Good news from Microsoft

Avast, ye scurvy dogs! From Good Morning, Silicon Valley

Microsoft on Tuesday officially launched Windows Genuine Advantage, a program designed to temper the widespread counterfeiting of the company’s software by requiring Windows users to verify their operating system’s authenticity. From now on, you must prove you paid Microsoft before downloading updates through Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows content, and the Microsoft Download Center (critical security updates will be available to users with or without WGA validation). Customers who discover they have a counterfeit copy of Windows are eligible for a legitimate copy of the OS at no charge, assuming they’re able to provide Microsoft with a proof of purchase.

Why is this good news? Simply because piracy of the Windows operating system has been one of the factors serving to obscure the real (and exhorbitant) cost of Microsoft-based computing. In most of the poorer parts of the world (and virtually the whole of Asia), people run Windows-based systems on pirated software — which is why they have not yet thought seriously about Open Source (i.e. free) software. After all, Windows has been — to them — ‘free’ software. But all this is going to change as Redmond seeks to claw back its rightful royalties. So at Ndiyo we are delighted by this turn of events. More power to Mr Gates’s anti-piracy elbow.

Update:: it was cracked within 24 hours. Sigh. Thanks to Bill T for the news, though.