When it IS moral to copy software

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andyb
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When it IS moral to copy software

Post by andyb » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:31 am

I have on my lap the perfect example of when it is morally acceptable to copy software illegally

I have a "Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Li 3910" on my lap, and I am about to put on a non-legal version of Windows, and I dont care that it is illegal for me to do so - sod the law, it is morally 100% acceptable for me to do so, and here is why.

In Microsofts wisest of choices the Windows serial code must be physically attached to the machine it belongs to, this is fine most of the time, but when MS uses cheap and nasty ink on their licence labels that rubs off, they leave me with no choice at all but to use an illegal version or ask the customer to buy a legal version because MS are idiots, and Fujitsu have not been clever (like Dell have in recent times by shipping laptops without the battery inserted, and the MS licence sticker clearly showing in the battery compartment). It is morally wrong to ask the customer to buy software they already own, so that is out of the question. As this problem has been caused by MS and Fujist, and neither of them will grant a replacement licence for free, an illegal one is the only choice left to me - and I have no problem at all with doing so, and lukily for the customer they will be getting an upgrade as I have no idea what the licence sticker "used" to say the version was, all I know is it had "vista" of some kind on it.

I have with all honesty and no problems have had to do this on occasion before, but this time I can barely make out 3 digits, and even then I am guessing 2 of them. I can easily post the serial number on the internet for all to see (ha ha ha), but I dont have my camera with me, so here it is typed out. _____ - _____ - __5__ - _____

Then again judging by pictures of Vista licence stickers on the net, I might be looking at the barcode.

If I remember to bring my camera to work tomorrow I will post a pic for you to laugh at.

On a more serious note I have seen this problem far more frequently in the last year than all of the years previously put together, find the serial code on your/friends/relatives laptops and write them down and keep it safe, as the DVD is worth £0.50, and the licence is worth £70.00 (or more depending on the version, thats £2.80 per letter that is missing, and if guessing in various combinations does not work then its £70 or illegal software, and its NOT your fault.

This is also not going to cost MS anything at all, they have already been paid for it.


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Post by xan_user » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:21 am

I had to crack windows so I could activate a valid xp install, off the grid.

M$ just assumes everyone has internet or a phone at their house? Piss off! (Did I say that right? -you brits have such cool swearing habits.)

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Post by Vicotnik » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:38 am

The moral aspect of piracy is that it's immoral to use a Microsoft product. Paying for it would be even worse. :twisted:
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Post by andymcca » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:26 am

This seems like something your warranty should cover :)

Thought they might make you ship it to them so they can "repair" it by sticking on a new sticker.
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Post by BillyBuerger » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:46 am

I have a list of product keys and serial numbers for software that I actually have legally just in case of any label or media loss. Also is easier to find when reinstalling stuff.

I did a similar thing as you recently. My brother had two laptops that were both dead. One was just the hard drive so I took the drive out of the other one and re-installed windows. Now, it had a valid XP home product key with it and the sticker was still there and intact. But he didn't have any install media. Could have lost it or a lot of times with laptops, they don't actually send you an install CD, just an image backup or something. So I grabbed an install CD I had. Got to the product key and it wouldn't take it. I've noticed that there seems to be different product keys for retail and OEM versions of windows or maybe different one for SP2 or SP3. So I grabbed some other XP home product key I found. Not sure where it came from and if it was legal or not. I expected that once I got in, I would be able to change it back to the correct one. Nope, it would not take the XP home product key that was assigned to the laptop. WTF? So I just let him use the one that may be illegal because he really does have a legal license. Windows just is being stupid and won't take it.

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Post by nutball » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:27 pm

andymcca wrote:This seems like something your warranty should cover :)
Warranty with whom though? Software made by Microsoft on a laptop built by Fujitsu [insert: sold by a third-party retailer here for extra fun and frolics]. Which one of those can be held responsible for the warranty on the sticker?

No, they'll all just give the end-user the run-around and the cold, slow finger up the botty.

