Windows 10 – Not so Free?

The track record of Microsoft since February 2014 and Satya Nadella coming in as top manager and Bill Gates returning part time shows us that that they are making surprising moves. Some now consider Microsoft as disruptive as Google (read disrupting as in introducing life changing technology). This means we may see new behavior from Microsoft. I’m doubtful, but I have hopes.

From - June 2015 - OS Market Shares

From – June 2015 – OS Market Shares

This change to automatic updates is no small thing. In 2011 the DOD classified any computer hacking of US computers by foreign nationals as an act of war by that nation. They were also setting up how they would evaluate those attacks and decide if they merit a military response. Basically, if there is loss of life, military response in some measure is called for.

Of course, immediately after declaring hacking of US computers by foreign governments an act of war the US government was caught hacking the government computers of allies.

The 12 unclassified pages of the 2011 document also describe how government and private industry will have to work together to protect industry and infrastructure from cyber attacks.  I think most informed people understand Microsoft and Apple have people working with the government to secure our computers.

Now that the FCC via Net Neutrality is moving to make the Internet a public utility and handle it like radio broadcasts where they control what can be said and who can say what (for radio transmitters over a certain strength you have to be licensed), any serious attack on the US that causes a loss of life could be used for justifying computers be kept up to date to be allowed on the Internet. Fail to update and it would be like failing to pay the subscription fee on software, which stops working. You would be off the Internet. I suspect your computer could still connect to the Microsoft or Apple store to pay for and get updates.

The recent Chinese attack on the US Government’s Human Resources Dept’s computers took 14 million, if not all, the records of government employees from about 1980 to now. The administration is trying to talk this down. But, this essentially means the Chinese know everyone’s name that has or does work for the CIA, NSA, FBI… etc. Think about that.

The complications that Forbes is pointing out and Microsoft’s silence pose problems for users. To upgrade to software that may soon be controlled to extents never thought acceptable (subscribe or give up your computer)… to lose control of computers we bought and paid for… if we don’t upgrade as a corporation dictates… and soon those corporations may have the government backing their policies and removing our choice… we have seen this scenario before.

Fortunately things move slowly enough we will probably have time to figure out what is going to happen with Windows and decide if an update to 10 is rational or suicidal. Also, things are seldom worst case. As long as Microsoft has to work in the free market they can’t piss us off too much. If the government intervenes then they can do whatever they want.

12 thoughts on “Windows 10 – Not so Free?

  1. This shouldn’t really be a surprise. All companies do bait and switch. Actually, the chance to be at a current OS is good anyway. I agree that a monthly subscription fee later on would be somewhat misleading

  2. So here is what to do: Download Linux! It is free and that means it is really free, no subscribtion, no fine print. There are many flavours for every taste. For Windows users I would recommend Linux Mint, which has a desktop similar to the Windows Desktop. You can just put it on an USB stick and run it from there. If you like it, you can install it on a hard disk, which takes less than 30 min. Most software can be downloaded from a central server, including popular SL software like GIMP or Blender, it all goes automatically, also free. One click and your favorite software is installed. No need to download from 3rd party websites or to worry about anything. You do not have to install drivers and no painful security updates or service packs. There is no need for anti-virus or anti-malware software. All future updates are free. And you do not have to be afrait about Government backdoors, because it is open source. You can even esily protect yourself from evil people (which these days means your government) by encrypting your hard disk with just one click.
    There is no single reason why anybody would use Windows.

    • Any computer novice that has tried to use Linux knows why they use Windows. Otherwise you are right on.

  3. Honestly… It sounds like you’re reading way too much into doom and gloomy details which all made up by some tech blog experts. Forbes isn’t the best place for proper tech details.

    Microsoft still haven’t said much details about anything yet, and that’s for a reason.
    You have to keep in mind about the risk they’re facing… We all could easily switch to Mac or Linux since that’s free and there’s ton of distros`. Not forget to mention SteamOS, a lot of gamers will swing over there if this said gloomy doom actually came true. Much less care for Win10 touting with DX12.

    They’re testing the water to see what people would say before dropping more details. They already learned their lesson with Win8 and Xbox One.

      • Alright well, let’s see…

        For Win8. They restored the start menu back into Win8 with Win8.1 update after so many people complained about being forced to mobile method when they’re clearly using desktop and laptop with this OS. However, it wasn’t enough, because it was still heavily designed for Mobile/touch devices. So they created Win10 that supports all platforms, including Xbox and Raspberry Pi. That’s one big lesson there.

        As for Xbox, during the absurd console war over at E3 back in 2013, they had their own DRM system for the games to play on XBO (X-Box One) where you can’t play a \used\ game disc. It also didn’t have backward compatibility. Enforces you that you must have online connection to play any games. It also come with Kinect 2, not giving you option to buy the console without it, because it cost too much as one whole bundle. Sony flat-out won the event.

        Few months later, Microsoft finally backtracked on DRM system, the online requirement and finally gave people the choice to buy packages that come with Kinect 2 or not.
        And now…. this week at the E3’s 2015 event, Microsoft just announced that XBO now have the backward compatibility feature.

        Yup, lessons learned, that’s for sure.

        • My point in saying I haven’t seen them learn, is they keep making these types of mistakes and having to correct them.

  4. Having worked with Linux for a decade now, and done tech support on IRC for about as long, frankly I’m not surprised at all that Microsoft as an OS developer would want to push everyone to use the latest version of a product. The more old versions of your own product you’re forced to support, the more of major pain in the ass it becomes. (In the Linux world, Debian and CentOS tend to impose that.) I’m sure, if people had their way, MS would still have to keep patching Windows 98 to this day. And NT 4.0. And Windows XP.

    Yeah, sometimes stuff changes too much, like with 8.0, but they eventually backtrack on the really bad decisions, so it’s enough to skip a version, no need to stick with it forever. (Here at work, half the computers have 8.1 and all it needs is Classic Start Menu to disguise it as a better faster 7, it hasn’t caused any troubles otherwise. And 10 undid the start menu thing after all.)

    ~ ~ ~

    Not talking about old hardware though. Resource-wise, 8.1 is lighter, so upgrading 7 → 8.1 really isn’t a problem. But I am really not sure what to suggest when someone’s system can’t run 8.1 because the CPU lacks PAE, for example – it’s a requirement that can’t be removed once they add it. (Last I checked, PAE was needed for the good kind of security protections it allows.)

    “Buy a new one” wouldn’t be a good answer I guess. Perhaps that’s one case when you just have to stay on an old version. I’m quite sure however that Microsoft doesn’t run the nagware on such systems…

  5. I don’t think that Microsoft will charge home users a subscription fee for Windows. These days almost no one actually buys an operating system anyway. It comes preinstalled when you buy a computer and you just do the free upgrades. Microsoft makes most it’s money for Windows selling to companies that build and sell computers. They also make good money from Enterprise/Network setups. I really don’t think they expect home users to suddenly start paying a monthly fee for an operating system – most home users aren’t even aware of what an operating system is. They just open their programs and do their thing. I’m betting this just isn’t gonna happen.

    • I expect they will try to roll Office and the OS together to get some stream of cash flow. But, you may be right. They may stay with selling to OEM’s.

  6. Sure you all know this anyway, just not seen it in the post. But Windows 10 will only be free for the first year after it’s release. Then they will charge for it after the first year if you want to get Windows 10. I read about it a few months ago on the BBC website.

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