back to article Pirate MEP: Microsoft's walled garden is no consumer pleasure park

Microsoft is trying to create its own “walled garden”, much to the detriment of consumers, Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda has told El Reg. Reda was referring to the new unified Microsoft services policy, which came into force at the beginning of this month and covers almost all of the tech goliath’s consumer services. In it, …

  1. Novex

    If Microsoft is building a walled garden a la Apple, then I can see myself never upgrading from Windows 7. And if that were to be retrocompromised, I'd finally take a serious look at moving to Linux (probably Mint) for any general use PCs. For specialist PCs with particular software/hardware needs, I may have no choice but to keep a Windows PC going, but not with anything after Windows 7. If software/hardware vendors ultimately stop supporting W7, then I stop using their products and pursue alternatives (which may not be easy for specialist stuff).

    1. Blank-Reg

      Same here. Win 7 is probably my last version of Windows I'll run. I've been dual-booting Linux Mint for a while but I can see a time in the not so distant future where Mint because the only OS I run and Win 7 is reduced to running in a VM.

      PS: Anyone fancy pointing me at any handy guides for running a Windows 7 VM in Linux?

      1. Wilseus

        "Anyone fancy pointing me at any handy guides for running a Windows 7 VM in Linux?"

        I don't know of a particular guide offhand, but it's pretty easy to do. I use VirtualBox: it's free, powerful and it works!

        1. Colin Bull 1

          "Anyone fancy pointing me at any handy guides for running a Windows 7 VM in Linux?"

          "I don't know of a particular guide offhand, but it's pretty easy to do. I use VirtualBox: it's free, powerful and it works!"

          And you can get a free Win 7 licence and software from the Microsoft IE website. Just a pain to renew every 90 days.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        I'd add Proxmox to toolbox. It's Linux virtualization using KVM+Qemu, has a very nice Wiki (link directly to W7 instructions right there on the first page I hit). Thank the Gods that I use SSD cartridges for everything except the external storage. Sticks work well. I'm getting one of those SSD's on a stick for my birthday (was told to pick a present) that operates almost as fast as a solo cartridge. That'll have my Windows 7 Ultimate probably (tied to Audrey, my workstation). I'd rather no waste a cartridge on it if Microsoft is playing this game.

        I don't have any unlicensed software here; I even using trials a lot and it's no problem creating a new instance. Hell, I'm doing that anyway in my mad computer science experiments all the time. I have serious reservations about them pulling a BSA moment on your systems whenever they desire. [You can bet such action will result in a deluge of postings.] And WTF is unapproved hardware. I build "things" here, worked thirteen plus years in electronic engineering and all the IT engineering disciplines. Microsoft can go fuck themselves if I have to say "father, may I...?" before I can use it. I do more than a few insane projects here. No, I'll take my systems dark save the tablet and perhaps the laptop.

        No, a thousand times no Microsoft.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I daresay a lot of corporates will join you in that sentiment. Part of MS's market (a large part) is based on being able to create and use programs/apps that aren't "official". I foresee many corporates heading to Linux if this walled garden is fully implemented. And if there's a Win version that allows non-walled apps to be used, then there's a chunk of the home market that will want that version.

      1. thtechnologist

        Corporate isn't going anywhere, they can get a garden inside the garden. A corp can easily publish their own apps, and whitelist / blacklist anything else in the store. Broken device? Give the user a new one and have them login to the store and corporate ms account. All apps and data files restored. We are testing this at a MAJOR gov't agency and are looking to deploy before the end of the year.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          >Corporate isn't going anywhere, they can get a garden inside the garden.

          Or more likely, they get control of their own garden.

          They are used to deploying things and being able to remove things at will, so no change there. There's no way MS would mess with them intentionally, though I can see a very well paved road to Hell...

          Small end-users are another matter. However I wouldn't be surprised if this was a slightly overzealous legal department rather than a strategy. If they pulled even one of their own pirated games off a PC, they would get slaughtered for it. What *might* be going on is that XBox might become available as a virtualised environment in Windows and in that scenario, they might be a little more aggressive.

        2. F0rdPrefect

          We are testing this at a MAJOR gov't agency and are looking to deploy before the end of the year

          Which country?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. LDS Silver badge

      After all, they did see it worked for others, so why lose their chance? I've been saying for a long time that if Apple & C. had succeeded, others would have followed. It's all about the money, if you can earn more, and noone says what you do is unlawful, why not?

  3. David Roberts
    Black Helicopters

    Unauthorised peripherals?

    A lot of potential there.

    Including a scheme where you have to get Microsoft to authorise and distribute device drivers (for a price) instead of downloading direct from the manufacturer. Or device him not work.

    Possibly welcomed by larger manufacturers who can sell loads of new kit because the legacy stuff no longer works.

    All the way down to mother boards, memory, discs, USB pen drives.......

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Unauthorised peripherals?

      That was my question, just WTF is an "unauthorised peripheral" here?

      Could a chipped ink cartridge be counted so you can re-fill/recycle it against the printer company's policy? Maybe some audio card that won't play ball with the DRM-of-the day?

      For the few things I do that need Windows, it looks as if XP and 7 VMs are going to be my final solution.

      1. steve 124

        Re: Unauthorised peripherals?

        I'm guessing Chinese made knock offs, like counterfeit connect etc.

    2. Ammaross Danan

      Re: Unauthorised peripherals?

