[gnulab-mesce] Fwd: [glugc] Fwd: [ilugd] M$ Tax Refund Quest

  • From: "ശ്യാം കാരനാട്ട് | shyam karanattu" <aeshyamae@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: mes-fsf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "GNU Lab @ MESCE" <gnulab-mesce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 06:59:54 +0530

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Praveen A <pravi.a@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, May 18, 2008 at 5:50 AM
Subject: [glugc] Fwd: [ilugd] M$ Tax Refund Quest
To: glugc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Manish <mailtomanish.sharma@xxxxxxxxx<mailtomanish.sharma%40gmail.com>
>
Date: 2008/5/17
Subject: Re: [ilugd] Fwd: Fwd: M$ Tax Refund Quest
To: The Linux-Delhi mailing list
<ilugd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<ilugd%40lists.linux-delhi.org>
>

Warning: long email (143 lines) Consolidating many emails.

Atanu> I need some info before I can take this up as a story...

Could you be a little more specific please?

Atanu> When you buy a pre-bundled Windoze and boot it for
Atanu> the first time, does this licence pop up, or the
Atanu> machine starts normally, and you have to access
Atanu> the licence somewhere to have a look at it?

You power it up and the second screen (first one is language
selection, I think) displays two licenses (in small text boxes where
you need to scroll a lot, possibly to discourage from reading it):
first one is the MS EULA and second one is Lenovo terms and
conditions. There are check-marks to indicate your acceptance to the
licenses under each one. There's no other means to indicate your
refusal other than switching the machine off. Unless both are agreed
to the "Next" button does not get activated. I took a picture of the
screen at that stage but it's about 2 megs.

@Niyam: Thanks for everything. Seriously, I couldn't have spread it
so far and wide and got involved so many people and publications on my
own.

Sudev> Manish do not feel that you are being made a murga
Sudev> but "hum tumhare peeche hain" ;-)

:) Thank you. I really appreciate the sentiment.

Mr. Rao> 1. Most OEMs sell laptops with Linux/DOS preloaded
Mr. Rao> on them. So you don't *have* to buy a Vista
Mr. Rao> machine.

As Dhiraj pointed out, hardware vendors do not offer high-end models
with GNU/Linux. What if what you want does not come without Windows?
Do you buy and compromise (i.e. pay M$ tax) or not buy and compromise
(i.e. buy an inferior machine?) Aage kuan peeche khayee.

Kenneth> I do not see why we should not reward those
Kenneth> manufacturers that treat linux with respect and
Kenneth> buy hardware from them. Maybe a small sacrifice
Kenneth> that one will not get the 'exact' config one
Kenneth> wants - but then, that is the price of freedom ...

If the machine in question suits your needs, absolutely. But that's
not the point. See more below.

Anupam> Or maybe 'punish' the ones that don't by asking
Anupam> for refunds.. Just as effective in my opinion and
Anupam> you can buy whatever machine you want..

I agree except that it's not punishment. It's just being fair.

I compared the refund/credit statements of Windows XP and Windows
Vista EULAs.

,----[ Windows XP (on a machine with functioning Vista) ]
| IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE PRODUCT; YOU MAY RETURN
| IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND.
`----

,----[ Windows Vista (on a "virgin" machine) ]
| IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT THEM, DO NOT USE THE SOFTWARE. INSTEAD, CONTACT
| THE MANUFACTURER OR INSTALLER TO DETERMINE THEIR RETURN POLICY FOR A
| REFUND OR CREDIT.
`----

The choice of words is telling. Microsoft seems to have left the
decision to refund at OEM's/installers' discretion (at least in the
case of machines preloaded with Vista.) And OEMs may conveniently
choose not to refund at all!

What galls me are the statements like these:

"Nevertheless, 140 million PCs have sold with paid copies installed."
(
http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/02/technology/Kirkpatrick_Microsoft.fortune/index.htm?section=money_fastforward
)

Paid my foot, I feel I have been pick pocketed by Lenovo on
Microsoft's behalf. Imagine MS as some kind of don and L as servile
sucking up local goon collecting "hafta" (extortion money) or pick
pocketing for the don. :)

From my perspective, the whole issue boils down to these
arguments/points to be settled.

1. Is it legal for OEMs to bundle software with the machines AND
charge for it and require consumers to agree to a license before
they can use it (after having paid)?

2. Are the terms of the Windows license (EULA) enforceable in India?

3. If a customer does not agree to the license required to use the
bundled software, then does/should the consumer have a right to
refund?

4. Are the terms of the license legally binding on only the paying
consumers or also on the vendor (OEM)?

5. Can OEMs refuse to be bound by the terms and conditions of a
software license _they_ bundled and charged for (agreed they did
not author it but they did charge for it)? If OEMs are exempt then
how can the terms be binding on consumer?

6. What is the fair price of Windows to be refunded? In my opinion,
it should be at par with the market price or OEMs need to disclose
the price at which they bought licenses (for legal entities to
determine the fair price.)

In case it turns out that this land does have a fair law and has not
sold out to corporates at the expense of consumers, then following is
what I expect to get out of this Mahabharat when/if this ends.

Short term/this specific case
-----------------------------
1. A formal (verbal/written) apology from Lenovo.
2. Refund from Lenovo.

Long term/general case
----------------------

3a. OEMs required by law to provide "No OS" option on all machines
(No, I do not want to purchase or be force fed Novell Linux
either.)

Or at the very least

3b. Legal requirements binding on OEMs to document, print and
distribute the timebound and simple refund process (along with the
cost that will be refunded) _with_ the machines; may be distributed
as part of the user manual or as a separate pamphlet but _with_ the
machine (not just hidden behind tons of links on their website).

So I guess there are going to be two parts to this effort/fight: short
term and long term.

The short term part needs to be dealt with in MRTP and/or consumer
court. BTW, meanwhile Lenovo is figuring out their address in India
that can receive a legal notice.

But what about the long term issue? Who/which organization needs to
be influenced/educated to implement it? Do we even attempt it? How?
Do we discuss it here at all since the list is for "Linux and
Linux-related issues" and this may be considered off-topic. IMHO,
it's not since it's about computing freedom.

-- Manish

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