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Post by andyb » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:00 pm

I am glad that everyone has mentioned all of the other problems I have had with MS Windows. My policy on the PC's that I use at work and home are quite different from what I install on customers PC's whilst rerpairing them, mostly for me its that my test rig(s) get re-installed quite often, no way could I bear speaking to MS about activating the same serial code every 3-months for the last 9-years, that would have driven me nuts 8-years ago. Strictly speaking we at work have un-used serial codes for our machines, but we have never used them and never will because quite frankly its actually easier to use illegal MS software than legal versions, so the legal versions are still in the cupboard and virginal.
Piss off! (Did I say that right? -you brits have such cool swearing habits.)
You did, although interestingly it only seems to have started its existence around the mid 1900's as a phrase, but the word "piss" has been around in one language form or another since about 1300. FYI the infamous "F" word has existed since about pre 1500, and the "C" word amazingly since 1230. Regardless of the above interesting information, the UK, Australia and Germany are rumoured to swear the most, not that this is exactly on subject.
and the cold, slow finger up the botty.
This is a new one to add to the list :) awsome.


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Post by xan_user » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:07 pm

M$ has been caught steeling code, more than once, so they should get off their moral high horse.

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Post by frenchie » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:53 pm

I usually stick a post-it note with the license number on the DVD with the software on it. The number is legal but if one day I have to, I'll have absolutly no problem whatsoever with downloading a version from the internet. I paid for it, so I own it. Period. And it's the same with non MS software.
It's like having to remember a 20 digit number to start your car ; you forget the number, you have to buy a new car... When will they start making pacemakers with a license key... ?
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Post by lm » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:04 am

With Linux you don't have to deal with this crap. You know you want to!

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Post by Nick Geraedts » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:23 pm

lm wrote:With Linux you don't have to deal with this crap. You know you want to!
But you have to deal with all the other crap that comes along with working in a Linux environment. Don't tell me that "Linux is easy", because frankly, it's not. The learning curve is steeper, the performance benefits are marginal (and those take quite a bit of tweaking and know-how), and software compatibility... well... it's Linux.
"Software works on Windows, OSX, and Linux!"
*installs software*
*fails because of missing package*
*ask devs/support forums for help*
"I developed this on Ubuntu. I can't help you if you're running Fedora."
Two easy ways you could save yourself the hassle of this again. First - keep an online copy of your license keys. I've got a Google Spreadsheet listing all my keys, what they're for, and what computer they're currently installed on (if any). Microsoft likely won't care if you obtain the installation media by illegal means, but they will care if you use an illegal license. This situation has been brought to court before, and the defending party lost. Yes, I'll agree that you're not doing anything morally "wrong", but it's still illegal.

Second - take a white label and write the key (and OS version) on it. Now stick this in an intelligent place where it can't get smudged off. Inside the battery compartment on some laptops is a good bet, or for your desktop on the inside of the case door (keeps things looking pretty from the outside, but you'll never lose the sticker).


As a last point to try to wean some of you away from the archaic XP-era... The Win7 installation discs are far easier to keep track of. There's one disc for 32-bit architectures, and one disc for 64-bit architectures. Need Win7 Pro? Pop in the disc. Need Win7 Home Premium on a different system? Take the same disc and put it in. I've got two ISOs for Win7, but I've got 7 different ISOs for XP. That alone makes my life easier (not to mention that Win7 is miles ahead of XP).

If you've purchased a specific copy of Win7, follow these instructions to make your disc universal.

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Post by andyb » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:00 am

This situation has been brought to court before, and the defending party lost. Yes, I'll agree that you're not doing anything morally "wrong", but it's still illegal.
That is true, but I for one would not want to even ask my customer to sort out this mess themselves (knowing full well that they wont be able to, "pillar" and "post" springs to mind), so the only "legal" way according to MS would be to buy some new print (licence).

Here is a pretty terrible picture, but you get the idea, even the version of windows has rubbed off, MS would get taken to the cleanersx if they took someone to court because of this. As far as I am concerned, this is no different from having a £50 note and having all of the security features "rub off", its still a £50 note but its worth nothing, its totally useless and no one will swap it for a usable £50 note.

