I recently bought a “new” laptop to replace my old Compaq Armada, which had finally died due to a bad power connector.
The new laptop, coincidentally a Compaq/HP as well, is a corporate off-lease and comes with a Windows XP Professional license key (an OEM sticker on the bottom of the machine). Perfect, I thought, I can dual-boot the machine, instead of borrowing my parents’ computer to play those games that don’t quite work in Wine yet.
Or so I thought. After an entire weekend of finding and borrowing every Win XP Pro installation CD I could get my hands on – OEM from a friend, volume license from an organisation I volunteer with, with SP1, with SP2, playing with the setupp.ini file… I simply couldn’t get the thing to install. It would refuse my (valid and legal) license key, no matter what.
So here I am, many hours later, staring at a valid license key that I can’t use. At least it came OEM with a used computer, and so I didn’t pay much for it. But this is ridiculous, and I hear Vista will be worse. Anti-piracy is one thing, but valid users need to be able to use the product as well… Or, wait, rather than doubting your users and treating them all like criminals (what happened to “innocent until proven guilty” anyways), why not embrace your user community and work with them? You can still make plenty of money that way. Just ask Red Hat.