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Virtual Windows Vista users will have to pay for the high-end OS

With the release of Windows Vista on Tuesday, the final end-user licensing agreement (EULA) is reaching the eyes of the masses – for those who actually care to read through it instead of blindly clicking “next.”

One particular clause found in specific versions of Windows Vista is catching the attention of many Mac users, particularly those using Parallels Desktop software, which allows Mac users to run the new Windows OS on their systems. The Parallels Virtualization blog found that only the higher-end versions of Vista permit the use of virtualization software.

The EULA for Vista Home Basic and Home Premium Editions is quite clear in its stance on virtualization:

“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.”

On the other hand, the EULA for Vista Business and Ultimate Editions allows virtualization, but with some boundaries:

“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.”

For most Wintel PC users, the limitations set forth in the EULA for the Home versions of Windows Vista are meaningless. But for Mac and Linux users, the restriction to the top tier Windows Vista SKUs means a greater investment is required to virtually run the new OS. Microsoft believes that the main users of virtualization technology are businesses who can afford the added cost.

“Most customers using this technology are primarily business users addressing application compatibility needs, or technology enthusiasts,” said a Microsoft spokesperson to MacCentral. “So virtualization will be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business SKUs. Home users have rarely requested virtualization and so it will not be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium SKUs.”

Update 2/1/2007: Contrary to what we heard from Microsoft spokespeople, apparently the interpretation of the EULA posted above doesn’t present the whole picture of the license. As detailed in the Windows Server Division Weblog, the limitations to the Vista Home editions stems from restrictions to multiple installations. The mere fact that the Business and Ultimate Editions of Vista allow for greater freedom with the number of installations is the reason behind the permission for use in virtualization technologies. Microsoft has yet to offer official clarification on the subject at this time, but that’s the deal with the EULA as we understand it.



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A VM is considered a second computer
By TheBaker on 2/1/2007 7:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's all this is really about. We've known that the EULA said you could only put Vista on one box. All this VM stuff means is you have to buy a separate copy in order to put that copy on a VM. You can't put it on your desktop, then put the same copy on your Mac, just like you can't put it on your desktop and laptop.




By borowki on 2/1/2007 9:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
That's what some people hoped Microsoft means. Alas it isn't the case. A Microsoft spokesperson has plainly said that you cannot use Home Basic/Premium in a virtual machine, period.


"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini











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