The Vista EULA

Very acute piece by Scott Granneman about the Vista licence agreement. No surprises for those of us who distrust Microsoft, but it ought to be sobering for anyone who does — or who doesn’t care what they are signing up to.

A long time ago, a high school kid who wasn’t that great of a student told the class, after a long discussion about governments and politics, “Well, here’s what I’ve learned: socialism is fair but doesn’t really work, while capitalism isn’t fair but does work mostly.” Not too bad for a 9th grader.

More recently, I had the adults in “Technology in Our Changing Society” read both the Windows XP EULA and the GNU General Public License. When I asked them what they thought, one woman said, “The EULA sounds like it was written by a team of lawyers who want to tell me what I can’t do, and the GPL sounds like it was written by a human being who wants me to know what I can do.” Nice

The next version of Windows is just around the corner, so the next time we discuss software licensing in my course, the EULA for Vista will be front and center. You can read the Microsoft Vista EULA yourself by going to the official Find License Terms for Software Licensed from Microsoft page and searching for Vista. I know many of you have never bothered to read the EULA – who really wants to, after all? – but take a few minutes and get yourself a copy and read it. I’ll wait.

Back? It’s bad, ain’t it? Real bad. I mean, previous EULAs weren’t anything great – either as reading material or in terms of rights granted to end users – but the Vista EULA is horrendous…

He’s right: it is. What’s particularly interesting to me is the way it precludes users from running the two cheapest versions of Vista with virtualisation software like Parallels Desktop.

Longish article. Worth reading in full.