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Western Digital is Bad for Freedom (and for GNU/Linux)

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Summary: Two reasons not to buy products from Western Digital, as means of making a statement to the company

SEVERAL HARD-DRIVE manufacturers are fairly friendly towards Linux (not Seagate, that's for sure). One particular brand which we knew was serving the MPAA|RIAA is Western Digital, but now we discover that it also serves Microsoft, just like Seagate, which preinstalls Windows file systems on its products (and offers no other option on the face of it). The Register has this new story about Western Digital supporting no platforms other than Microsoft Windows (at the software side):



A Windows host must be used to run Western Digital disk drive diagnostic software, forcing Linux, Unix and other O/S users to buy a Windows system if they want to use it.


A few years ago (2007) we also found The Register (and other publications) reporting that Western Digital takes orders from Hollywood when it implements a "DRM-crippled" device which refuses to do what its owner tells it to do:

Western Digital's 1TB My Book World Edition external hard drive has been crippled by DRM for your safety.

A kindly Reg reader tipped us off that the remote-access HDD won't share media files over network connections. Which is, as you can see here, the entire stinking point of it.

It's a scary world full of potentially unlicensed media. We're fortunate there's a hard drive vendor willing to step forward and do some indiscriminate policing for us.

From the WD site:

"Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the most common audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access."


Unless or until Western Digital resolves this issue, Free software supporters are encouraged to avoid Western Digital and tell others to do the same. It's the only effective way to defend one's freedom -- voting with the wallet. This can help raise awareness deter other companies from doing the same thing. The customers come first, not Hollywood.

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