Good Worms, Unfair Licenses, and Much, Much More
We told you this morning that it's been a busy week for Microsoft — so busy, in fact, that we couldn't fit it all in one report. Here's a look at what else has gone on this week in Redmond and beyond.
Starting off the lineup is news from the Vista, where The Empire has had to pull updates intended to prep users for the imminent Vista (Dis)Service Pack 1. Apparently, the patch, which was forced out over the Automatic Update network as usual, prepped some systems for the scrapheap rather than and upgrade — though we're confident one could argue that in Vista-land they're one in the same. Irate customers already affected by the patch were left in the lurch, with Big Evil describing the problems as "small numbers" and "unique circumstances" — obviously a reference to the unique circumstance of anyone thinking Microsoft's software was useful.
Meanwhile, security researchers are up in arms over a recently-discovered Microsoft Research proposal that advocates using computer worms — you know, the self-spawning nasties that infect people's computers in order to spy on them and damage their systems — to spread updates and other "good" software. As if we didn't have enough to worry about, now Microsoft wants to spread it's peculiar brand of love to us all via malware. Of course, given their history with pushing spyware and breaking users' systems, we probably shouldn't be too surprised.
Meanwhile, both Microsoft and the security firms were getting bashed by the UK's National Consumer Council, with the release of a report that names seventeen firms — among them MS, Adobe, and Symantec — as perpetrators of unfair EULAs that cheat users into "signing away [their] legal rights." Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone in the Open Source community — we've all known proprietary licenses are evil for a long, long time.
Google, for their part, has been busy this week trying to bring a little of that unfairness to Linux, with the news that it is funding development to make Adobe's Photoshop — one of the proprietary applications cited by the NCC as "unfair" — available on Linux systems. The move — which really isn't as bad as all that — involves Google sponsoring programmers at CodeWeavers to make their Wine Windows-compatibility software capable of running Photoshop, the application most frequently requested for porting to Linux. Since it's Wine they're developing — an application near and dear to our hearts — even if the motive is to run "unfair" software, we'll let them get away with it this time.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.