back to article Microsoft licensing hike sparks UK piracy, bankruptcy fears

Reseller NCI Technologies has urged Microsoft to shelve the planned pricing overhaul that could see UK customers paying between 20 to 35 per cent more for volume licences. Redmond will align volume licence pricing in the EU - except for academic programmes - to the euro currency from 1 July in a bid to drive some consistency …

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  1. Tom Chiverton 1
    Stop

    Trish should encourage a move to Free/Open software if she is so concerned then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, right...

      Once she has secured the budget to get all of their LOB systems converted to run on Free/Open software. Simples...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yeah, right...

        but it's a one-off expense. Nobody said you should migrate all your systems, just start with some of them until you get comfortable. You could also fire some of those who advised you to stay 100% Microsoft last time when licenses were renewed. As usual, if there is a will there is a way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Tom Chiverton 1 - I'm afraid it may be impossible

      Reselling FOSS does not bring any money. On to the other hand, UK customers could try to fake an increased interest in FOSS. It has worked so nicely in the past so it might work again.

      Anyway, as an advice to UK businesses: just before bankruptcy you may give FOSS a try. Heck, you have nothing left to lose!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        "just before bankruptcy you may give FOSS a try. Heck, you have nothing left to lose!"

        Indeed my good sir. Unfortunately, you cannot sell the Microsoft licenses, can you? They cannot be auctioned off either. What a shame. What a shame.

        pipe_smoking_upper_class_shark_I_SAY.jpg

      2. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: @Tom Chiverton 1 - I'm afraid it may be impossible

        >Reselling FOSS does not bring any money

        Of course not, do a Red Hat (Dead Rat in El Reg speak ?) and sell services/training on top...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Tom Chiverton 1 - I'm afraid it may be impossible

        RedHat $1BN per year is money missing from Microsoft's and Oracle's coffers. FOSS TCO has be shown to be slightly less than proprietary. http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/FOSS-the-Recession-and-the-Lower-TCO-Promise-67157.html?wlc=1243605820 tells of more growing Opensource companies.

    3. LarsG

      DEAR MICROSOFT...

      Please explain why there is not a standard licence price ACROSS THE WORLD?

      With todays computers it would be easy enough to build in Exchange rate mechanisms.

      So why do you charge us so much more in the UK?

      1. toadwarrior
        Trollface

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        You're paying extra to have it translated into British English.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          You mean of course 'proper English' then why, pray, does.it keep reverting to American.

          I still go and see films, wear trousers, my wife wears the suspenders and will never use that strange word aloooooominum.

          I can also use a knife and fork correctly, do not drawl and we grow potatoes to fit out mouths over here. Fortunately Microsoft's has no control over this.

      2. Qu Dawei
        Headmaster

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        I discovered recently that its worse than that: I had to buy a replacement Windows machine recently because my old one broke irretrievably. I had bought it in the UK, and all was fine with it. Since I am now in China, I had to quickly buy a Chinese PC. The only safe ones I could buy only had Windows 7 Basic on them, and I found that to change the language to English (any kind, I'm not fussy becauise it is a priority), I had to pay mega-bucks to first upgrade to the Windows Ultimate editon. Just another excuse to make money.

        The interface is subtly different; in the Chines version, the position of some options are not the same compared with the English version (so I can't use memory to recall what meu item to choose). Also, the shortcut keys are not the same. They seem to have made it as difficult as possible to simply change languages so that they can squeeze more money out of you. Before, I was displeased with Microsoft; now I hate them. Furthermore, if I install software (freeware, shareware or licensed), it often uses as an interface language the settings it finds on the computer, so everything is set up using Chinese as well. The option to change to English is sometimes not there at all, and if it is, one needs to understand Chinese to be able to find out how easily. I used to be reasonably proficient using Windows, but because I cannot read many Chinese characters, I've sudenly become a functional 8 year old or worse when using it in Chinese.