      Did everybody miss that they merged their XBOX and Windows policies? The "peripherals" bit is a carry-over from the XBOX preventing things such as modding, "game genie" type devices, aimbots, etc, unlicensed knock-offs, etc. Now, the fact they left it in the Windows policy is throwing the door wide open, but it's way more likely they just left it in the verbage rather than having any particular device range (or walled garden) in mind.

      1. TCook1943

        Re: Unauthorised peripherals?

        You sir are quite possibly the ultimate optimist.

  4. Christoph

    I'm sure non-US companies will be just delighted to have to give Microsoft (and NSA) full details of all their new hardware before they are allowed to sell it to work with Windows machines.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Earth to Microsoft

    A PC is not a black box consumer device with fixed functionality like an x-box.

    It is for use as a general purpose, programmable machine for non-specific tasks.

    Have a private app store by all means but the Wintel PC market will not withstand the closed door market a-la-Apple.

    1. msknight

      Re: Earth to Microsoft

      Commercial won't, but what chance do the consumers stand? None. They have no voice and Microsoft are in an advantageous position because there's loads of people who won't fork out the cash for Mac, and won't feel comfortable with this, "Linux," thing that people keep talking about.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        'consumers ... have no voice ... and won't feel comfortable with this, "Linux," thing that people keep talking about.'

        A good few of them now seem to be comfortable with it when it comes pre-loaded as a Chromebook. If MS get more & more arsey about H/W to the point that they start making it difficult for PC makers then we might see systems coming onto the market pre-loaded with Mint, Ubuntu or whatever. What with smartphones, tablets, Macs & Chromebooks consumers are starting to realise that Windows is not the only game in town and that the alternatives do the job are not really harder to use.

        Cue complaints that LibreOffice isn't 100% compatible with MS Office without admitting that MS Office frequently isn't compatible with itself.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          Sure, because a Chromebook is something which is not controlled by Google, right? Ubuntu didn't play some nasty trick too, did it? And sure unauthorized hardware support is not an issue with Linux, most non mainstream hardware risks to be not supported anyway...

      2. Naselus

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        " there's loads of people who won't fork out the cash for Mac"

        Apple practically invented the walled garden, so swapping to a Mac is just going from a big walled garden to a smaller, even more restrictive one.

        Linux is basically the only option - and unless the distro fragmentation cuts down, it's not seriously an option for the average user either, since Auntie Maud is not going to know whether to go with Mint or Red Hat or Ubuntu or whatever (god help us if Auntie Maud ends up with access to Kali Linux) and will just stick with Windows.

        On the other hand, if we're talking about whether the PC is a programmable device or just an appliance... well, for how many average users is it seriously being used as the former and not the latter? Auntie Maud wants to read her email, play Scrabble on Facebook and have somewhere to upload the pictures from her digital camera. She doesn't know what she's doing when downloading software from the 'net, and it may be better if her O/S prevents her from picking up a cracked copy of Quake VII and running it. And Auntie Maud is much, much more representative of the average computer user than any El Reg commentard; frankly, Microsoft's competition doesn't really include Linux at all, because if you've heard of Linux you're an 'advanced user' and if you actually know how to use it you're a computing genius.

        Even if you don't agree with it (and I don't), there's a serious case to be made in favour of walled gardens. It's one that people are delighted to make on Apple's behalf but hate to extend to Microsoft.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          > Linux is basically the only option

          Downvote in 3, 2, 1, ... (zero is when 1980s_coder reads your comment).

          > Auntie Maud is not going to know whether to go with [Linux distros]

          Such a user wouldn't even consider installing an operating system (what's that, like Word, or is that the "hard disk" thingy?) anyway. So you slap it on her computer, give it a few tweaks, and she can happily curse thereafter.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Earth to Microsoft

            I set up Ubuntu for my pensioner-age father. He is not quite a technophobe as he will try stuff, but his knowledge of computers is practically non-existent. So far its been over 5 years of minimal trouble, no viruses, and the previous XP set-up was cleaned and put in a VM so he can run some flaky genealogy package.

            So Linux can be viable for a lot of the population with minimal training, but how likely we are to see it come pre-installed and sanely configured on PCs is another matter.

        2. Chemist

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          " because if you've heard of Linux you're an 'advanced user' and if you actually know how to use it you're a computing genius."

          What !

          ~~1-2% of users use Linux -that's a lot of 'computing geniuses' indeed I guess it doesn't leave many for other OSs.

        3. TCook1943

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          Have you ever really tried Linux or are you shooting from the lip in that direction? By your reckoning, not mine, I'm an, "advanced user" bordering on genius.

          By my own I'm a retard as I run Win 7 in native mode.

      3. Triggerfish

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Starting to wonder about that, I never really bothered with Linux as it was to much arsing about setting it up, (yes I know its got easier, but I remember the pain of trying to get dual monitors on a radeon graphics card working), and for me the pc was just a tool to get stuff done.

        But MS are now making any effort worth it, and its not like they managed to make win 8 a user friendly experience anyway, I can't help but wonder whether its going to cause people to suddenly work out the value of effort v privacy. I have non techy friends who having heard the comments about win 10 and want none of that shit, IOS or Linux could come good out of this.

        1. BitDr

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          I remember that kind of pain, it was about 2005/2006 when I was setting up dual monitors on diskless workstations that PXE Booted Fedora from a CentOS server (have your eyes crossed yet?). That was painful. Webcams were also painful... but we did it.

