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Doug's Mailbag: Readers on Microsoft's 'OS Crippler'

This week, Doug wrote about a new Microsoft patent that would let manufacturers lock down OSes to regulate upgrades and software installations. The vast majority of you didn't take well to that idea:

Not no, but hell no! This is just another ploy to stop open source and the gains that have been made using Linux and other operating systems! This is from the same people who called open source communism.
-Anonymous

Comrade Gates, tear down that wall! "Users will get all of the bits in each edition of Windows 7, but access to certain features depends on the edition purchased." And did you want tires on your new vehicle, sir? I wish Microsoft would spend as much time perfecting their product as they do trying to find ways for the consumer to fork over more money.

When they lock down my Windows OS, I will use Linux exclusively. Wouldn't consider buying one of the monsters and would only suggest them to my enemies.
-Stephen

Darn tooting I would recommend and use this technology within the company. When you need to ensure that a device is working as expected and that the user has not subverted the OS or the approved application install base, this is yet another tool that IT pros can turn to.
-Lee

Locked-down PCs get reformatted. Any operating system that isn't helping me do my job is hindering me. Since I own all the computing equipment used for my business, there won't be any of that behavior allowed. Any OS vendor that tries it will no longer be patronized.
-Mark

We are looking to move to a thin client environment from Sun or HP to get this kind of control over the desktop but it would be locked down by our staff, not the vendor. We would look on an OS that was under remote control by the vendor as an unacceptable security risk.
-Michael

You are right that such software represents a double-edged sword, and Microsoft has enough detractors without earning themselves more bad press. In truth, such technology could be used in "software appliances" to prevent abuse just as IT departments routinely lock down systems which are used by their employees. This could be good for the hapless user who seems to routinely screw up their computer or cell phone. But it could just as easily be used by Dell or HP to keep you from modifying or removing their crapware.

In the end, though, I don't see how such tools cold successfully lock out a determined IT geek. Ultimately, it's the consumer who doesn't know how to bypass the system that could benefit from (or get screwed by) such tools.
-Marc

No way! That's what GPs are for. It would never pass muster in our company.
-J.D.T.

I would not recommend going with Microsoft's OS crippler. It is one thing for an organization's IT department to control what is on the PCs; it is another for a disinterested party that is not knowledgable of our company's needs to do so.
-Stephen

No! I wouldn't be able to support Microsoft any longer if this were the case. It's up to the user if they want to upgrade or not, as it's their product they purchased. If MS is just worried about pirated software, they should use the same concept, which locks you out of your computer based on illicit licensing keys.
-Anonymous

You could not sell me a locked-down PC. I don't think I would take one if they paid me to. I could maybe see some possible use, maybe in prisons, but even in a school they would be a disaster, and I suspect the TCO would be very high. One more reason to stick with my Macs.
-Vicke

There is NO way I'd ever use a PC which was crippled in this way. I certainly will pass this on and will encourage all others to switch to an alternative (probably Linux) to escape from the maggot-encrusted OSes that M$ is producing.

I have worked in IT since the early 1980s and have been a loyal M$ cheerleader all along, but over the past few years it has become harder and harder to justify my support of them. The last couple of PCs I've purchased -- neither of which can be downgraded to get rid of Vista -- have soured me on M$.
-Anonymous

Check in on Monday for more responses to Microsoft's new OS patent. Meanwhile, share your thoughts by writing a comment below or e-mailing Doug at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/29/2009 at 1:16 PM


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