        On Linux, such language changes are done easily. The problem for me is that I must use Windows because of reasons completely outside my control. If I could, I'd ditch it tomorrow.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          I agree with your language frustrations. On the installation problems, it might help you to know that some developers choose the installation language based on the default character set in the Regional Settings, change to Traditional Chinese, and the installer starts in Chinese, change to Western Europe/US and the installer starts in English. There is also a command-line option for msi to force the language, something like:

          msiexec /i A:\Example.msi ProductLanguage=1033

          for US English, but YMMV.

        2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          @Qu Dawei

          I feel your pain and have a similar experience with German versions of Windows software. A lot of software gets this right and offers a language selection either for the installation or afterwards through the settings menu, but some doesn't and you are stuck with it. I'm pretty fluent in German, but when I'm supporting an English speaker I want to see the same screens and menu options that they do.

          Apple gets this one right .- my OS X systems are set up for English yet I can still set my time zone and date, time and currency formats to my local variations without having random apps dive into German. On OS X I can select a different language either by user or at run time if I want to, and this is very handy when I have guests or for support.

          Another thing that Microsoft gets wrong here is that even if you buy a multilingual version of their software, the license will tell you that you are only allowed to use the language used on the first installation. Bang go your rights to select one of the other languages in that pack if you decide to pass your computer on to someone who speaks another language.

          P.S. I also hate websites that decide which language I want for downloaded software based on my IP address, but that's a story for another day...

        3. Mitch Kent

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          I don't think you can have several languages at once, but you can reinstall from a disk and choose english. That's what I did when I bought my laptop in Germany. Takes a while to get used to the character keys being in different places but you'll be an expert touch typist in no time!

          1. big_D Silver badge
            Happy

            @Mitch Kent

            With Vista and 7 Ultimate, you can change language as much as you want (logout / restart required ISTR). I have both English and German installed on my laptop, but to be honest, I never bother going back to English these days.

          2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

            @Mitch Kent

            I managed to skip Vista, but under 7 Ultimate once you have got Windows Update working, you are presented with 35 or so optional updates which cover all the languages you will probably need.

            Unfortunately, if I remember correctly, you need to log out and in again after selecting another language.

            I'm well used to switching keyboard languages. Swiss German keyboards really slow you down for programming though, so I bought a US keyboard for my main Apple system.

            But I use a Swiss German keyboard for writing correspondence in German because it has the accented characters.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        Oh for goodness sake, do you really want a lecture on how local economies work? How about:

        a) Because you really don't want prices changing every single day

        b) Because you want some stability in your pricing so you can forecast what your sales revenue will be without have to second guess currency fluctuations

        c) Because your staff you employ (directly or indirectly) in each country to support those sales won't want their salaries fluctuating on daily basis according to exchange rates

        d) Because those staff have different cost-of-living expenses in different countries

        e) Because taxes are not the same in each country (import, sales, employment, corporation, etc.)

        f) Because costs of sales (excluding taxes mentioned above) are different in each country (think translation costs, advertising costs, etc.)

        I could go on...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          'Oh for goodness sake, do you really want a lecture on how local economies work? How about:'

          I refer you to your last line 'I could go on'

          You do, and you have on and on and on.

      4. big_D Silver badge
        Meh

        @LarsG

        That is what MS are trying to do... The problem is, the Pound has bombed and is worth a lot less than it was, the pound is worth around 45% less than when I left the UK, so a price hike for harmonisation isn't "excessive".

        I'd like it, if they sank the Euro prices to reflect the UK prices, but that isn't going to happen.

        Still, at least they aren't as bad as Adobe...

      5. Tom 13
        Flame

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        Because thems that play in the exchange rate biz usually get burned if they aren't actual currency traders with margins on both sides of the trade.

    4. Nuke
      Headmaster

      She ???

      RTFA again, it is >>Andy<< Trish. Yes, I had to look back when he was referred to later as "Trish", which is usually a nickname for "Patricia".

