anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Monday, July 24, 2006


I was reading an article which was a retort to other articles stating JEE 5 has no future because it is now too complex, and it occurred to me (yet again) that nearly every technology I use has some sort of FUD comments made about it.

FUD is of course rumours or stories that spread fear, uncertainty and doubt used to stop non-technical users specifically businesses from changing from a well know business i.e. IBM to an cheaper newer alternative competitor.

Good examples include:
1. The IBM and SCO case
In this case SCO claimed that Linux kernel contained some of it's Unix code and filed a court case against IBM in March 2003 for patent breaches. Going after IBM threatened the smaller Linux distributions such as Red Hat and SuSE, and made some larger companies either give SCO money so they had compliant licenses e.g. Sun Microsystems or not use a linux distribution. However in a twist to the story Novell was suppose to have sold the Unix rights to SCO which SCO is suing IBM over. Novell deny doing this and actually own some Linux distributions themselves such as SuSE which are suppose to contain the infringing code. The main problem with the lawsuit is that SCO refuses to identify which parts of the Unix code that IBM copied preventing IBM defending itself, and Linux kernel developers changing the kernel so it doesn't infringe any patents. Due to SCO's refuse a judge earlier this month dismissed lots of the claims that SCO has made. The story is a case of FUD because SCO claims are not out in the open and it keeps changing the claims.

2. Comparing Linux Servers against Windows Servers
Every now and again a report comes out stating that Windows Servers are easier to adminstrate. The majority of the reports are done by companies that are paid for the report by Microsoft, and the reports don't give out key information such as the timeframe of the study, the qualifications of the linux administrators, the actual software installed on the servers. One analyst of such a report has been done by Paul Murphy in his blog. Unfortuantely the business managers who read such reports don't understand these issues and all they see is that Windows is more stable and cheaper to use when in fact in many cases it is the opposite unless you need specific Microsoft products.

3. Windows Genuine Advantage
This tool was released by Microsoft for Windows XP in March 2006 with a fanfare in the media. On the Microsoft site it claims that:

"Validation takes only a few moments, and enables Microsoft to create a match between your PC's hardware profile and your 25-character Product Key (located on the Certificate of Authenticity), which Microsoft stores and checks against future activation and validation attempts. We do this to ensure that your Product Key is not used by another person in a malicious manner, such as activating a counterfeit or non-genuine copy of Windows."

However there are a few issues with the tool that occured to me which is why I haven't installed it-
1. If I change or alter my hardware configuration that means my Windows XP license is not valid.
2. The site states it doesn't collect my name or email address yet nearly all software licenses are linked to a name/company name and email address. Therefore what does Microsoft do with my personal data?? In the UK I know what laws govern the use of personal data but as Microsoft is in a different country they are governed by different laws.

Since then I discovered news articles that indicate lots of people are having problems with the update. These include:
a. Being told a legitimate copy of Windows XP is pirated.
b. Not being told the full use of the software so it is in fact spyware as it is not being installed with the users consent.
c. The computer connecting to the Microsoft servers either on rebooting or every few days without being told this would happen.
d. Not being able to remove the tool while all other updates have a can be removed.

However the funny thing is there are lots of work arounds for those who have in fact got a pirated copy of Windows XP like this one.

Technorati Tags: FUD, linux, IBM, Microsoft, SCO, Windows Genuine Advantage


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