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Why I don't Run Windows, 2

Reason #2: Microsoft has practices that would border the shady (what's new, right?). Case in point, Microsoft Genuine Advantage.

According to the web, if you're running a pirated copy of Windows, you could be reported to Microsoft. Nothing wrong with that, right? After all, it is their software; their proprietary code; their property. But what if you found out the tool was installed without your prior knoweldge? Pirated or not, that gives me the creeps.

Using Ubuntu, I love the Synaptic Update Manager, because it tells me in explicit detail what is being installed. I don't read through pages of EULAs, as I would in the Windows updater. Rather, I am told exactly what is being installed on my system, and more importantly, I can refuse certain updates as I please. In other words, Ubuntu Linux is straight-up with me on what is going to be installed. Microsoft, on the other hand, would rather I never knew.

Even Microsoft admits that it needs a better way to inform its users what is being updated and installed. All I have to say, is if you are a Microsoft user, you better make the switch to Linux before Redmond and Co. decide to start snooping your files for financial and personal information and reporting them back to HQ.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Christer | June 11, 2006 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I'm in that boat right now. One of my machines dual-boots XP and, with the latest updates, I'm now told that I have a pirated copy of windows. "Technically" I do, but I also have four machines with XP license keys taped to the bottom. I just don't have any of the restore CDs that came with those machines. I have a key but no CD.

    I'm really close to reinstalling that machine & either, 1) limiting updates or 2) actually finding a copy of Home to install instead of using Pro and not being able to use my Home keys. This is only going to get worse with Vista & its 6 different versions/licenses!

  2. Matthew Kimber | June 17, 2006 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    How long has it been since you used Microsoft/Windows Update? You can pick and choose what is and is not to be installed. Try clicking the "Custom" button next time rather than the "Express". This will give you a detailed list of what the update/software is and allow you to either install it or not. Of course there may be some dependencies, namely Windows Geniune Advantage(a must download to retrieve new updates). My advice...legalize yourself. Oh and about the "pages of EULAs", that's not necessarly true. Very rare do I run into an update that includes a EULA (almost always with an Office product but never with the OS itself).

  3. Aaron | June 18, 2006 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I use it at work because I have to, but I haven't touched it at home for a long time. Probably at 2 years or so. It seems to me, although I am not counting, that I run across EULAs at work more often than not. But I will take a look at the "Custom Button" next time around.

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