Home Messages Index
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index

Re: Linux Adopted in India Despite Microsoft's Aggression

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> Microsoft's BIG plans for India
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Linux, which has no owner in a sense, cannot invest such huge sums.
> | However, Novell and Red Hat (who support Linux versions in India) are
> | also moving in this direction.

Not quite accurate.  In Linux, the competition is based on SUPPORT for
the open source software.  Red Hat and Novell have supported the
adoption of standards such as LSB-3, which make Linux easier to
support, but it also reduces their "ownership", since all of those
supporting the standards have a voice - including developers,
application developers, customers, and distributors.

> | On another plane, Microsoft wants to be the preferred operating system
> | (OS) on every PC.

The major OEMs currently buy more Windows licenses than they actually
sell.  They do this to meet "minimum commitments" required to get the
best discounts.  Microsoft's "cliff tiered pricing" can make it cost
almost as much to buy 120% of anticipated need than it would cost to
buy 80% of anticipated need.  As a result, even when the customer needs
Linux, the OEM typically "throws in" a copy of Windows, because of
license terms in the volume purchase.

> | Assembled PCs come with pirated copies of XP or Windows,
> | losing Microsoft huge sums of money.

Microsoft frequently makes this assertion, but has failed to identify
any major source of software piracy.  Ironically, Microsoft not only
sells too many licenses to OEMs, but they also sell "Volume Licenses"
to large corporate customers - again, often more licenses than
employees, which "replace" the licenses provided by the OEMs.  In most
cases, Microsoft is selling 2 licenses per machine.  More accurately,
they are "renting" the second license, since the corporate license
"expires" when the support contract expires.  Many corporate XP
licenses are about to expire starting in October 2006 (oh wait, that's
now!!).  These companies can reactivate the OEM licenses by using the
activation code on the sticker attached to the machine by the OEM.

Microsoft did eventually place restrictions on the transfer of licenses
from one hardware device to another.  Prior to Windows ME, it was legal
to remove Windows completely from one machine (usually by removing the
hard drive) and move it to a newer machine.  Often, the safest way to
remove Windows was to format the hard drive using Linux, then write
random garbage to the hard drive, and then remove the sticker
containing the registration key from the machine.

Newer licenses, specifically those for Windows ME and Windows XP,
expressly forbid such transferrs.  The license can be transferred to
another user, but only by transferring the entire machine.  This
measure was to prevent users from removing windows, then giving the
machines to charities, such as churches, homeless shelters, and others,
where, because of license status uncertainty - Linux was frequently
installed.  Microsoft announced that if a non-profit organization had
the OEM serial number of the machine, that Microsoft would provide the
licensed software.  If it was a 501C or other tax exempt organization,
Microsoft also offered to "donate" the "upgrade" to newer versions of

This may have been a great "philanthropic" gesture, or it may have
simply been Microsoft's way of getting Linux machines deployed in
low-income school districts back onto Windows.

> | And the Linux OS on branded machines
> | is often replaced with pirated copies of Windows or XP by the user.

Yet the market and the industry shows just the opposite.  Nearly all of
the machines sold in configurations that are "Linux ready", including
those sold with AMD-64 and Intel Duo, are sold with Windows, even
though the extra cost of the Linux Ready configuration is a pretty good
indicator that the machine will be running Linux very soon after it's

Conversely, only a very small percentage of the machines now sold
without windows are "Linux hostile".  In fact, most corporate users who
purchase Linux preinstalled on OEM machines are very clearly purchasing
the machines as "Linux Only" machines.  This is especially true of
Servers, POS terminals, and workstations used in government offices.

Many companies, organizations, and government agencies have reviewed
their actual requirements and discovered that a substantial number of
users don't need Windows XP.  They can use Linux, OpenOffice, and
Firefox for the basic "Office Worker" requirements.  Most POS
applications are now "Firefox/Linux Friendly" and Windows-only features
such as .NET and ActiveX are now considered security risks and are
often disabled on corporate workstations.

> | Packaged software piracy is in the 80-85 per cent range.

Microsoft includes sharerware from third party vendors to get these
numbers.  Look at all the people who use Winzip without paying the $29
after the 30 day evaluation period.  That is software piracy.

