Who is in control of your computer?

by Volker Weber


Bill is infuriated about the Windows spyware called Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA):

And its actions like this (or Vista, or lack of investment in Explorer, or buggy automatic updates that screw your machine) that will drive people to their local apple mac store, or to the fedora/ubuntu/suse web sites.

Two remarks:

  1. Every system that relies on a centralized infrastructure to "protect" your computer or data will take away control from you. The infrastructure will tell your computer whether you can install software, whether your operating system is "genuine", whether you may listen to your music, watch your videos or open your office files. Your computer becomes an extension of a policy. Like your IT department, which tells you what you can or cannot do with your machine.
  2. If the vendor of the software your business relies on only fully supports Windows, you are SOL. It's nice if you can have a client for Linux, or an outdated client for Mac. But if your development tools run only on Windows, or your Java agents don't run on all platforms, or your Linux clients run only on distributions which require "activation", you will be as lost as you are now.

The iPhone is a good example that Apple is not really about choice either.


I'm really lucky (well, kind of "lucky") with my Windows XP. It's weird, but talking with friends about Vista or reading about it online and in magazines gives me no, really no reason to upgrade.
I'd like to use ubuntu instead, but it's not working well in my MSI S270 Notebook yet.

Thomas Langel, 2007-08-26

Thanks, Volker, for the last sentence of your posting, which may be not only the Third Remark, but the most important, too. Whenever a corporation has a certain clout in a market segment, choice ceases to be a real option.

Still, I'd rather see the iTunes Music Store go down for a couple of hours or days than my entire system. Which is why I'm using Macs.

Konstantin Klein, 2007-08-26

Let me quote a friend of mine, who I do not always agree with but still consider a valued friend...

"Repeat after me. DRM is bad for the customer"

Andrew Pollack, 2007-08-26

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