Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 12th Sep 2010 21:16 UTC
Microsoft Piracy is a big problem for large software vendors licensors like Microsoft. As such, the Redmond giant is undertaking several anti-piracy efforts all over the world, and, of course, it attempts to make its software harder to crack through activation and validation. As The New York Times has discovered, however, the prevalence of pirated Microsoft software in Russia is giving the Russian authorities a pretence to raid the offices of outspoken advocacy groups or opposition media - supported by Microsoft lawyers. Update: Microsoft responds with a blog post that says all the right things, including "Microsoft will create a new unilateral software license for NGOs that will ensure they have free, legal copies of our products."
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lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

We are talking about two different things. It does not matter if it is legal or not. I am sure that the organization immediately provided licenses, invoices, whatever authorities wanted. And it did not help.
So you say you are using Linux? Well, we have information from anonymous source that you are lying. So we will take all your computers and check. It won't take more than 6 months so don't complain.


Get Linux from an officially supported Russian distribution. Register it.

http://www.linux.com/archive/feed/119106
http://www.altlinux.com/

The authorities cannot simultaneously promote Linux for the Russian people on the one hand, and then confiscate the computers of people who are using it on the other.

That kind of thing can only happen in America concerning the products of American global monopoly corporations, and American-pushed political/commercial agendas such as ACTA.

Edited 2010-09-13 10:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The authorities cannot simultaneously promote Linux for the Russian people on the one hand, and then confiscate the computers of people who are using it on the other.


Of course they can. They can still claim "they may have pirated software" and raid their offices - whether they register x number of computers running Linux or not. The authorities could claim the advocacy groups may have more computers than the ones registered, they may claim they are running Office on WINE illegally, they may claim they run Windows illegally in virtualisation environments, etc. etc. etc.

Reply Parent Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"The authorities cannot simultaneously promote Linux for the Russian people on the one hand, and then confiscate the computers of people who are using it on the other.


Of course they can. They can still claim "they may have pirated software" and raid their offices - whether they register x number of computers running Linux or not. The authorities could claim the advocacy groups may have more computers than the ones registered, they may claim they are running Office on WINE illegally, they may claim they run Windows illegally in virtualisation environments, etc. etc. etc.
"

While this is true, it is true only for absolute authoritarian governments in complete control. Most real-world governments need to have some sort of viable PR accountability. Most real-world governments cannot simply abuse citizens using outrageous claims that are easily seen to be lies.

Hence it is quite easy for a government to confiscate computers of groups who claim "we bought all our software properly licensed". That is just a claim that could easily be a lie, and the group has publicly admitted that they are using commercial software that needs to be properly licensed. They might easily have licenses for only some machines.

However, if the persecuted group were to claim that "all of our software is free software, it is state-sponsored Linux" ... then they have a credible position that has PR weight. It is easy to see that a machine is running Linux, you just have to turn it on, you don't have to take the machine away. It is easy to show that your files were created by OpenOffice in ODF format.

For reasons of PR alone, the state must come up with a real reason for wanting to confiscate the computers now. "Suspicion of piracy" isn't going to swing it now as a purported reason in the Internet age.

Reply Parent Score: 2

roblearns Member since:
2010-09-13

"The authorities cannot simultaneously promote Linux for the Russian people on the one hand, and then confiscate the computers of people who are using it on the other.
Of course they can. They can still claim "they may have pirated software" and raid their offices - whether they register x number of computers running Linux or not. The authorities could claim the advocacy groups may have more computers than the ones registered, they may claim they are running Office on WINE illegally, they may claim they run Windows illegally in virtualisation environments, etc. etc. etc. "

Sorry but this is just out in the stratosphere as far as bizarre speculation goes.

Why couldn't they just accuse the group of being a front for a terrorist organization. Claim they are hiding weapons of mass destruction? Claim they have proof of links to Al Qaida - but for security reasons cannot release any of their sources or provide any proof of any of the claims.

The reality is its just an audit, and this is just the reaction to an audit.

And the NYT is just being the NYT.

When you find out a journalist has been poisened by plutonium - that's frankly a credible case of interference by a government agency.

When you find an oil barron didn't pay his taxes and went to jail - that is still reported as tyranny in the NYT - but as a long time Russia watcher - I dismiss the NYT version of events in that case.

There is an issue with authoritarianism in Russia - at the same time there is also continuing reforms - Oligarchs are being told they must pay taxes, or face jail.

Software piracy is slowly being cracked down on - and that's a real initiative not a front for some cockamamy anti-enviornmental groups scheme - good grief that's laughable.

Don't you realize in Russia, as in the rest of the world, people want jobs. The government has zero need to explain why they saved a factory from closure.
Only in the tortured fantasy of some western observers is this some outlandish scheme to suppress a green movement.

Besides, Putin has proven that he's somewhat of a supporter of Lake Baikal, he's talked about the need to preserve the lake for future generations many times.

Reply Parent Score: 1