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Microsoft sheds a little more light on its WGA iniative

A recent blog by Ed Bott over at ZDNET has brought even more attention to Microsoft's Windows Genuine Authentication (WGA) which has been coming under increasing scrutiny and has even been the subject of a lawsuit. Computerworld and Ed Bott have been trying to get to the bottom of the whole WGA mystery and some of the issues being brought to the forefront are quite interesting.

Microsoft’s WGA utility, which is used on the Windows XP operating system to combat piracy, has been used in the past to validate OS installs so that users could download certain system updates as well as downloads like Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta and Windows Media Player 11. But while Microsoft sees WGA as a major ally in the fight against pirates, the utility has been pegging some innocent customers as having pirated copies of Windows XP. "80% of all WGA validation failures are due to unauthorized use of leaked or stolen volume license keys," said a Microsoft spokeswoman to Computerworld.

Ed Bott, not satisfied with this response from Microsoft, fired off his own inquiry into the reason for a 20% false positive rating for WGA and received this response from Cori Hartje, Director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, "While we will don't have specifics to share on other forms counterfeit installations, they mostly result from activities such as various forms of tampering and unauthorized OEM installations."

It'd be nice if Microsoft would go into more detail on that other 20%, but that likely won't happen anytime soon. Microsoft is no longer accepting interviews on the WGA matter -- possibly due to the pending lawsuit.

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RE: ok
By masher2 on 7/6/2006 11:36:08 AM , Rating: 3
> "Now, according to you, all those soldiers had a choice..."

You're making one of the most basic mistakes in ethical theory-- confusing coercion with the indirect negative effects of choice.

Example. A company states, "work for us or we kill you". That's slavery. A company states, "work for us or we don't pay you". That's freedom...even if their failing to pay you means you starve to death.

Freedom does not imply you are free to make any choices you wish without negative consequences. If you choose to jump off a cliff-- you will die. If you choose not earn a living-- you will experience economic hardship. If you choose not to use Microsoft products-- you will have limited opportunity in the IT industry. Your freedom of choice still exists. You are not being coerced in any of these three cases...except by your own common sense desire to avoid the consequences of your actions.

Honestly, freedom really isn't that complex a subject. Why not try to understand it? You might find you like it.

RE: ok
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 8:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
Being given any choice at all is freedom ("Give me liberty, or give me death!"), but while contracts, anti-competitive practices, and slavery, still incorperates a degree of freedom...

Just use common sense.

If it gets bad enough though, tell common sense to take a hike and grab a weapon.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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