      Unless of course you are RMS, who has a peculiar manner of refering to everyone in general as "she", despite looking extremely unshe-like himself.

  2. moiety

    Paying that extra £8k for a Linux admin suddenly isn't looking all that expensive now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Especially...

      ...as the "more expensive" Linus admin can maintain more servers, leading to a lower TCO.

      1. Goat Jam
        WTF?

        Re: Especially...

        True

        Where I work we have 4 server admins who are responsible for about 20 servers and 1 unix guy looking after about 60.

        Recently they were working out the "Licensing" budget. It took one of those windows guys about two months to figure out that we needed to pay MS about a million dollars for this year.

        I cannot understand why companies continue to do business like that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Especially...

          '..Where I work we have 4 server admins who are responsible for about 20 servers and 1 unix guy looking after about 60..'

          And I *used* to be like your Unix guy, oh, on top of that, hello bloody mission creep...also ended up doing the damn'd Windows stuff as well (server *and* desktop) as I was more 'available' than the Windows 'team'.

          One day though, life's too fscking short.

          Bailed.

          Now laugh at all these stories (and the ones about the shortage of Linux bods..my mortgage is paid off, I'm not going back)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Especially...

            Yes, funnily enough I too was that Unix guy, until I got jack of it and asked to be moved.

            I can't recall how many times I overheard the Windows guys discussing the latest problem de jour and having to bite my lip and refrain from telling them that the problem could be solved trivially by using a *nix box and a cron job (or whatever). Truth is they get sick of hearing about non windows solutions because they all have MS certificates that they have heavily invested in so they are therefore not prepared to listen to anything that does not reinforce their existing training investments.

            Everything seems so much more complicated on Windows (as long as you don't suffer from command line phobia of course) and problems invariably need to be solved by purchasing yet another commercial software product which usually doesn't work as advertised and sometimes makes things worse.

            As you say, life's too short.

            1. The BigYin

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Especially...

              Command Line? Install Webmin for point-click MS monkeys.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    I'm not surprised the resellers are hacked off.

    They must be doing a roaring trade in exports to the rest of the EU at the moment.

    You have to remember that when some spokesdroid stands on his hind legs and moans about how bad XYZ is for everyone, you need to remember that what they actually mean is that it's bad for them.

    1. xyz
      Unhappy

      Re: I'm not surprised the resellers are hacked off.

      Oi!

      >>>You have to remember that when some spokesdroid stands on his hind legs and moans about how bad XYZ is for everyone,

      Did I used to go out with you or something? I know most people don't like me, but the above is a bit off. Enough of the name calling already

  4. BeeGeeDee
    WTF?

    Shocking

    The euro price of some MS products are already about double the dollar price and the current sterling prices are just as bad. They can't use VAT as an excuse as VAT is not 100%.

  5. Crofty616
    Meh

    Working in the IT department of a Insolvency company I am unsure how to take this news... lol

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charming...

    They screw over us true English speakers, and they don't have to do any extra work for us, like translate their software.

    In fact they don't even try, "color" still abounds even in Windows 7, and the memory of "Network neighborhood" and "favorites" is still pretty fresh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Charming...

      Define true English.

      There was a fashion for using the French spellings for a while, hence why those in the UK use centre.

      So parts of the USA English are more "true" than the UK English.

      Although "aloominum" must be killed with fire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Charming...

        Actually - and it does pain me to say it - from a technical point of view Aluminum is the correct spelling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Charming...

          So what? It's not the spelling that is in question, just left-ponders ridiculous pronunciation.

          alu - not al-oo, but al-you

          min - got that bit fine

          um - not oom, but yum

        2. Eddie Edwards
          Stop

          Re: Re: Re: Charming...

          "The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990 but, three years later, recognized aluminum as an acceptable variant."

        3. Piloti
          Thumb Down

          Re: Re: Re: Charming...

          Actually, I am sorry to say, you arewrong.