Microsoft usually gets the lion's share of the procedings in BSA
settlements, because their software is so much more expensive, but
Microsoft packaged software, such as MS-Office, Project, and Visio are
pretty carefully monitored within corporate offices.  Students often
continue to use "educational" versions, even after they have graduated.

In addition, Microsoft considered ANY violation of the EULA to be an
act of software piracy.  If you use VNC instead of "remote access" to
access a Windows console, you are a pirate.  If you use Linux to access
an XP workstation, using VNC or Citrix, and the Linux machine is not
licensed for XP, then BOTH machines are in violation - according to

Seriously, it is a wonder that businesses do business with Microsoft AT
ALL.  If they understood the contracts, the EULA terms, and how easily
they can have their licenses revoked - even after spending $millions or
even $billions on Windows and Windows PCs, their insurance companies,
the SEC, and the legal department would never assume that much risk.

Fortunately for these companies - Microsoft is willing to "look the
other way" - until somebody become a "problem".  Then, you can expect
automated audits, BSA audits, visits from lawyers and goons who are
prepared to seize every computer in your company (even if they only run
Linux) unless you immediately sign a "settlement agreement".

Sounds like extortion to me.   Unfortunately, because you agree to
these terms when you press the "I accept" button after the machine is
first powered up, you give them the right to do this.

One of the amazing things about the law is that something can be
patently illegal (extortion, rape, assault, even murder), but if you
sign a contract, for appropriate consideration, it becomes legal.  In
fact, it becomes almost impossible to claim that you didn't consent to
the criminal act.

> | [...]
> |
> | A case in point is the revenue Microsoft India sees in business
> | processing outsourcing units, where there is much competition from
> | products like StarOffice (from Sun) and Linux. "This revenue stream
> | does not exist in any of the other Microsoft business units. It has
> | the potential to be adopted worldwide," notes an analyst.

Yep.  Keep in mind that the whole point for going off shore is to keep
expenses down.  If an american company has to pay american rates to
provide american software to india workers, simply because Microsoft
isn't willing to charge the india workers india rates, they are likely
to opt for OpenOffice or StarOffice and Linux rather than MS-Office.

Keep in mind that a meal at a family restaurant costs about 100 rupees,
about $2, and that includes drink and buffet.  A 20 mile cab ride is 60

A copy of Microsoft office at American rates, would be about 15,000
rupees, more than a year's wages for a taxi driver, more than, a
month's pay for IT workers.

It's pretty easy to see why they might be willing to use OpenOffice to
read those word documents.  And these days, documents CREATED on
OpenOffice look really good on MS-Office.  If they look really
horrible, the OpenOffice package can be downloaded over a broadband
connection in about 15 minutes.

> | [...]
> |
> | Finally, Red Hat and Novell with their versions and support for Linux
> | have made their presence felt in the areas of e-governance and defence.
> | For instance, Linux has a strong presence in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh,
> | Karnataka and Hyderabad. Microsoft on the other hand, dominates in IT
> | centres like Hyderabad and Bangalore.
> `----

Even this dominance is limited to the office, and limited to the
computer provided by the corporation.  Computers aren't that cheap.
You can purchase a brand-name OEM computer with Windows XP and Office
for about 100,000 rupees, or about $2,000 (about the price of a
motorcycle).  You  can get a "white box" computer with OpenOffice and
Linux assembled in the local store for about 20,000 rupees, about $400.

> http://www.rediff.com/money/2006/oct/12spec.htm
> Microsoft Traps and Hunts for Bloggers (Shills/Astroturfers) in India
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Microsoft has announced the "Microsoft BlogStars" contest, to Hunts
> | for Developer Bloggers in India. After feeling the power and increase of
> | the Bloggers community in India, Microsoft tries to trap and hunt Bloggers
> | in India to buildup the blogging community, for writing blog posts
> | supporting towards Microsoft Technologies.
> `----
> http://i5bala.blogspot.com/2006/10/microsoft-traps-and-hunts-for-bloggers.html

Hopefully they will be of better quality than those here in COLA.
Of course, the advantage of bloggers is that no one can openly
challenge them in an open discussion.  In Newsgroups and Wikis, it's to
easy for things to go out of control.

Of course, the lack of "drama" tends to reduce interest.  Good
contriversy tends to create a more interesting conversation that brings
in many more readers (and contributors).

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Author IndexDate IndexThread Index