          Today, 2015, I installed Linux Mint to replace UBUNTU 10.04 on a customers work-station. We turned it on and both monitors "just worked".

      4. halfbaked

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Surely there is an opportunity here for some company to make a small charge for Linux, make whatever changes are needed for the general user, and publicise it. Perhaps Dell or HP who could thus reduce the price of their PCs

        1. msknight

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          Chrome is Linux, but how many, "users," know that? Also, it is a walled garden in itself.

          Apple is a walled garden, but they've managed to build a user base nevertheless.

          To a degree, we've got to see how badly M$ muck it up and cause people to reject it; but given their history, I fear this will happen.

          Linux has become much easier on multiple monitor machines in the last few years, and much easier to set up. It took a while to go through which software I wanted to use, and what I wanted to kill from the machine, but I can generally get a machine up and running in two hours, with all my software tuned, and my files easily transferred/safe from format, thanks to running my /home dir on its own partition and having an apt-get remove and an apt-get install on a memory stick.

          Much better than the windows days of mucking about with registration keys, license codes, assured software and stuff.

          And yes, I've taken a chunk of my friends over to Linux and they've loved it. More stable and quicker to respond on less-than-cutting-edge hardware.

          However, it's the average consumer that is going to be hit by this, and how many of them have one of us in their little black books?

        2. MacGyver

          Re: Earth to Microsoft


          I think we are about to see the other option, a lifetime Windows user that happens to be a programmer that finally gets fed up with Microsoft's sh!t and fixes all the rough edges of some Linux version so much that HE can use it as a Windows replacement and the rest of us all benefit from it.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Earth to Microsoft

            He wouldn't be able because his patches would be rejected because Linux has to stay a 1970s OS and never enter the XXI century... people feel comfortable in lots of its outdated designs because it ensures they never need to learn anything new, and better...

            1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

              Re: Earth to Microsoft

              > ... stay a 1970s OS ...

              > ... outdated designs ...

              Kindly stop talking out of your arse.

            2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Earth to Microsoft

              He wouldn't be able because his patches would be rejected because Linux has to stay a 1970s OS and never enter the XXI century

              May you catch systemd and suffer greatly

            3. TCook1943

              Re: Earth to Microsoft

              Dipshit is as dipshit does.

      5. BitDr

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Commercial/corporate won't. People tend to use at home what they use at work. Personal Computers were around long before IBM got into the game, but they never got popular until big business started adopting the IBM PC. Employees then learned MS DOS. In the early days of the Micro Computer, before large scale adoption by big business, when people bought a home PC, they bought an Apple ][, or a C=64, perhaps a Tandy CoCo, or a BBC Micro. Hardcore hobbyists bought CP/M machines.

        There was a period of time (about 1982-1986/1987) when the PC market was booming as the machines penetrated big business and home users started to look at "PC Compatibles", because they wanted what they used at work. There were problems with these as they weren't 100% compatible, but that soon changed. Sales of the aforementioned 8 bitters started to wane as MS DOS was front and centre in people's minds.

        Fast forward to Windows 8 and 10. Big business won't touch either and If corporate interests don't adopt 8 or 10 then they are going to move to something else. Linux is a good choice, so is Free BSD (as Apple has proven). Both are open (truly open), they can both be customized, and in the case of multinationals and banks thousands of expensive licenses or license packages are no longer required. To ease end-user adoption the GUI (for example Cinnamon) can be made to look like what they are used to. If they do this then all of those corporate employees will now no longer be using Microsoft's product. Unless they have forgotten their history this kind of scenario has GOT to be on Microsoft's radar.

        If I were them I would start to try to cut them off at the pass, what's the weakest link in the chain? The hardware. Control the hardware and you control the platform that is used. But how do you control ALL of the hardware without owning it? I mean, even Microsoft doesn't have that kind of money. The answer is you use Other People's Money and some psychology.

        The bit about "authorised devices" is the key here. If you can get the hardware makers to hand off control of driver distribution to you then you've got them just where you want them. Apply some psychology, use terms like "Secure" and "Authorised" and people will invariably buy in, thinking you are talking about protecting their systems and environments; even though you said no such thing. Mechanisms to authenticate device drivers and the OS against the BIOS (secure boot) drive the nail home. Firmware on the devices simply has to look to the BIOS for Secure Boot, if it is NOT enabled the device will not work. If your OS isn't secure boot enabled (even if it is Windows) then your shiny new device can be made to work if you turn on Secure Boot. Your Linux Distro might be able to use Secure Boot, but then you're paying Microsoft because they manage secure boot authorization keys. Win WIn Win (for Microsoft).

        Words from the Bill Gates character in the movie Pirates of Silicon valley;

        "You know how you survive? You make people need you. You survive because you make them need what you have. And then they have no where else to go".

        Job done. And most people didn't see it coming.

        1. msknight

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          @ BitDr

          Was it Munich that went Linux and then reverted due to user pressure because they wanted what they used at home?

          ...but there was background talk suspecting politics at work?

          Does anyone know what Munich did in the end?

          The crazy thing is that people don't need Microsoft any more. They need the customers. I still can't get this whole thing straight in my head. I think I need a drink...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Earth to Microsoft

            "Does anyone know what Munich did in the end?"

            AFAIK there never was any serious talk of reverting and I don't think they have.

          2. Richard Plinston

            Re: Earth to Microsoft

            > Was it Munich that went Linux and then reverted

            No, they did not 'revert'. They did have a normal 'review of computing services', just as any company does, with a few voices whining about a some things.

