Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (3637 mails)

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Re: [SLE] [OT] More info about Windows XP's new Activation scheme
  • From: "Harold !" <ambrosius1972@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 05:18:48 -0500
  • Message-id: <F197YUmwO9suAkWORuX000070ad@xxxxxxxxxxx>

Where do I get my "I was running Linux BEFORE Windoze XP!" Bumper stickers and t-shirts?


From: Steven Hatfield <ashari@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: ashari@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: wilson@xxxxxxxxxxx (Jonathan Wilson), suse-linux-e@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [SLE] [OT] More info about Windows XP's new Activation scheme
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 15:45:42 -0400
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From suse-linux-e-return-58620-ambrosius1972 Fri May 25 12:48:31 2001
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Yes! This has been what I've been waiting for... a foolproof
copyright/activation system. The crackers will have a VERY hard time breaking
this.. it's not simply a "here's the key" deal!

Now, when people realize that they actually have to PAY for their OS, they'll
start looking for "free" alternatives... I bet you that we will see a HUGE
insurgance of newbies maybe 1 year after WinXP comes out.

Why one year? Because it'll be at that point that people start feeling really
"left behind" by windows.. .Microsoft isn't going to release a lot of the new
software that will work on anything other than WinXP.. so they'll feel very
left behind and they will be forced to either pay up or look somewhere else.

Mark my words -- look for a TON of new users between Oct 25, 2001 and Dec 31,
2002... a TON.