Image

I can almost hear the laughter of everony who is looking at this picture.

This is what it should look like.

http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell/stat ... _pc_lg.gif

I should be able to replace this pic with a better one tomorrow BTW.


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Post by danimal » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:24 am

fwiw, there is free software on the 'net that will extract the windows oem license files, and re-install 'em on a new oem windows install... this trick only works for oem, from the restore disks(??)

so if the machine is running when it comes into the shop, you can extract the license files before working on it... there is also the magic jellybean finder, which you can use to see the actual windows license number on a running pc, although i'm not sure that it works for oem installs.

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Post by andyb » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:44 am

fwiw, there is free software on the 'net that will extract the windows oem license files, and re-install 'em on a new oem windows install... this trick only works for oem, from the restore disks(??)

so if the machine is running when it comes into the shop, you can extract the license files before working on it... there is also the magic jellybean finder, which you can use to see the actual windows license number on a running pc, although i'm not sure that it works for oem installs.
Thanks, been using Jellybean etc for years, but the HDD died - badly.

v2.01 of Jellybean was the last one to work properly (i.e. allow you to change the serial code), but that didnt ever work with vista, MS actually have one of their own which works just fine, and also its dead easy to do if your imaging, you juct click the "change product key button" and continue with the phone activation.


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Post by xan_user » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:05 pm

Some of the eeepc users have found that their key on the bottom sticker doesn't even match the image ASUS installed...

How does one legally proceed if the oem is installing the os with the wrong key?

We shouldn't have to hire lawyers to prove we own what we bought. And we sure as hell shouldn't have to authenticate our install every time WMP gets upgraded. or a new SP comes out.

Regardless of cost its just way easier to cheat than pay to play by their twisted rules, while M$ continues steeling code from hard working independent programmers.

Its so much more efficient to tweak the registry to install an upgrade W7 install disc on a new drive, then fallow the legal way of first finding my xp disc and installing that, so I can comply with their 'rulez', while M$ continues to regularly ignore common copyright laws.

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Post by andyb » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:13 pm

Some of the eeepc users have found that their key on the bottom sticker doesn't even match the image ASUS installed...
I have found that many times, OEM's have the ability to legally ship thousands of machines with the same key, but you wont be able to use it, and you wont be able to re-install that machine with the key that it had when you bought it. Your only legal and usable key is the one on the sticker and very often not the one that Jellybean found.

I image machines at work as often as the images work, I then simply change the licence to the correct one on the label and activate it. This is pretty much what the OEM's do, but somehow they do it without needing activation, and with a key shared with thousands of other machines.


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Post by Michael Sandstrom » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:31 pm

I do not have the link but Microsoft has posted a procedure for reinstalling Windows with the manufacturer's OEM key instead of the key on the COA attached to the case. My Digital Life Forum threads are also informative.

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Post by xan_user » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:46 pm

Michael Sandstrom wrote:I do not have the link but Microsoft has posted a procedure for reinstalling Windows with the manufacturer's OEM key instead of the key on the COA attached to the case. My Digital Life Forum threads are also informative.
Why is it our job to track this down?

What are we paying them for anyways?

Why am I breaking the EULA if I use xp without a phone or internet?

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Post by alleycat » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:02 pm

xan_user wrote:Why is it our job to track this down?

What are we paying them for anyways?
I agree. Not only has Microsoft stolen code and ideas, they steal our time with their bullshit, as well as the countless hours all of us have spent helping others understand confusing, flaky, poorly documented/implemented features. We all work for Microsoft; we just don't get paid. It's Microsoft who's getting the free ride.

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Post by atmartens » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:30 pm

I argue that the morally correct choice is to stop using Microsoft products rather than pirate. You don't have to use their software, you know. Is ditching Microsoft the most convenient choice? Probably not. But it's legal and frees you from these issues in the first place.