      6. herman Silver badge

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Nobody uses Linux or UNIX! Sez the Hipster, talking on his Android phone, while plugging his Apple laptop computer into his Linksys router, to access his latest Anti-fracking protest poster on Google Drive...

      7. Jabbathehutt

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Oh come on. I'm an over-70 retiree, running Linux on a no-name PC.

        So I don't do weather forecasting or anything else highly technical, but so far all my computing needs have been met. Linux (no quotes) is easy. Easiest if you don't expect a Windows clone...

        1. Chemist

          Re: Earth to Microsoft

          "So I don't do weather forecasting or anything else highly technical"

          But if you did you'd mostly be using a Unix or Linux . :

          "Speaking at the Open Gov Summit, Mallin said the agency has used Linux for 10 years.

          He said most of the Met Office's website runs on open source, with some proprietary software, such as an Oracle database.

          Mallin said the Met Office used IBM’s AIX proprietary operating system on its supercomputers, but was running Python internally for programs, with Red Hat also running on its IBM mainframes.

          “The desktops are also a mixed economy, we have 1,800 people working at the Met Office and 1,300 have Windows. But 500 of our scientists use Red Hat, as they find it a faster way of doing things.”"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Earth to Microsoft

      A PC is a tightly controlled Black box according to the new version of the MS Bible.

      IMHO their walled garden is potentiall far worse than Apples. They want to get to the point where when a user tried to run an unapproved program cortana pops up and says,

      'I'm sorry Dave I can't allow that'.

      That is the sort of walled garden that MS is wanting to create.

      Everything connected to their mothership all the time. They (and by implication the NSA etc) knowing every key you press 30mSec after you press it. Type a 'restricted' word and the police come a knocking with their size 15's on your front door.

      Orwell will be spinning in his grave.

      Stop the world I wanna get off.

      1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        I am reminded of the movie Bourne Ultimatum where The Guardian reporter mentioned Blackbriar on his phone. (It is a movie, so are allow to pretend The Guardian still does investigative reporting.) As soon as the reporter did, some NSA office knew about it.

        Why am I thinking that with Win10, Microsoft will let the NSA do the same thing except with our computers? If you use Duck Duck Go to search "how to make a dirty bomb", how soon before you are on a terrorist watch list? If you discover an embarrassing secret of the government (like in Bourne Ultimatum), how soon will an "asset" be sent to keep the embarrassment a secret?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Orwell will be spinning in his grave.

        Yar. He broke the speed of sound when Snowden's revelations came to light. He's spinning faster and faster. It'll be interesting when his rotational velocity reaches light speed.

      3. Field Commander A9

        'I'm sorry Dave I can't allow that'.

        Have you been living under a rock? Windows has been doing that for ages:

        'Windows cannot launch this program because it has a revoked certificate.'

      4. druck Silver badge

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        'I'm sorry Dave I can't allow that'... without purchasing a subscription.

    3. DropBear

      Re: Earth to Microsoft

      "It is for use as a general purpose, programmable machine for non-specific tasks."

      The only thing is, the vast, vast - vast - majority of people never wanted to use it for anything more special than communicating and media consumption (which is why tablets got as far as they did to the direct detriment of the PC market - those people never wanted a PC, they had one because it was the only thing around) and even out of those who did, most just used some dedicated software written by someone else, without any ability to change it in any way since they were not developers.

      The point being that the group of people who not only wish but are also able to use their hardware in arbitrarily customized ways is vanishingly small in the ocean of people to whom the MS restrictions don't make any difference whatsoever - in theory. In practice, of course, this will inevitably be abused but all those people will have no idea what else to do but endure it and/or think "it won't happen to them" (until it does).

      1. TCook1943

        Re: Earth to Microsoft

        Possibly alone amongst others here I freely admit to knowing far too little to materially improve a Windows box. I have already binned Windows 10 due to the admission by MS that they could and would monitor what was on my box & am presently using Win 7 in native mode.

        I am as near to taking the Linux + VM route as a gnats cock is thick,

  6. clatters

    For blank-reg

    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest* dkms

    sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers <your userid>

    Reboot to bring in the updated kernel

    open virtualbox and click on "new" to load your version of Doze

    USB (keyboard, mouse, etc) may need additional drivers which are obtained in the Doze session.

    Takes about 30 minutes.


    Cheers, enjoy!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: For blank-reg

      But.... virtualbox is 'owned' by Oracle. A slimeball of a company if you ask me.

      Oh, and apt-get is not the answer to life, the universe and everything. There are other alternatives you know. My linux box does not understand 'apt-get'.

      1. clatters

        Re: For blank-reg

        Our friend is using Mint for which apt-get is the software manager. Other options exist, YUM, RPM YAST yawn.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: For blank-reg

          Cavemen also use tar & make

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: For blank-reg

            "Cavemen also use tar & make"

            Ooh. Grunt. Omph.

          2. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: For blank-reg

            Cavemen also use tar & make

            Thag not like tar. Tar trap Thag pet mammoth. Tar make Thag angry.

            Thag thump hard drive wit' club to make bit patterns.

            How Thag do shell? Bash.

          3. Hans 1 Silver badge

            Re: For blank-reg

            Well, turns out I HAD TO use tar and make yesterday ... had to build the native lib for tomcat's APR connector ...