Laters all,

On Friday 25 May 2001 03:48 pm, Jonathan Wilson wrote:
> Sorry I don't have the URL this came from.
> >Windows Product Activation: More Details
> >In last month's Windows 2000 Magazine UPDATE Special Edition, I
> >explained what I knew about the new Windows Product Activation feature
> >built into Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and the
> >various flavors of Windows 2002 Server. (In case you missed the
> >fanfare--Microsoft has revealed the product name of what we've been
> >calling "Whistler Server"--Windows 2002 Server.) Many of you--hundreds
> >of you--responded with interesting and helpful insights. A particularly
> >interesting response came from one of the Microsoft folks working on
> >product activation, Allen Nieman. Nieman is a product manager in the
> >Licensing Technologies group. He was kind enough to spend about an hour
> >and a half with me on the phone to fill in more details about how
> >product activation works, and I can't thank him enough for his help.
> >Because I didn't have all of the information about the Windows
> >activation process last month, I had to speculate a bit, so this month
> >I'll pass along what he told me.
> >I'll begin with more specifics about what product activation does. When
> >you install a product that requires activation, it asks that you
> >activate it within 30 days (or that's what the final product will do;
> >it's 14 days in the beta). During the activation process, the OS
> >inventories your hardware and summarizes it as a single 50-digit string.
> >The hash is, I'm told, a one-way function, meaning that although a
> >particular set of hardware will generate a particular set of digits,
> >reversing it isn't easy, so merely knowing the 50 digits about your
> >system wouldn't tell me what size and type of hard disk you owned. But
> >do you believe that's all that Microsoft is gathering? A capture of the
> >transaction shows that a very small amount of data going over the wire
> >to Microsoft, so it doesn't look as if Bill is uploading your
> >portfolio.
> >Additionally, you can choose to activate your OS by calling Microsoft
> >and reading the 50-digit number to a carbon-based life form (rather than
> >sending it to a silicon-based server). The recipient will then read a
> >42-digit number to you, which you key in to complete your activation.
> >Unfortunately, that's a one-time-only 42-digit value; should you need to
> >reinstall the OS on that system, you must call Microsoft to get another
> >code.
> >As I explained last month, a Microsoft server then stores your 50-digit
> >code and your product key in a database. If someone tries to activate a
> >different machine using your product key, the database will see that
> >someone's tried to install the same copy of the OS on two different
> >machines and will refuse to authorize the activation. Additionally,
> >every time you boot that system, the system recomputes the 50-digit
> >value and, if it's too different from the one used to activate the
> >system in the first place, the OS will demand that you once more connect
> >to the Internet to reactivate your copy. Small hardware changes won't
> >require reactivation. If, however, you lend your neighbor your Windows
> >XP CD-ROM and product key and he installs it on his system and tries to
> >activate it, the Microsoft server will see a radically different set of
> >hardware trying to activate an already activated copy of Windows XP, and
> >will tell your neighbor's system not to activate itself.
> >But how much hardware difference is "too much"? Nieman wouldn't say
> >because (1) Microsoft hasn't finished Windows XP yet, so anything he'd
> >say might change, and (2) he didn't want to make life easier for
> >pirates. A reasonable answer, but I argued that a determined bunch of
> >people with a closet full of hardware and a day or two to play around
> >could (and would) soon figure that out, so why not just release the
> >information anyway? He demurred, but told me to stay tuned, because
> >Microsoft might publish that information come shipping time anyway.
> >But what about when I buy a new machine, FDISK the old one, and put my
> >copy of Windows XP on it--won't Microsoft refuse to activate Windows XP
> >on that new system, thinking that I'm already running it on my old
> >system? No, Nieman said--Microsoft will trust you and approve activating
> >Windows XP on the new system, deactivating it on the old.
> >Rampant piracy among American small businesses and home users motivates
> >the whole approach, according to Nieman. Microsoft believes that on the
> >average, those folks use four copies of a given piece of software but
> >pay for only one. (The company reckons the ratio outside of the United
> >States to be even higher.) Microsoft acquired those numbers from the
> >Business Software Alliance (BSA--see the URL listed at the end of the
> >column), an organization that finds and fines software pirates. I've
> >never seen the methodology that led the BSA to those numbers (which have
> >been floating around for some time), and I personally don't believe
> >them. That 75 percent of the small office/home office (SOHO) software is
> >pirated seems a bit farfetched and, I think, insulting. And if Microsoft
> >truly believes that its home users--you know, the evening and weekend
> >versions of the people who use its commercial products by day--are
> >stealing 75 percent of the Microsoft products they use, that degree of
> >piracy would be pretty important news to Microsoft's stockholders,
> >wouldn't you think? "Here at Microsoft, we have great products, but
> >before you invest, you really ought to know that three out of four
> >people who use our products don't actually pay for them." Shouldn't that
> >information be in the company's annual report or Securities and Exchange
> >Commission (SEC) filings?
> >Actually, beyond what you or I think, it's a matter of law: If Microsoft
> >believes in those piracy figures, the company must disclose that
> >information in its SEC filings. But other than one vague reference to
> >piracy in its 10-K filing for 2000, Microsoft is silent about piracy--no
> >numbers, percentages, or damages to the bottom line are cited.
> >No, I'm not suggesting that Microsoft's in violation of investment
> >regulations for not writing "The Prospectus of Penzance"--because I
> >believe that the four-to-one ratio is no more than an exaggeration that
> >provides a convenient bit of self-justification for some industry
> >pundits. But we are talking legal issues here. After all, I pay for all
> >of my software because the law tells me to, not necessarily because I
> >want to. And if the irritation of activation will become part of my life
> >because of a wave of piracy of that supposed magnitude, surely Microsoft
> >should alert its investors to that piracy, by law.
> >And thinking about finances led to another question: What happens if
> >Microsoft goes out of business? No one could activate copies of Windows
> >XP. If Microsoft disappeared, so would your ability to use its software
> >during the inevitable reinstalls. And no, I don't think Microsoft is
> >going belly-up any time soon (unless it keeps up this product activation
> >stuff), but Nieman said that he hoped that this product-activation
> >approach would turn out to be an effective way to protect software
> >companies of all kinds, including many not as sturdy as Microsoft. I'd
> >hate to think that if Intuit disappeared, all of a sudden I wouldn't be
> >able to get to my checkbook or portfolio information!
> >Despite the many other things to consider, I'm about out of space. I
> >don't want to sign off, however, without answering a frequent reader
> >question generated by last month's column. I explained last month that
> >product activation wouldn't apply to those using Open, Select, or
> >Enterprise copies, but many of you disagreed, telling me that your Open,
> >Select, or Enterprise Beta 2 copies require it. According to Microsoft,
> >that's an issue with the beta only. Nieman said that the final copies of
> >Windows XP and Windows Server 2002 won't require activation--so scripts,
> >Ghost, Remote Installation Services (RIS), and the other rollout tools
> >that we know and love will work without a hitch in Windows NT's latest
> >incarnation. And when asked whether Windows XP would target SOHOs as a
> >preparatory step to visiting the activation process on bigger customers
> >next time, Nieman STRONGLY maintained that Microsoft had no intention of
> >doing that. The company feels that it has the piracy issues pretty much
> >under control in large organizations.
> >I repeat in closing that I fully agree that Microsoft has a right to
> >defend its copyrighted works; and I hope that the company will continue
> >to do so. But placing a burden of annoyance on its existing customers
> >seems unreasonable, particularly when the only reason that Microsoft can
> >impose product activation is its pre-eminence in the market. As I said
> >last month, could Microsoft have made such a move when Windows 3.1 came
> >out? Sure. But we'd have all bought OS/2 instead. And that's the point:
> >when you've got competition, then you can do a lot of things that you
> >CAN'T--or at least shouldn't--do once you're a monopoly.
> >
> >Mark Minasi
> >Senior Contributing Editor, Windows 2000 Magazine
> >help@xxxxxxxxxx
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Jonathan Wilson
> System Administrator
> Cedar Creek Software
> Central Texas IT

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