          This is from the OED [Oxford English Dictionary] :

          aluminium (United States aluminum )

          n noun a strong, light, corrosion-resistant silvery-grey metal, the chemical element of atomic number 13. (Symbol: Al)

          DERIVATIVES

          aluminize or aluminise verb

          aluminous adjective

          ORIGIN

          C19: from alumina + -ium.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Charming...

        Nice try, but it wasn't a fashion, it's due to English evolving along with a French speaking Norman invasion. Many many French words were absorbed into the language. Pretty much anything that ends in "tion" is French.

        I think if you want to define true English, a country called England might have more than a head start as the home for it ;-)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. expat jan
            Headmaster

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Charming...

            "he result of Old French impacting on Old English"

            Well, it seems that the sloppy ex-colony across the Pond has yet again made an impact upon elegant and perfectly adequate grammatical construction and style. Or are you AC because you dare not admit publicly to such wanton destruction of Real English?

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. toadwarrior

        Re: Re: Charming...

        Humphry Davy, a british man, originally used Aluminum. It was only changed to match the whole "-ium" naming scheme already in place.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...secondly it will "promote piracy""

    Probably will, a bit, but I doubt that that will be the most significant impact. I would have thought that any company willing to pirate volume licenses would already be doing it and not worry about this change.

    I think the real impact will be as suggested by others above - a significant shove in the direction of non-microsoft products, mainly Free/Open. MS licensing is a nightmare to understand as it is, and this insult (ie "fuck you customer, we don't really care about you") piled on top will be, for many, the last straw (at least I hope so).

    1. Miek
      Linux

      Re: "...secondly it will "promote piracy""

      Perhaps $MS should create a solid activation process and do away with OS piracy, oh wait, that might damage their worldwide uptake of their OS.

    2. mhenriday
      Big Brother

      «I think the real impact will be as suggested by others above -

      a significant shove in the direction of non-microsoft products, mainly Free/Open. ...» In a perfectly rational world, JustaKOS, that would certainly be the case, but given the fact that the main qualification held by so many technical personnel is a Microsoft Certificate, there will inevitably be a great deal of internal resistance to such a change. FOSS won't have a sporting chance until IT workers receive a broader education/training in computer science - which, of course, is one of the reasons that Microsoft exerts such efforts to monopolise such education and training....

      Henri

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @mhenriday - MS Certification

        Depressing though your words are, I have to agree that FOSS won't have a real chance until the obsession with certification in products ends. It might also give us old farts a sporting chance as well : skill and experience count for naught these days as most job reqs include a list of certifications. Often the certs are there to provide a filter which selects for those who've sat exams, rather than those who have actual experience and ability.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a bit of a scum move in general. How does this level the playing field over europe when the price here is already higher and the pound has got worse against the euro?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 17:05

      You don't make sense. As I understand you, you seem to think the GBP price in the UK is higher than the Euro price in the rest of Europe so if they are normalizing prices to the euro then the eventual UK price would be less. However, I think you'll find the complaint is that the UK will start paying the same higher price as mainlain Europe, 20-35% according to the article. So your rant about the UK already paying higher prices is unwarranted.

      But never mind, I constantly hear that the Euro is dead and worth less than tuppence so when this is implemented UK customers will be able to buy a licence for the entire MS catolog for three and six.

  9. ratfox Silver badge
    Devil

    Yippee, I'm Swiss!

    Shame I never buy Microsoft stuff...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then there's the VAT

    You might buy from MS in GBP but you will pay the IRISH VAT rate of 23%.

    Then you have t ospend more time reclaiming it.

    Last year it took HMRC 8 months to get their act together as they were'nt clued up on the Irish VAT change.

    Dealing with MS is like trying to climb a pole covered in oil, snake oil.

    1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
      WTF?

      No there's not

      If a business buys from another business across EU boundaries, no VAT is charged. You just have to file an extra form with your VAT return.

      I have MS Action Pack, bought from Ireland, but pay no VAT.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...except for academic programmes...

