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11/28/2003 Archived Entry: "Microsoft lock-in redux"
An update: if you use Microsoft products for your business, no matter how small or large, you must read this article. It's a great summary of the business case for using, or not using, the next round of Microsoft software. Among the warnings:
"Microsoft's expressed goal is elimination of the traditional perpetual license in favor of a lease plan. Failure to renew your lease will render all your software unusable and your business data inaccessible. "
"Microsoft has the right to enter and examine your computer systems and software at any time and make changes, even to disable software -- it's already in the Windows XP and Windows 2000 SP2 EULAs (End User License Agreement)."
I'm becoming a fan of the author, Andrew Grygus of Automation Access. He clearly has technical savvy, seems (to my limited knowledge) to have business savvy as well, and distills some very complicated and obscure issues with clear writing. If you have a bit more time, I strongly recommend that you read his (long) related article 2003 and Beyond. Pay particular attention to the part entitled "The Microsoft 'Road Ahead'", and be sure you read down to the section on "Licensing & Ownership". But read the whole thing...it's a wealth of information.
Like many libertarians, I tend to focus on government as the principal threat to freedom. But it's not the only threat, and I'm starting to get very worried about the freedom of information and the freedom of computing in the Microsoft future. (I don't even want to imagine what would happen if the we-own-your-data Microsoft began seriously cooperating with the Ashcroft "Justice" Department.) If you value your privacy, your security, your business, your right to your data, or even your right to use a computer, you need to start now to plan your migration to something else. Install Linux. Install Unix. Buy a Mac. If you simply must use Windows, at least use third-party applications software...and resist operating system upgrades, especially if they'll break your applications
Educate yourself, and spread the word. There's a lot of nasty stuff in the computing future, which is only happening because it's under the radar.