Friday, July 16, 2004

You don't hate Microsoft but you use Linux?

Yessiree, Bob!

I bought a computer in January 2002, and it came preloaded with Windows XP Home. Great, I thought, I have the latest and greatest for my home pc.

Like most everyone else in the Windows world, I never read licensing agreements.

Then, like a sack of bricks, I was confronted with the onerous new details of XP's licensing scheme.

The article was steeped in great hysteria about Microsoft "abusing consumer rights" and other such nonsense. The essay accuses Microsoft of presumption of guilt, prior restraint, misrepresentation, and surveillance. In my opinion, only the last part of this was a valid complaint, and only the last one was something I found to be completely intolerable.

You see, presumption of guilt and prior restraint would be a valid complaint against Microsoft if they were a government agency, but thankfully, they are not. I can buy misrepresentation insomuch as no one bothers to read the fine print, but the fact that no one reads it does not nullify the obligation.

Surveillance, on the other hand, was something valid to complain about. And I had agreed to allow MS to do it by agreeing to the license.

I was furious. I knew then and there that I couldn't continue to do business with Microsoft. I had read about Linux in the past, in the late 90's, and hoped that it would be a suitable substitute.

And it was.

I was a somewhat happy Mandrake user for two years, and I switched to Debian "Sarge" Linux about two weeks ago, and I'm still learning the ropes of daily usage. Debian forces the user to do more of the basic system configuration than Mandrake does -- Mandrake does most, if not all, automagically.

It's good to learn things, though. It's fun.

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