    I don't know if if balances out but I know one HE whose Campus Agreement is rumoured to have gone from 10k to 220,000k per year. Desperate times for Microsoft. Last hurrah.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: I call bullshit on that one

          You are correct about the k. The rest of the story is that Microsoft are now including the students as well as staff in the calculation.

  12. terry 1
    Pint

    hmmmm

    Seems like a good case to stay on Server 2003, Office 2003 and XP and just keep fixing the hardware.

    Sure upgrade, that's what MS wants but at what cost? If it aint broke...

  13. Joe Montana
    Go

    Plan long term

    For now, just stick with the versions you already have...

    And plan a slow transition to open source, don't throw everything out over night but ensure any new systems you implement are cross platform (eg web based and work on any browser).

    If you plan it well, a slow gradual transition away from ms needn't be too painful or expensive... There's no point ditching what you've already bought and paid for, but similarly no point in getting yourself more locked in...

    Most systems get refreshed after a few years anyway, so if you require that any new systems you deploy must be cross platform compatible then it won't be too long before the windows-specific business apps are rotated out anyway.

  14. toadwarrior
    Trollface

    Linux ftw

    Luckily my Linux distro is staying at the same price - free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux ftw

      Free if your time is worth nothing.

      1. dubno
        Linux

        Re: Re: Linux ftw

        My time isn't free; and that's why I'd rather spend 2 seconds entering a password to have ALL my Linux OS/applications updated in a single action as opposed to an hour spent dealing with separate Windows OS, applications updates, new versions of Firefox, Adobe, Java etc etc etc ad naseum...

        I never understand people who spout the "can't spend time getting Linux to work". Seriously setting it up and keeping it running is far easier than Windows.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux ftw

      We tried paying nothing for Red Hat at work, it's a nightmare. The problem is that we're a small software house, we write software which interacts with commercial software which runs on RHEL, so we have to run RHEL for compatibility testing, not CentOS.

      Have you ever tried to run RHEL without support? You have to manually install all packages and sort out the dependencies yourself, it's a complete nightmare.

      The point I'm making is - if you want to run Linux commercially and supported it's not free.

      1. Miek
        Linux

        Re: Re: Linux ftw

        "Have you ever tried to run RHEL without support?" -- yes

        "You have to manually install all packages and sort out the dependencies yourself, it's a complete nightmare." -- No you don't.

        "The point I'm making is - if you want to run Linux commercially and supported it's not free." -- true, but at least you're not paying to install and use RHEL, only have it supported by Red Hat. Have you never taken out a support contract with a $MS product or another proprietary application that runs on $MSwarez?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Miek

          Is that a no to manually installing packages, a no to finding the dependent packages and installing them yourself, or both?

          Also, if you're going to post that sort of thing, details of how to do it would be appreciated.

          You may not be paying for install of Red Hat, but you pay support per server installed for support, so it's pretty much the same thing. I have found that Red Hat actually tends to cost more than MS, for the OS particularly if you factor in the likes of Technet, which allows a vast amount of MS software to be installed for a trivial annual payment, provided it's for development/non-production work.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK / EU pricing differences

    shame that we aren't in a free market economy then, anyone would think the euro countries had leaned on MS to rip-off Sterling customers even more than they already are compared with US pricing. Prices going up, no localisation of software (for example there's no such language as "English (United Kingdom)" - it's English), and now they want to charge more just to fit in with euro? Can only be political meddling.

    One would have to be paranoid to suggest that, of course.

  16. T J
    Childcatcher

    Purely temporary.

    Its ok don't worry, Microsoft won't exist except as a gadget company by the end of this year, and then Google will buy them. No, I'm serious.

  17. Christian Berger Silver badge

    It's like slowly driving towards a wall

    In about 2000 everybody said that such closed systems, particularly with Windows, wouldn't be sustainable. Today not only some companies are facing bankruptcy because of license cost increases, others are fearing that new hardware might not be able to run Windows XP which is needed to run business critical software from the 1990s which is not compatible with newer versions of Windows.