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Post by xan_user » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:18 pm

atmartens wrote:I argue that the morally correct choice is to stop using Microsoft products rather than pirate. You don't have to use their software, you know. Is ditching Microsoft the most convenient choice? Probably not. But it's legal and frees you from these issues in the first place.
What are we supposed to do, write our own software if our jobs require us to use software for M$?
If I use only open source I loose my job.
Are you going to find me a new job that uses only open source stuff? -sign me up!


Unfortunately for me, in a round about way M$ feeds my kids, and put a roof over our heads... but that doesn't mean I cant complain about the hoops im supposed to jump through just to be a legal user.

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Post by andyb » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:55 am

Here is a high res pic of the label without glare, its massive so I have just put in the thumbnail, click on it for the high-res one (warning 3.3MB).

Image


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Post by xan_user » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:00 am

I wonder how much M$ spends on those fancy stickers, to ultimately fail with cheap ink?

Sadly I find it really hard to believe its actually not done on purpose.

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Post by andyb » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:13 am

MS are incompetent on so many levels, that its a toss-up between deliberately being bastards and incompetently being bastards, either way we know what they are, Bastards.


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Post by Fayd » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:45 am

andyb wrote:MS are incompetent on so many levels, that its a toss-up between deliberately being bastards and incompetently being bastards, either way we know what they are, Bastards.


Andy
they're a company. i find it hard to call them incompetent when they're the undisputed market leader in OS's, and productivity software.

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Post by andyb » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:07 pm

i find it hard to call them incompetent when they're the undisputed market leader in OS's, and productivity software.
Apart from the fact that this is far off topic, a couple of points: define undisputed.? Define Market Leader in OS's, and what the hell is "productivity" software.? If you want to modify photos, or design websites, MS software is very far from "productive".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity

You mean "commonly used office software", fortunately I dont use any "commonly used office software" much at all, and its a toss-up for me between Open Office and MS Office 2003, I have both installed on my work PC.

On a side note, look up the reasons "why" MS are the "leaders" in the PC market for such software and tell me why they are special apart from the theft of IP, bribes, backhands, ruthless and illegal business practices, because I would love to know what else makes them "special" that any other company that were in their position and got away with what they have done could not have done - MS are not special at all, I would call them privileged and luck, but not special.


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Post by Nick Geraedts » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:16 pm

alleycat wrote:Not only has Microsoft stolen code and ideas, they steal our time with their bullshit, as well as the countless hours all of us have spent helping others understand confusing, flaky, poorly documented/implemented features.
That's funny. I've spent less time helping friends, family and clients sort out issues with Vista (post SP1) and Win7 than I did with XP. You seem to forget, Windows XP is an operating system that has had 9 years to sort out the kinks and the bugs, and it's still fundamentally less secure than Vista or Windows7.
andyb wrote:Apart from the fact that this is far off topic, a couple of points: define undisputed.? Define Market Leader in OS's, and what the hell is "productivity" software.? If you want to modify photos, or design websites, MS software is very far from "productive".
For the products that Microsoft specializes in (operating systems, office suites, and databases), yes, Microsoft is the undisputed leader in those fields. Want a definition? Market share. Windows operating systems hold a strong majority of market share today. What document creating and editing suite is the standard in workplaces today? Microsoft Office. Which database platform has been proven to provide some of the best performance and lowest overall operating cost? Microsoft SQL Server. For further "proof" that Microsoft has been "doing it right" when it comes to their products - in the first year of sales, Windows7 has already surpassed ALL non-Windows operating systems in market share. Now, you can draw whatever conclusions you want, but 10% of all computers is a lot of people. How much negative press have you seen regarding Windows7 compared to what was out regarding Vista and XP?

Actually, when it comes to designing ASP.NET websites, Visual Studio does quite a nice job as a development environment. You're starting to see a shift away from PHP towards ASP.NET in terms of what sites run on. This is because of two things - faster development times and better server performance.

andyb wrote:On a side note, look up the reasons "why" MS are the "leaders" in the PC market for such software and tell me why they are special apart from the theft of IP, bribes, backhands, ruthless and illegal business practices, because I would love to know what else makes them "special" that any other company that were in their position and got away with what they have done could not have done - MS are not special at all, I would call them privileged and luck, but not special.
You've thrown out quite a few harsh accusations there, but not much proof. Yes, there was the recent case regarding the XML format used in Office 2007, but that was not theft of IP - that was both parties doing the same thing, but the Ontario company having the patent on it first. Another thing that makes them special? Their response to security issues.