      2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: For blank-reg

        > But.... virtualbox is 'owned' by Oracle. A slimeball of a company if you ask me.

        Oi, you are overly harsh to slimeballs here!

      3. oiseau Silver badge

        Re: For blank-reg

        > .... virtualbox is 'owned' by Oracle. A slimeball of a company if you ask me.


        And since the purchase of Sun Microsystems, it has acquired a boatload of hostages.

    2. Bladeforce

      Re: For blank-reg

      Why make it so hard? For the new user just pop open the app store (Yes ubuntu had it before Apple!) search Virtualbox and voila! Click install

  7. Robert Jenkins

    Dodgy legal ground..

    Microsoft have always been on dodgy ground with the "agreements" you are required to click through on a new machine or after installing a retail copy of their software.

    In English law (covering contracts), adding conditions after the sale is agreed is barred - so click-through or shrink-wrap style conditions are meaningless.

    It's also now illegal under general sale of goods laws to even imply that the buyer has any less legal rights than they really do have in law - the old "You cannot do anything" (statutory rights not affected) style clause is banned..

    If you ask Microsoft why they leave such clauses in English products, they don't seem to want to reply to the question - I have tried in the past..

    This latest idea yet again changes or reveals conditions / agreements after purchase, which appears to again be illegal in English law.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy legal ground..

      Good argument.

      There is also probably a case for them being in breach of the 'Computer Misuse Act' if they remotely change settings on your PC without express permission from you.

      They are in effect 'hacking' your computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dodgy legal ground..

        When you blindly clicked through to merrily install your 'free' gift from M$ you agreed to the T&Cs to allow them to spy on you and alter settings at their whim. All keystrokes on Windows 10 belong to M$.

        Last time this was mentioned someone called bullshit, looks like the cat is out of the bag now.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Dodgy legal ground..

          "When you blindly clicked through to merrily install your 'free' gift from M$ you agreed to the T&Cs to allow them to spy on you and alter settings at their whim. All keystrokes on Windows 10 belong to M$."

          Which may well be an "unfair contract" since they effectively pushed the upgrade on users and have made it almost impossible to say no by nagging you every 30 days to install Win10 even when you say no. Actually, you can't even say no. You can only defer saying yes.

    2. KroSha

      Re: Dodgy legal ground..

      Obligatory xkcd

    3. tirk

      Re: Dodgy legal ground..

      We'll probably find that TTIP will retroactively make these sort of clauses legal and binding.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Buy spam and guns, move to Montana. Simples!

  9. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Isn't this 'Restriction of trade'?

    Which is serious.

  10. Loud Speaker


    the new T&Cs “respect individual privacy and don’t require a law degree to read”.

    What part of "sell your soul to the devil" do you not understand?

    1. hplasm

      Re: RTFM

      "What part of "sell your soul to the devil" do you not understand?"

      The part where users pay him...

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: RTFM

      the new T&Cs “respect individual privacy and don’t require a law degree to read”.

      What part of "sell your soul to the devil" do you not understand?

      War is peace.

      Freedom is slavery.

      Ignorance is strength.

      Snooping on you respects your privacy.

      Windows 10. It's doubleplusgood (...for governments).

      In hindsight, the first clue for us was when the "My Computer" icon got renamed after Windows 7.

      It's not "My Computer" any more, it's Microsoft's, to do with as they will. I just get to use it, by their good grace.

  11. Hans 1 Silver badge

    >Of course the new agreement does not mean that Microsoft is going to block peripherals left, right and centre in the near future, but it has left the door open to do so.

    They are, my webcam ceased working since Windows Vista, for lack of drivers. Thank Linus I have Linux. The webcam in question was a cheap Chinese piece of sh!t I got as a present ...

    1. imanidiot Silver badge


      Is ANYONE considering updating to Win10 in here? I'm certainly not going to. I might consider 8.1 for a new rig, but 10 is a definite No-Go by now.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Update?

        I've updated a laptop from 8.1 to 10 purely for testing purposes; several users of my legacy shareware software lost their registry settings on doing the upgrade. Initially I tried the update tool but it crashed and burned with no explanation or error message. Eventually the automatic update has kicked in but instead of taking 3.8 GB as stated it actually took nearer to 7 GB making a serious hole in my internet monthly quota. I had to turn off the computer a couple of times during this automatic update to retain enough bandwidth for the other kit in the household (I'm limited to 2 GB per day) and automatic updates know nothing about this limit so happily burned through it one morning before breakfast leaving the household without internet for the rest of the day. Large automatic updates are going to be a pain in the rear for this reason if no other.

        When Windows 10 finally finished installing I chose the custom setup having been warned about all the privacy breaching default settings. It was quite scary how much Microsoft wanted to spy on *everything* done on the computer, from typing, to programs run and websites visited etc. So I turned off just about every option.

        The user interface has a horrible search bar on the taskbar, so got rid of that and the Microsoft shop icon from there along with some other clutter. The new start menu is pretty crap and has animated tiles which are just plain irritating and lots of other crap by default that I don't want such as Twitter and Faceache. Installed ClassicShell menu and it is much improved. It now looks very similar to 8.1 (with ClassicShell). Long story short, I'll leave Windows 10 on that laptop but only as the secondary operating system behind Linux. I was pleased to see that the Win 10 update didn't trash the existing Linux installation or revert the secure boot back on again.

