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Lately there have been quite some discussions about the so-called Windows Genuine Advantage components to be installed with recent update packages of the Windows operating system, most of them caused by the fact that tools like this, intented to check whether your computer runs “pirated” or “legal” software, actually are little more than just nasty spyware to manifest on your machine and transmit information without leaving you an option of deciding what to transmit and when to do so. So far, this is just annoying, but things really might get more interesting, given that Microsoft indeed, as reported lately, is about to make installation of WGA / OGA (Office GA) components mandatory – if it’s not installed, Windows XP might cease working 30 days later…

I don’t really want to talk about the effects of those ideas on customer rights – after all, if you got a copy of Windows XP, you paid for it, most likely you also had to reveal personal data by activating it, and now you’re forced to install some arcane piece of software if you don’t want the money you spent on your Windows license to be lost forever. Probably there also is no use in worrying about privacy here – you should have thrown away that very idea (while talking about software) at least with the last software component you purchased which required you to register and activate it by providing a vast amount of contact and address data. No, probably all of that is of no use in that situation, given that most people don’t care, most people probably never will. But one thing is interesting: I wonder, after all, what will happen to the Windows XP market share once the forced WGA components will also render all of the so-called “pirated” (by the way, read this Richard M. Stallman interview on Indymedia Australia and the GNU list of ‘words to avoid’ in order to get a clue why the term “software piracy” in itself is completely ridiculous and should be, well, avoided) copies useless… Maybe we’ll be surprised. And besides that, by now I know just one more good reason while using some sort of GNU/Linux instead of that “other OS”.