Report: Microsoft fastest to issue OS patches


For the record, there have been several ideas that Microsoft came up with first, but Apple "stole" and put to market before MS could. Example? Windows Desktop Search, which first appeared in Vista. This was demonstrated at a Microsoft Developers conference in 2002. Apple managed to get this into OSX before Vista was released. Now what do the uninformed people of the world think? Microsoft copied Apple, which is completely backwards. Did you guys ever see the "Windows XP Clone" version of Linux? It's ubuntu (I think) under the hood, but it's skinned to be almost identical to WindowsXP. Now who's "stealing ideas?"

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Post by Fayd » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:17 pm

andyb wrote:
i find it hard to call them incompetent when they're the undisputed market leader in OS's, and productivity software.
Apart from the fact that this is far off topic, a couple of points: define undisputed.? Define Market Leader in OS's, and what the hell is "productivity" software.? If you want to modify photos, or design websites, MS software is very far from "productive".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity

You mean "commonly used office software", fortunately I dont use any "commonly used office software" much at all, and its a toss-up for me between Open Office and MS Office 2003, I have both installed on my work PC.

On a side note, look up the reasons "why" MS are the "leaders" in the PC market for such software and tell me why they are special apart from the theft of IP, bribes, backhands, ruthless and illegal business practices, because I would love to know what else makes them "special" that any other company that were in their position and got away with what they have done could not have done - MS are not special at all, I would call them privileged and luck, but not special.


Andy
it works. they're not incompetent. the point of a business is to make money, and they do exceptionally well at it. whining on a forum about them doesnt change the fact that MS rakes in billions due to their software and manipulation of the market.

i'll amend my previous statement. they're the market leader in desktop OS's. mac doesnt have games written for it, nor does linux. wine is nice, but native support is better.

productivity software is just as you described. commonly used office programs. if you dont use them, then isnt that nice. noone cares.

undisputed = when you've captured 70+ % of the market share, then yeah, you're pretty much undisputed market leader. tbh they command monopolistic profits from most markets they're in.

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Post by andyb » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:25 pm