        My overall impression of Win 10 is that its interface is little better than 8.1 but I simply don't trust it. It is too scary from a privacy perspective and automatic updates can't be trusted not to take my entire daily bandwidth allowance with no way to stop them either. I won't use it for anything sensitive, online banking, personal documents or anything else to be honest unless I'm forced to do so e.g. if Customs and Revenue insist I run some Windows-only software, otherwise I'll never use Windows 10 other than for testing purposes.

        1. Palpy

          Re: Update --> Re: Update

          If I were to change to Win10 I'd probably do as you have, and be very careful about MS's default install. But noticing how MS made GWX.exe difficult to expunge (only "trusted update" has user privileges on the file), and how it tried to re-install after I did get it deleted, I'm wary. The imposition of an "if you have our OS, then we own your computer"-style EULA... well, I imagine changing all the options back to their default settings may be as simple as popping a new update onto your machine. An update you cannot disable and cannot refuse.

          Or maybe that's just crazy talk.

          Linux does indeed allow you full control. You can even delete the kernel accidentally while purging old update files if you wish... ;)

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Update --> Update

            ...even delete the kernel accidentally...

            I once tried to deleted everything on a running machine just to see what would happen. It was about to be re-installed, I'm not quite that insane! Yet.

            All gone, only a couple of in-use directors left on the HDD when I booted the live CD to install the new distro. I was impressed, it did just what it said it would, including rm rm'ing itself.

      2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: Update?

        I tried!

        % apt-cache search Windows10

        [no result]

        What should I do?

        1. hplasm

          Re: Update?

          "What should I do?"


      3. justsomeone

        Re: Update?

        Have already updated,

        Glad to be the canary in the coalmine :|

        Win 10 is pleasant and faster[subjective] so far, although I have not used it without some minor tweaks:

        Tossed onedrive out (1)

        Configured the privacy settings so Microsoft cant watch me drink coffee in my dressing gown (2)

        (That also involves getting rid of cortana.)

        Frankly, I was happy to bite the bullet and upgrade to 10 as I can fall back to a Debian install on a separate disk. Color me (mostly unconcerned) about the "anti-piracy" features with no pirated games on my Win install (haven't pirated anything since I got a decently paying job)

        What does concern me is what might happen to some of the indie games that come distributed as exe's by small studios and some of my more esoteric peripherals (mostly music related). I frankly will be surprised if there isn't some farce involving a 3rd party reporting some game exe as pirated to screw over an indie studio and MS bungling dealing with it till it makes the (gaming and tech) press.

        Not to mention what MS are going to do about "pirated" abandonware. In the very small window of time they were giving it away for free I got a copy of Mechwarrior 4 : Merc's, I wonder if that's going to run into any bother.....

        .....checks winehq optimistically (3)... bugger




        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          Re: Update?

          > Have already updated, ...

          > ...Debian install on a separate disk.

          Expect angry shouting between those to disks.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Update?

        I've upgraded all the e kit at home - 3 desktops, 3 laptops & 1 tablet (ranging in age from 5 years old to 6 months old), so far no issues, apart from 1 ebook reader app that's only working on the tablet. have started upgrading kit at work, 40+ devices, mix of laptops and desktops, mostly < 1 year old, but older kit in use as "spares", again no issues so far.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Update?

          "I've upgraded all the e kit at home - 3 desktops, 3 laptops & 1 tablet (ranging in age from 5 years old to 6 months old), so far no issues"

          Well I 'upgraded' 476 misc machines, from 50 years to 1 day old with 256 bytes to 42 GB and none work - so there. BTW I'm also an AC

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Update?

          " have started upgrading kit at work, 40+ devices, mix of laptops and desktops, mostly < 1 year old"

          Why the rush? These systems were obviously running an OS that MS will be supporting until at least 2020 and that all business applications work with these systems. So this sounds like an attention seeking activity on your part, rather than a business decision.

    2. Rob Gr

      and how exactly was that Microsoft's fault?

  12. Aoyagi Aichou


    But what is she going to do about it?

    By the way, thanks for providing me with a reason for a nice conversation.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FSF Statement

    The problem is with the ordinary users who see Windows 10 as a step forward.

    What can one do to prevent the masses into opening their private lives to M$, NSA et al and sleep-walking into the trap called WindoZe 10. Massive PR campaign (funded by who? The Tax Payers are already funding the spy agencies who are busy backdooring the commercially available products. Or another company who's ultimate goal will be to sell their own flawed shiny product.)

    1. David Nash

      Re: FSF Statement

      The problem with that FSF statement is that it begins by complaining that Windows is not Open Source. While the likes of Richard Stallman might disagree, that is not the primary problem here, yet it will put off most readers as soon as they start reading.

      What we need is a major newspaper or Which magazine, or the BBC, to get a clue about this and make a noise about the privacy implications.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wouldn't let Microsoft build a wall round my garden!

    you'd be going round after them patching all the holes they'd left in it.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: wouldn't let Microsoft build a wall round my garden!

      You would also need to ask Microsoft's permission every time you went through the garden gate or had guests. They'd also rifle through all your drawers while you weren't looking.

  15. Tridac

    If you really need windows for a particular application, then consider using a windows server, rather than a desktop release. Earlier versions are not expensive on the usual site and the system management tools for things like security lockdown are streets ahead of the desktop release. What's left ofr unneeded services can be whittled down so that you have only a handfull of processes running in the task list. If you run on server class hardware, you even get all the install tools from the vendor as well. Have been doing that for several years here without problem for the sw dev machines . Server releases do seem quite a bit more robust, as well as running all the apps needed for day to day work. Everything else is Linux, apart form a couple of unix servers and laptops on Xp, none of which have ever been a problem. Windows runs here on sufferance only. I wouldn't go anywhere near W10 and don't see any need for it ever, either. It's going to be a disaster for personal and company information security.