    So dear businesses, if you want to spend your money wisely, invest in open standards. If you want a certain application, try to find it as a "web application" preferably running on your own virtual server inside your company. Or run those applications on central servers where you can log in via RDP, VNC or X11. Most business applications aren't very demanding, one properly maintained powerful server is often enough for several hundred users.

    Look at the Unix(oid) world. There are software packages out there which are from the late 1960s and are still used today (Maxima for example). That's simply because they aren't to demanding and have always interfaced to the world with open standards. (in this case, teletypes)

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or

      So, in the age of austerity binning systems which have already been purchased, getting in new ones, starting up new support contracts and training your staff on new software are acceptable uses of public money?

  19. nsld
    WTF?

    Why do people do this to themselves

    I opened a new office recently and simply put Open Office on the machines, none of my new hires are struggling with it.

    The only items we are stuck with are Outlook as the US parent company uses it and insists we do but everything else was down to my budget and I spent nothing.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Viviene Redding

    I like linux, I used it for many years but I use one of the main two now (the fruity one) for the sake of ease and I don't think its good value in terms of the cost.

    I do promote FOSS to all my clients, but paying licenses gives people the idea there is someone to blame when things go wrong.

    I know V, Redding is more about the telecommes stuff, but shouldn't the issue here be about being able to buy in euros and therefore pay the same price as Europe. If its an EU wide pricing policy then doesn't if follow that there should be an EU wide purchasing option and if not shouldn't it be taken up with the muppets in brussels? Whinging at a company with such grip on its clients for raising prices, futile.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    open source is only free if your time is worthless.

    1. Gareth.
      Trollface

      RE: AC @ 10:48 GMT

      DNFTT

      In other news, nice weather we're having at the moment, isn't it?

    2. Miek
      Linux

      post that as much as you like AC, it doesn't make it true ;)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux is irrelevant in this topic. There are a number of reasons why someone might need to choose MS regardless of price.

    Comparing windows server prices in the US 2008 R2 Standard is $500 which should be £385, however we pay £517 before any rises! To be clear no VAT or sales tax is included in either price, there are no import taxes to pay since it is manufactured inside the EU. There is no reasonable justification for this difference let alone any price hike.

    1. Gareth.
      Thumb Up

      Completely agree

      Agree - as much as I'm an advocat of Linux, I've also been around long enough to know that there are many cases where using something other than Windows isn't an option. Unfortunately, too often people will just switch off when they see the word Linux being banded about in discussions such as this because they're not in a position to switch OSes..

      That's a shame because FOSS doesn't exclusively mean Linux. There are plenty of open source applications that can be run under a Windows OS, such as OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, Gimp, Blender, etc... which those people who have switched off and started doing something else may not even be aware of.

      If people start by using open source applications and find that, contrary to what they may have thought previously, just because something is 'free' doesn't mean it's not professionally written and equally as good if not better than their paid-for equivalents, then they're more likely to be open-minded about trying a FOSS operating system. It's much easier for someone to switch OS if they're already au fait with the applications that they'll run on it.

      As I said, I am a big fan of Linux but sometimes I think it's better to demonstrate the benefits of it as an OS if you've already got people on-board the open source boat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Gareth

        There is actually more FOSS for Windows than there is for Linux, most people don't even realise that they're using FOSS under Windows because they've just downloaded something and installed it. You only really realise that you're using FOSS on Linux, because it's running on Linux.

  23. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

    It's welcome news for me in Switzerland

    "My American friends need not worry - no changes for you (that I am aware of) - and my Swiss friends, well you are actually going to see a significant price drop if all goes to plan. Unfortunately I don’t have any Swiss friends so I can’t celebrate with you."

    Hurrah for that! Long overdue in my opinion too. Microsoft's Swiss prices make me cringe, simply because they haven't changed since the days when the dollar was worth a lot more than the Swiss franc.