For the products that Microsoft specializes in (operating systems, office suites, and databases), yes, Microsoft is the undisputed leader in those fields. Want a definition? Market share. Windows operating systems hold a strong majority of market share today. What document creating and editing suite is the standard in workplaces today? Microsoft Office.
All you have to do is look at how MS gained that market share to start with, then forced others out of the market by clever and often illegal means. And when it comes to MS office, they are using exaclty the same tactics as other companies are now using, give it away for free to all of the education market, that way everyone who learns it at school will know how to use it at work, what does work buy, what people know. This is exactly why Apple still has a market share at all, everyone in its small enclosed markets all learnet on Apple, and get work where everyone uses Apple, breaking into that market is now very difficult for the entire PC industry, in exactly the same way that breaking MS's share of the "Office Suite" market is so tough.
Which database platform has been proven to provide some of the best performance and lowest overall operating cost? Microsoft SQL Server.
I have little to add personally as I have little to do with website design or databes in their construction except: My colleauge who does all of that stuff uses MySQL, PHP, and wont touch most MS databases with a long pole for a very long list of reasons (most of which I didnt listen too).
For further "proof" that Microsoft has been "doing it right" when it comes to their products - in the first year of sales, Windows7 has already surpassed ALL non-Windows operating systems in market share. Now, you can draw whatever conclusions you want, but 10% of all computers is a lot of people. How much negative press have you seen regarding Windows7 compared to what was out regarding Vista and XP?
What can I say, I expected just that. If I had not have expected that I would have been crazy, or simply not understood the market at all. Its still a fast growing market, Vista was totally shit, loads of people were hanging on to XP (a 9-year old OS), what else was going to happen.? Some conspiracy theorists think that MS made Vista so bad just to make W7 look really good that it could not possibly fail, personally I think that was MS simply being incompetent.
Actually, when it comes to designing ASP.NET websites, Visual Studio does quite a nice job as a development environment. You're starting to see a shift away from PHP towards ASP.NET in terms of what sites run on. This is because of two things - faster development times and better server performance.
I will have to take your word on that.
You've thrown out quite a few harsh accusations there, but not much proof. Yes, there was the recent case regarding the XML format used in Office 2007, but that was not theft of IP - that was both parties doing the same thing, but the Ontario company having the patent on it first.
The whole XML format thing pretty much passed me by as I simply dont care, I open XML formatted stuff from time to time thats it. But MS have a very long list of bad things they have done "in the name of business", not to say that other companies are clean. The bribery that I mentioned - giving free software to Schools and Colleges and their tutors, to gain market share may or may not be illegal, but it was done for an obvious purpose. Backhanders are also obvious, giving huge amounts of free stuff to companies to sell their software. Bundling free software such as IE with their OS to destroy the competition. The list goes on and on, and wont be difficult to find and research if you want to look further.
Another thing that makes them special? Their response to security issues.
Please tell me you are joking.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/new ... law-months
Report: Microsoft fastest to issue OS patches
You only need to look at the first few hits to get the picture, no doubt the picture that we will see will be different, but I cant help to think about backhanders and a much sweeter picture told by an ally than an enemy. Not that I often patch windows, every 6-months or so I might possibly add a patch to my 9-year old OS, the last one being for the Konficker virus.

http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&source=h ... 6001627c7b
For the record, there have been several ideas that Microsoft came up with first, but Apple "stole" and put to market before MS could. Example? Windows Desktop Search, which first appeared in Vista. This was demonstrated at a Microsoft Developers conference in 2002. Apple managed to get this into OSX before Vista was released. Now what do the uninformed people of the world think? Microsoft copied Apple, which is completely backwards. Did you guys ever see the "Windows XP Clone" version of Linux? It's ubuntu (I think) under the hood, but it's skinned to be almost identical to WindowsXP. Now who's "stealing ideas?"
I am not going to argue that MS has stolen "every" idea, or that anyone else has stolen "all" of MS's ideas, idea theft in-itself gets you into the realm of IP, in which I dont even want to discuss. MS has come up with plenty of ideas on its own, but thats not to say that it has never used ideas from other companies, and specifically when it has used some of the other underhand tactics alongside other companies "ideas" to thwart and destroy the other companies.

I cant say that I like MS as a company, they are better than many though, but the simple fact that they dominate to such a degree makes them very easy to dislike when alternatives are not as easy to come by. I frequently meet people who have trouble getting to grips with the concept that IE has been totally destroyed on their PC and they now have to use Firebat, or was it Fivefox, and then ask the question "how will I use the internet".?. Others sometimes dont even notice for days when they find themselves using OpenOffice instead of MS Office, they think they simply have the "new" version - its a funny old world.


Andy
Main PC, P180, CM Silent Pro 500M, i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz, 8-GB @ 2,400MHz, 512GB 850 EVO, 500 Extreme II, 2x 2.5" drives, MSI 660Ti Twin Frozr.
Server, under reconstruction, 380W Enermax Pro82+, positive pressure only.

atmartens
Posts: 80
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:52 pm
Location: Baltimore, USA

Post by atmartens » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:04 pm

What are we supposed to do, write our own software if our jobs require us to use software for M$?
If I use only open source I loose my job.
Are you going to find me a new job that uses only open source stuff? -sign me up!


Unfortunately for me, in a round about way M$ feeds my kids, and put a roof over our heads... but that doesn't mean I cant complain about the hoops im supposed to jump through just to be a legal user.
If you need the OS for your job, I'd expect that your employer would provide you with the necessary software. If not, I'm sorry that you have a terrible job.

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