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Re: [SLE] [OT] More info about Windows XP's new Activation scheme
  • From: dieter <dieter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 12:59:52 +0200 (CEST)
  • Message-id: <Pine.BSF.4.31.0105281259080.67939-100000@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Or the "I dumped Windows before it eXPired!" stickers. :)

>From Harold ! to suse-linux-e@xxxxxxxx about Re: [SLE] [OT] More info about...:

>
> Where do I get my "I was running Linux BEFORE Windoze XP!" Bumper stickers
> and t-shirts?
>
> Ambrosius
>
> >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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> >
> >
> >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,
> >Steven
> >
> >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.
> > > >http://www.bsa.org
> > > >Mark Minasi
> > > >Senior Contributing Editor, Windows 2000 Magazine
> > > >help@xxxxxxxxxx
> > >
> > > ----------------------------------------------------
> > > Jonathan Wilson
> > > System Administrator
> > >
> > > Cedar Creek Software http://www.cedarcreeksoftware.com
> > > Central Texas IT http://www.centraltexasit.com
> >
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--
dieter


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