EULA what?

EULA, a word I never heard before and a meaning I’ll never understand. I’m talking XP here.

Five years ago I bought a brand new Acer laptop. Being unaware then I switched from my old Mac system 8.5 to windows XP that came with the laptop. XP made it possible for me to work ad home and use corporate software, so the transition in OSses had its benefits. Until the laptop broke down after five years.

Around the Fedora 10 era — the beginning of 2009 for normal human beings — I made the big step to Linux. The XP was only second boot option as mentioned in one of my earlier posts. Now the laptop is dead and I’d like to reuse XP on a different machine, preferably in a virtual environment. Unfortunately I only had the official OEM recovery CD which has some limitations.

First it has no .iso file on it for the OS so it is impossible to install XP in a new virtual setting.

Second the recovery CD is somehow for restricted use on that particular laptop only. Any other computer is unable to use it.

Third, there is something absurd like the EULA which explicitly declares that ‘the software’ may only be used on ‘the hardware’. In normal human language: this particular copy of XP may only be used on the Acer laptop with serial number LXA86xxxxxEEM00.

Being deliberately naive I sent emails to Acer and Microsoft explaining my problem and asking for an .iso copy of XP. After all I paid for my copy of XP that came with the laptop. The guys at Acer didn’t quite understand my question and replied I could get a new recovery CD for €60. That was not what I asked for and besides I already had a recovery CD. Microsoft came with a more clear answer: it was not allowed to install the pre installed OEM version on a different computer. Indeed, that is what the EULA told me, I’m NOT ALLOWED. So far my attempts to recycle some software I paid for.

The EULA on XP is a strange thing. It feels like wrecking my car and losing my drivers license altogether.

Does anyone wonder? Does anyone make complaints because they have to buy the software to get the machine running without being allowed to reuse the operating system? Does anyone make complaints because they have to buy the very same software again to run a new machine? Does anyone complain because they cannot buy a new computer without?

I do!

And that is why I write this post. I think this policy is absurd! I think the EULA is not about protecting software copyrights but about making large sums of money. People have to pay over and over again for something they already bought. Every computer our employers replace costs an extra 50 to 100 bucks on useless not reusable software. How many employers does your company have? Because I don’t stop wondering I became and will remain advocate for the use of Free Software. Be free, switch to Linux!

I wonder if some judge or mrs. Neelie Smit Kroes EU Commissioner for Competition knows about the kind of one way agreement large numbers of computer users, governments and companies are bound to…


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