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02.04.09

‘Sabotaging’ Motherboards to Work Only with Windows

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Motherboard

“I found this issue in a newsletter from an Italian political party that I think is lunatic,” says one reader, “but the issue is an important issue [...] the deliberate sabotage of motherboards to only work with Windows.”

This is a familiar issue. What Microsoft does in Italy is bordering the illegal, so below we are presenting this portion of text that was sent in by a regular reader.

On the substitution of operational systems of portable computers

Several Italian consumers declared the problem in acquiring portable computers furnished with pre-installed operational systems. In particular, when one decides to substitute the furnished operational system with an HP computer, there have been cases of technical impossibility in de-installing the pre-installed system (Windows Vista) and substituting it with a different one. Restoring disks furnished with the portable computers do not solve the problem and the only solution seems to be, in all its complexities, the substitution of the apparatus, often made impossible by the manufacturer. With reference to the answer already given by the EC in 2007, the Radical MEPs asked if the EC is in possession of data related to the percentage of portables sold with the pre-installed systems and if not, if it intends to gather information on the present situation; if it does not think that, independently of the trade agreements between producers of hardwares and softwares, consumer rights must be guaranteed in renouncing the softwares furnished with the purchase and change it as one pleases and if it intends to take an initiative against the incorrect practices of producers that constrain consumers’ choices. (L. Lipparini)

Microsoft still fights against unbundling [1, 2, 3, 4]. As its chief puts it, OEMs are Microsoft’s “delivery people”.

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4 Comments

  1. Andre said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Gravatar

    If Lorenzo is concerned about an alleged malpractice he can file a complaint as can do competitors:

    http://ec.europa.eu/competition/publications/competition_policy_and_the_citizen/consumer_liaison/index_it.html

    The issuing of parliament questions is also available to him and probably his preferred path. The party is certainly special in its radical libertarian beliefs concerning secularism, anti-trade union and it does very high quality work inside the ALDE group of parliament, in particular in the fields of rights of sexual orientation, public transparency, human rights and ICT. Its old charismatic leader is a fighter against the death penalty. What makes his group special is that it is so productive to make a difference and well informed about ICT issues.

    Here is the source:
    http://www.radicalparty.org/welcome2.html

    Background:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Radicals
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/488720/Radical-Party

    And if you ever heard of the famous Turco judgement of the ECJ, Turco is a member of that member. And see how also Cappato pressured for better public access to EU documents with his last month report:

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2009-0022

    Have also a look at Cappato’s attempt to get access to EU framework contracts with Microsoft: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/11/1937223

  2. Andre said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Gravatar

    Turco is a member of that member.
    –> Turco is a member of that party.

  3. Mike said,

    February 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Here is a recent example of what may have been a deliberate attempt to sabotage Linux using the BIOS:

    http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2008072502235RVMS

    “Foxconn Deliberately Sabotaging Their BIOS to Destroy Linux ACPI”

    The article refers to this post:

    http://ubuntu-virginia.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=869249

    A week after the problem was publicized, Foxconn released a fix:

    http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/02/1552226.shtml

    I recall a while back (a couple of years?) that AMD had a problem with accessing memory, that would cause Linux to crash. AMD had a fix, but they didn’t reveal it until Linux developers discovered the problem for themselves. Windows wasn’t having the problem, which suggests that Microsoft already had the fix. It could have just been a bureaucratic oversight on AMD’s part, that allowed their reputation to take a hit, but, on the other hand, AMD is dependent on Microsoft for their survival these days.

    This also reminds me of the early nineties, when Microsoft introduced code into Windows to deliberately sabotage DR-DOS. The evidence was eventually brought out in court, but by then it was far too late. As always, the Justice Department ignored Microsoft’s criminal activity, and Microsoft only had to face a civil lawsuit.

    These days, of course, Microsoft doesn’t do their own dirty work, which is why Linux gets attacked or sabotaged by companies like SCO, and Novell (and possibly Foxconn, and AMD).

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Mike,

    We have many of the documents about this. Could use help in the Wiki…
    http://boycottnovell.com/wiki/index.php?title=DOS

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