me that any corporation thinks it can let this type of conduct go unchecked. The particularly horrifying part of this is that this is KBR, and this happened over in Iraq.

I think this is the one story I’ve seen so far that shows what is truly wrong with outsourcing what should be the military’s jobs to the private sector. If anyone in the military did this, any branch, any rank, he/she would already be in prison for it after a court-martial. There would be none of this “it’s your own damn fault” and then later “pack your stuff, you’re on the next plane back home, you’re fired” to the victim of this outrageous conduct.

I wish the plantiff in this lawsuit the best; this is a suit that needs to be won. For all of us, the decent people in the United States of America.

Microsoft’s vision for the future: pay-per-use Windows, Office, IE, etc.

I quit using Microsoft’s software (most notably, the Windows operating system) on my computers¬† in 2002, and have purchased no new Microsoft hardware (keyboards, mice, game consoles, media players, etc) for my own use (actually, none at all, really) during those six years and change. Nothing makes me more glad I left Microsoft’s world than a recent patent application by Microsoft for pay-per-use software, as reported by CNet.

My personal favorite quote from the CNet article:

Microsoft’s patent application does acknowledge that a per-use model of computing would probably increase the cost of ownership over the PC’s lifetime.

Gee, you think? This is Microsoft we’re talking about here, not a company known for making it less expensive for the people at the end of the supply chain.

The free software fans won’t care for this one either:

Integral to Microsoft’s vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier.

Translation: Forget just installing your favorite GNU variant or other free operating system in place of Microsoft Windows, Cash Vacuum Edition.

A close friend of mine once remarked one day we’d get a Windows bill the same way we get our electric bill, phone bill, cable TV bill, etc. For a long time I didn’t believe him.

If you’ve been thinking about making the move to free software, this is a good time to do it. Even if you don’t, when this patent is granted (let’s be realistic, this is Microsoft we’re talking about, it almost certainly will), be very leery of just walking into your favorite electronics store with the idea of erasing whatever version of Windows is on the PC before replacing it with what you want; you might wind up very unhappy with the results.

It’s your freedom, and your money. Help keep it that way; just say no to this sham.