    I need to have full visibility of everything running on the machines here and don't expect any of them to do anything other than which has been explicitly programmed to run or enabled...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm calling bovine excrement on this thing

    I have thought long and hard about this (at least, insofar this is possible given my limited possibilities), and have unequivocally determined the whole Microsoft argument is based on a fallacy, namely that EULA's exist for the benefit of the customer/consumer AND the issuer of the agreement.

    It is also my contention that ANYONE who reads a MS EULA and agrees to it is either :

    - A danger to themselves and their environment and should be locked in a padded cell

    - Lying though their teeth

    - Being forced against their will, possibly involving firearms or mediëval torture apparatuses.

    Any half sane person, having a say in the matter, would tear up the EULA and refuse to have anything to do with the product attached to it.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first

      Re: I'm calling bovine excrement on this thing

      I've said before that I have NEVER agreed to a "click here" agreement. I just wait for the cat to walk over the keyboard and that happy accident does the trick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm calling bovine excrement on this thing

        That sounds like acapital plan to me, with only one minor flaw...unfortunately, I'm allergic to cats, and since the KB I am using is from MS (SANS the obviously EULA'd software that comes with it), I sincerely doubt it will survive a 110 pound Rottweiler walkover.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As far as I can tell

    Nothing stops you running a pirate copy of MS Office on a Mac

  18. bobgameon

    Stop Panicking

    I'm pretty sure i read somewhere(i'll try to find the link) that this applies to Microsoft services and thus to XBOX and Windows Store and not to all PC software. For example how is Microsoft suppose to know if the games i bought from Steam are legal or not without Steam telling them. And if Steam does share this information its a breach of privacy by their own EULA.

    People and their over-reactions on half information is pretty funny.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop Panicking

      People and their over-reactions on half information is pretty funny.

      Given what I have found in Terms of late I am actually happy with a bit of OVERreaction, because up until now there has been a distinct lack of reaction to what are increasingly becoming pretty invasive demands to just use a service of a bit of software. Who the f*ck do they think they are? King Nero?

      1. bobgameon

        Re: Stop Panicking

        The problem is the no reaction up to this point. People have gotten so use to devices phoning home thanks to Android, iOS and WP that they see it as common place. Microsoft once tried to point to this using there SCROOGLED campaign but ironically have now joined the bandwagon. And the biggest problem is the service tie-ins and that nobody opposes them. And they still don't. Nobody around me who has upgraded to windows 10 has a problem with the whole privacy thing. The general reaction i get from them is "I'm not doing anything wrong so why should i have a problem with their data collecting".

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Stop Panicking

      Yes, but now it's Windows AS A SERVICE...

    3. MacGyver

      Re: Stop Panicking

      They'll most likely use hashes of known "bad" files to deny you access to them. Files such as the ones you are going to need to use when Windows 10 won't let you run your older software that has DRM that won't work under Windows 10 anymore. Normally you would just strip off that DRM, and run your software as you see fit, only now, you are going to have to hope they let you. You also better hope that there aren't any hash collisions between the doctoral thesis you just finished and something they have deemed a "naughty file", or else they will do with it as they see fit.

    4. Richard Plinston

      Re: Stop Panicking

      > how is Microsoft suppose to know if the games i bought from Steam are legal or not

      The plan is that _all_ software for Windows machines will be sold through the store, with MS taking a 30% cut. Steam will be persuaded about how much better it will be for them because MS can eliminate piracy (or every Steam game if they don't agree).

      1. bobgameon

        Re: Stop Panicking

        No its not. Atleast for now. Microsoft stated at their gamescon Xbox conference that they wish to support steam on windows 10 to their fullest and have no plans of competing with them.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: Stop Panicking

          > they wish to support steam on windows 10 to their fullest and have no plans of competing with them.

          I am not sure how that contradicts my message. MS _could_ support Steam fuller by selling it through their Store and monitoring 'piracy' directly for them.

          Of course if Steam don't want that 'support' then ...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for a translation, methinks

    He added that the new T&Cs “respect individual privacy and don’t require a law degree to read”.

    - respect individual privacy: but as a herd you're mine, all mine. Oh, and we mean "respect privacy as any US company does, i.e. not at all"

    - don’t require a law degree to read: absolutely require a lawyer to detect how we waylaid you by innocent looking wording that doesn't amount to anything. BTW< you did read the end bit, didn't you? The part which says that we are not liable? Yes? Good, that settles that then.

    Every single time a US company tells you that you don't need a lawyer, they're praying you buy that line and indeed don't get one involved. Reading through their T&Cs it strikes me that they impose all sorts of obligations on you and give MS rights that no sane person ought to give them, yet curiously avoid any such obligations on their parts, and absolve them of any responsibility in case they screw up when abusing those rights.

    Now I'm no lawyer, but doesn't this hit the unfair contract terms aspect of UK law? I wouldn't touch this with a 10ft barge pole if I was responsible for managing corporate risk exposure.

  20. Andy Non Silver badge

    If Microsoft owned a supermarket...