    I've just had a look at Swiss price comparison site toppreise.ch for Windows 7 Ultimate. While you'd be a fool to pay the top prices there, the upgrade version of Win7Ult comes in at up to 469.90 Swiss Francs and I know I have seen the full retail version in shops at over 500 Francs.

    It's a similar story for Microsoft Office, once you get above the Home & Student version the prices are silly.

    To put those prices into perspective, the retail price of a Mac Mini is 649 Francs. Yes that's right, I can currently get a whole computer, OS included, for less than WIndows 7 Ultimate plus Office, and if a Mac Mini isn't your cup of tea, a reasonably swift Intel or AMD box with no OS can be had for a similar price and you can put the *nix of your choice on it.

    (For comparison, 1.00 GBP = 1.454 CHF,1.00 USD = 0.918 CHF )

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: It's welcome news for me in Switzerland

      You live in Switzerland and you use the handle 'Wensleydale Cheese'?!?[1] Shame upon thee! You probably live in the British outpost of Zug. That's like living in Cupertino, CA and using BSD.

      There are so many nice cheeses there - Emmental, Vacherin, Ziger, Tilsiter and Gruyère to name some famous oned. The list in Wikipedia [2] goes on.

      [1] Or whatever the correct sequence is to express righteous indignation.

      [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheeses_of_Switzerland

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Re: It's welcome news for me in Switzerland

        LOL @deadlockvictim

        Nope, not in Zug. I've got a great selection of Swiss, French and Italian cheeses 100 metres away from where I am sitting, and in either direction too, but cheese is one of my vices: I also have a good supplier of carefully selected British Cheeses in Switzerland. I picked the moniker when I was enjoying one of them.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Chemist

          Re: Re: Re: It's welcome news for me in Switzerland

          Hauskase from the Cabane du fromage, Saas-Fee - now you're talking !

      2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        British Cheeses can be good as well

        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheeses_of_Switzerland

        Yes, but neither should you ignore what's on your own doorstep:

        "British cheese has made a comeback":

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/10/map_of_the_week_cheese.html

        British Cheese in Swittzerland:

        http://www.cheeseclub.ch/en/thebritishcheesa.html

        Believe me, this guy's customers aren't just expats; he has plenty of Swiss customers too,

  24. David Evans

    well I'm definitely going to get downvoted on this one...

    Since Sterling devalued, there's been a pretty susbstantial lag in price adjustments for imported goods that's only really started to kick in over the last six-nine months. Relative to the Euro zone, and relative to the dollar (before sales tax/VAT), MS software (and lots of others - take a look at prices on Steam) has been cheap in Sterling. An adjustment is inevitable.

    This is the price the UK has to pay for "quantitive easing". Its all very well crowing about the basket cases in the Euro zone, but higher prices is the inevitable outcome of the UK not becoming Ireland or Italy.

  25. TiddlyPom
    Linux

    Why not migrate over an OS developed by a UK company Ubuntu/Canonical

    Well technically Canonical have created a distribution as the development is world wide. I have used Ubuntu as my primary desktop in a work environment for just under 5 years now. In terms of substitutions:

    * Ubuntu 11.10 instead of Windows 7

    * Ubuntu 11.10 (with SAMBA, OpenLDAP + GOSA) instead of Windows Server

    * LibreOffice 3.5 instead of Office 2010 (can now read Visio files as well)

    * CUPS-PDF to generate PDF outputs

    * Mozilla Firefox 10 instead of Internet Explorer 9

    * Mozilla Thunderbird/Lightning 10 instead of Outlook 2010

    * OpenProj instead of Microsoft Project

    * GNUCash instead of Quicken

    * Zimbra (or Citadel) instead of Microsoft Exchange

    * Alfresco instead of Sharepoint

    * MySQL (or PosgreSQL) instead of Microsoft SQL Server 2008

    * GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop

    * Empathy instead of MSN

    * Eclipse instead of Visual Studio

    * Jira and Jenkins instead of MS Team Foundation Server

    I can just hear the Microsoft supporters scoffing now. Not any longer. The dream IS possible. You do NOT need Microsoft OR Windows.(at all) - yes really (and yes I do swap documents/emails/messages and interoperate with people running Windows).

