Windows 11 & the death of freedom
by Jon Foster
I'm fairly certain that I am shouting into the wind with this article but I just need to shout, even if not heard. A while back I ran into some articles from Micorsoft (M$) developer circles where M$ stated that windows 10 would be their last tradditional desktop OS. I have many questions about how that is going to play out in reality, and I could spend more time reading their hype to find out. But I have little interest in doing so. I suppose I should also link to articles and videos but I don't really have the time to waste on digging them up.
When M$ introduced their "activation" service I immediately thought, "uh oh!" This gave M$ the ability to turn on and off the ability for their OSes to be used based on their desires. How completely they initially implemented such a thing is somewhat irrelevant. The technology and user acceptance was put in place for them to use however they see fit. Go ahead try to pull a copy of windows XP, that you own, from the closet and try to install it. They now make you call in. Some day in the future? They will probably refuse to do so. It makes them more money if they don't allow it.
The activation system was in its infancy with XP so it was only obvious that they would increase the degree of control as things progress. The windows vista that came with my Dell notebook has only seen about a month's use. The only use I have for it is in a VM... M$ says, "NO!" The OS will only activate on the hardware it was purchased with. Really?!?! I didn't even want to buy it but I couldn't get the laptop without it. So I've gotten my 30days of activation free use of vista before the M$ control net slams down. Fortunately I only needed it for one short term project for a client and then they upgraded to an M$ free solution.
Recently many unwise / unsuspecting win7 and 8 users have been forcefully upgraded to win10. Its only obvious that win10 is probably time bombed, in some fashion, to shove people into the M$ "rent your OS" scheme. Should they really have the right to dictate which OS we run and how often we give them money?
So, what's this "rent your OS scheme"? Truth be told I don't know how its going to shake out. My "crystal ball" broke. But its obvious M$ wants a catheter in our wallets so they can periodically draw more cash infusions from its user base. If the operation of your computer is tied to their servers than they are likely going to be charging a periodic fee. I don't think I should have to rent my computer. If I did I would just sign up on a lease program. But the bigger problem is that once M$ makes this work the vast majority of other software vendors are going to follow suit. Already others are making a go of it: Quick Books, Photo Shop, ... These monthly / annual charges are going to stack up like my phone bill. I used to pay $20/month now its closer to $150. This is going to quickly make computing unaffordable for many.
So what has this to do with freedom? If M$ gets away with this then the average user will lose their freedom to use the software they want. M$ will litterlly own your computer and data. They'll be able to hold it for ransom (better make sure your paid up). They'll be able to dictate what software will and won't be allowed to run. And I'm sure they won't say, "no, we won't let that run." They will say something like, "sorry, its simply not compatible." Don't think they'll do that to eliminate competition? Go look for Digital Research, Novell, Netscape, ... The computing landscape is littered with the corporate corpses from their thug business tactics.
On top of that M$ will be able to dictate what hardware you have to have in order to access "your computer" and how often you need to replace it. The potential to squash computing freedom is ginormous!
Thank GOD for Open Source!
What most people don't seem to understand is that software doesn't get old. It won't grow mold. It won't wear out. The media its stored on might. I haven't done extensive testing but magnetic media fades over time, judging by my own floppy collection good media stored properly can take a decade or more to fade. Flash lifespan is reportedly about five years. Even cheasy CDs & DVDs should last 20 to 40 years. As long as the facilities are available to run it and the software is still contained on viable media it will run indefintely.
I could probably go on for ages on this topic... but I need to stop here. Next to the original IBM/M$ deal of the '80s an M$ cloud OS is probably the worst thing that can happen to "personal computing". The first step to a more free and vibrant computing future is to just say, "NO!"
Speaking of which... I just found some 64180s, 9938s, RAM and EPROM chips in my storage. I think I'll go build a computer and install some software from the '70s & '80s. I won't have to ask M$'s permission nor pay their tax!
Blessed computing to you all!