Windows XP comes out later this week, and I doubt I’ll be upgrading anytime soon. I used one of the betas on a laptop, but I’m not that impressed with the features (especially on a desktop – cleartype was pretty cool on a laptop LCD though). This release seems to be Windows 2000.1 with a bunch of weird marketing features. There’s also one big thing I don’t like about XP.
You no longer own software.
When you go to the store and buy a box with a CD in it, you figure you own those 1’s and 0’s that make up the OS, right? When I was testing out XP earlier this year, I couldn’t help but feel I was leasing or renting the code from Microsoft. Their Passport system hooks into their instant messenger and hotmail in outlook express, the photo printing is done through their online partners, and the activation process and their periodic monitoring of my system seem to be a bit much.
If I buy the digital bits that compose a program, I expect that to be the end of the relationship with the company. When I want an update, I’ll contact the company, otherwise our transaction is over. XP doesn’t allow for that, and instead I’m forced to maintain an ongoing relationship with the company, whether I want to or not.
I’m really surprised Microsoft took things as far as they did, encroaching on customers’ systems and desktops, especially given their ongoing legal troubles for previous monopolistic actions. XP makes win95’s OS integration with their browser seem like a joke. We used to worry about that?
Hopefully some enterprising young hackers will devise ways to completely remove all the passport hooks, keep MS from checking on me periodically, and kill the activation crap. I just want to buy software and be left alone, is that too much to ask?