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Why Microsoft will continue to have piracy concerns

Little things usually cause people to make very drastic decisions, sometimes not because they want to, but mainly because they are driven by disgust. Take my experience with Windows Vista for instance. I just got a new computer that came preloaded with Windows Vista 64-bit Home Edition “Premium”. So far, so good. Of course, since the computer came with no productivity software, I had to shell out a few hundred bucks to buy those and install them. As a consultant, you have to know what you are supporting, so the Windows platform is a necessity especially since many business environments have the “Home” edition of Microsoft’s Operating System. I have been using Linux as my main desktop for some time now, and I recently installed Linux Mint 64-bit with OpenOffice 3, Evolution Mail, and about 75 other pieces of software for CRM, project management, network penetration testing, file encryption etc for $0. Naturally, I was probably a little testy with the Operating Sytem than most “regular” users – the ill-advised decision to remove the ability to disable your network adapter with a single right-click, for example, or the contant request for validation even to do relatively minor things.But the one that stumped me the most was the decision by Microsoft to remove Remote Desktop capability from this “premium” product. The ability to join a domain is crippled as well. We each have our own reasons for buying a product: for some it is the ease of use, others prefer the speed of the OS, while some value the security provided by the systtem. For me, ease of use is a major factor. How quickly can I get something done without digging through tons of support articles. In this case, RDP is a necessity because of the nature of my work. It is even more so if you are going to slap a “premium” label on the product! The most basic Linux desktop OS and the Mac OS X series have Remote Desktop capabilities to and from a computer installed, or available if one should need it!! RDP allows you to connect to multiple computers from one location so you do not have to be running up and down the stairs or dashing from office to office just to check on a process running on one computer. The alternative is to go out and buy the “Business” or “Ultimate” versions of Vista (a glorified XP Pro SP3 if you ask me) and many cannot afford to fork over another $200-300 to “upgrade”. So what do they do? I have had to install a lot of Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and OpenSUSE desktops in recent months because of broken Windows computers. It does not have to be this way. There is absolutely no reason why Microsoft should be crippling software just to make an extra dollar. Many home-based businesses can only afford the “home” edition of the Operating system since they are just starting out and it is what mainly come with new computers these days. RDP is not something a lot of people may be interested in, so why not leave it in so those users who need it can enable it when needed? The end result is a lot of people getting upset and end up looking for alternatives through the pirating of software they can not afford. Another unintended consequence is that a lot of people are honing their programming skills just to bypass the unnecessary restrictions placed by the company on their Operating System. A quick search for “Vista Home Premium and RDP”, or “Vista Home Premium 64-bit and Remote Desktop” showed that there are a lot of upset people out there and they are doing something about it. This leaves the door open for individuals with malicious intent to write code that may end up as trojan horses or viruses on the computers they are installed in. Microsoft has produced some very good software that I will recommend any day – ISA Server, for example, is still one of the best piece of software Microsoft ever produced in my opinion, and I am becoming a fan of SBS 2008. But there are some decisions they make that just make you wonder.

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