    In the interests of improving your customer experience they'd sneak everything out of your pockets, wallet and bags and make a note of everything about you and everything you'd got, then slip them back again without you noticing. You could of course opt out of these searches if you know to ask for the relevant form at the customer help-desk, declining the searches. (In particular remember to un-tick the option allowing Microsoft to do a full cavity search). Microsoft would also reserve the right to destroy your customer loyalty cards for other stores, confiscate your shopping and report the weed in your back pocket to the police. They would attach a tracker to you so they could monitor everywhere you went, but would only share that information with trusted third parties of course (ahem). Entry into their new store is free of charge (whoopee!), provided you've previously been a customer at one of their older 7 or 8.1 stores, otherwise you will need to pay a substantial membership fee.

  21. MacGyver

    Is it really Windows anymore anyway?

    Their GUIs have been "wrong" since Vista, not the look but the way the elements interact. The timing is wrong or something. It's almost like File Explorer was re-written from scratch after XP to look like the one from XP, it looks similar but it just feels different.

    The whole OS just feels like it's written in Java, things blink and flicker, random timing inconsistencies in the GUI. Under XP I used to be able to stream 3 videos at the same time from 3 different network mapped drives and they would all play no problem, now if I have an MP3 steaming from a share and try to view another, the MP3 is going to stutter and I won't see the new folder for up to 10 seconds. It's like the Windows 8-10 network connectivity was built off of a backup of Windows 3.11 source code. I can go to an old Windows XP computer and access the same exact network resources and have a 200% better experience.

    I won't get into the poor design choices of white-on-white with light grey boundaries, and menus designed to be used with a sausage sized stylus, or 2 different settings systems.

    Add up all the privacy issues and headaches plus their walled-garden philosophy and it isn't really such a big step to ditching Windows and just using Linux. I mean all the interface rough edges I never liked about Linux are now in Windows, so what's the point in paying to be underwhelmed.

  22. Mikel

    Whose PC again?

    Apparently if you run their OS they can tell you what programs you can use, what music and videos you can store and play, what devices you can plug into it. They can change the OS features with an update at any time. All the info in it belongs to them to monitor, audit, copy, delete or share. So it isn't your PC. It's theirs.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Whose PC again?

      Until the HDD has an accident and is 'accidently' pulled out of the drive bay and has an encounter with a steam hammer followed by several days in the melting furnace..*

      Then a shiny new blank HDD is fitted and Linux mint installed and none of the users noticed.

      *if thats enough to wipe the stain of win10 off the disk...

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Whose PC again?

      Go to the police and report it.

  23. Stevie Silver badge


    Looks like Redmond is moving out of the PC business and into the Great Big Tabletop Tablet market.

    Problem for me is that I use my laptop as an authoring tool and as a testbed as well as a media consumption device. I don't "do" Facebook or Youtube (well, at the end of my billing cycle I might view a couple of "Truck Crashes" videos because who can resist the lure of crazy Russian truck driving habits?) so for me the "media consumption" side is pretty much minimal.

    Given that, allowing anyone to lock down the device to their ideas of what I should be able to do is madness.

    So I shall be going Linux I suppose. What a pain. I'll have to re-acquire much of what I've bought and some of the stuff only exists as Windows, Mac and "You're on your own" Linux builds with long lists of known bugs. Running make every time I need a new tool is not my idea of fun. I don't want to hand cut spanners when I work on engines or wind the armature of a drill when I do carpentry. Some enjoy that aspect of using computers. I do that for a living and would rather get to the nitty gritty in my own time.

    Oh well.

    Well done Microsoft. You've enhanced things until they stopped working (for me, at any rate). This was a phenomenon well-known when I started in the trade back before Unix. Nice to see that some things don't change over time, even if the semiconductors used to do them have.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait a minute...

    Bing, the search engine nobody uses except for porn, is claiming the right to push malware onto your computer? How out of touch can they be?

  25. Jim-234

    I have long regarded Windows 7 Professional x64 as the best Desktop Operating system that Microsoft ever managed to come out with.

    I have high hopes of being able to keep Windows 7 going for myself / friends / family for a really long time, however I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to mess it up somehow.

    Already that annoying little windows icon in the right corner advertising the "free" windows 10 has gone from an annoying little icon sitting there, to popping up an advertisement on each bootup.

    Then there is the new "feature" where "helpful programs" can be stuck in the Bios flash area and run as administrator on startup by windows with next to nothing you can do about it:

    This "feature" was silently snuck onto people's PCs without they knowledge or choice hidden in some other "security patch". Once Microsoft has done it once, they will be more tempted to do it again.

    While Linux has made great strides on the desktop and there are excellent distributions such as Mint and Zorin Ultimate, that come pretty much ready to go out of the box with all the multi-media stuff & programs you need, they all still fall down when you need to explain to someone not highly technical how to upgrade / install a software package that is not yet on the package distribution managers

    For example: LibreOffice 5.0, a day or two after release you can walk someone with just about no OS knowledge but using windows on how to download and install the new version & uninstall the old one if they want, pretty easily. But try walking that same person through upgrading the 4.2.2 version on their Linux distribution to the new version and it's a LOT more work.

    Still that does have it's upsides... less chance the less technical users can install junk that messes up their PC.

    Now to figure out how to make Devuan load the drivers I need...for Int Freedom....

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      >I have long regarded Windows 7 Professional x64 as the best Desktop Operating system that Microsoft ever managed to come out with.

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