    Instead of buying Windows licences - why not donate money to open source based companies (like Canonical or the Fedora Foundation - much better value for money.

    http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2012/02/10/court-orders-refund-for-windows-tax/

    FUD fail. It is no harder to run a PC with a modern distribution of Linux than Windows - in fact many ways much easier.

    Have a look for yourself:

    http://www.ubuntu.com

    http://fedoraproject.org/

    http://www.opensuse.org/en/

    http://linuxmint.com/

    http://www.libreoffice.org/ (an office suite)

    Just think how many £millions we could save in schools and government if we migrated from Windows to Linux - and not be tied to one (nearly) monopolistic vendor.

    Instead of scoffing - why not (absolutely legally) download a copy of a Linux distribution and TRY IT!.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      @TiddlyPom - "Why not migrate ..."

      My you're keen :-)

      A damned good post, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not migrate over an OS developed by a UK company Ubuntu/Canonical

      I don't see the point of your comment.

      There are many free alternatives to MS software on Windows and over half those you mention already have free versions for windows anyway. Given that the purchase of a PC usually includes a version of windows(*) capable of running all that free software then there is no saving to be made.

      (*)You can rant on about the unfairness of this if you wish but if it hadn't been for windows then the PC would not have become as common place as it now is and you would only be able to have wet dreams about linux.

      Also, the only people who would claim linux is easier to manage than window are those such as yourself. You might consider having a different package manager for each variant of linux (apt, yast, yum and urpmi to name some) to be easier than windows but quite honestly, it isn't. And that's before getting to sometimes needing to install from source. Any operating system that requires a compiler for installing applications is only half finished. Oh, and then there are the different desktops. How can you consider something easier to maintain when there are so many inconsistencies across the numerous variants?

      1. Gabor Laszlo
        Facepalm

        Re: Re: Why not migrate over an OS developed by a UK company Ubuntu/Canonical

        [prices are from Munich, Germany]

        1. Office spec PC without Windows :300€

        Same box with Windows7 Home Premium: 380€

        Time to slap a Linux onto said PC and set it up: about 1h, or an average of 20min if done in bulk, counted at 30€/h: 10-30€

        (*) That's like saying that without McD we'd have all starved

        2. If you're deploying in an organization you'll settle on one distro/dm and stick with it. And if your IT guy is not braindead he'll pick one that's easy to maintain/patch/support (I'm partial to Mint myself, but that's a matter of taste)

  26. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Microsoft's single digit raise ...

    ... is their middle digit. Take the hint now because they will do it again next year.

  27. TiddlyPom
    FAIL

    Reply to Chris W

    I have heard the FUD about Linux being harder to manage rolled out so many time over the years, Perhaps a decade ago that would certainly be true but not today.

    Right. Not a fair comparison is it. Most people buy a laptop with Windows fully installed and configured and then just use it.

    My next door neighbour has an Acer laptop . It was running Windows 7 and running slowly with virus scanner, malware scanner, Acer supplied unnecessary software etc. He asked me what I used.

    I helped HIM install Ubuntu (he kept a paper log of what he did). About two hours later we have everything working (including multimedia). The laptop was MUCH faster under Ubuntu. He loved it and is still using Ubuntu and has loaded Ubuntu onto two friend's computers.

    This is very much a typical experience. Modern Linux distributions (like Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS etc) are EASY to use and to administer. Epic FUD fail!

    Do you think that Microsoft and Apple are attacking Linux (Android, Red Hat and other distributions) for no reason? Do you honestly think if Linux was that hard to use then they would be bothered?

    FUD fail again.

    Modern Linux distributions have graphical application managers which are very similar to App Stores in iOS and Android (by the way - Android IS based on Linux so anyone who is using an Android device is already using a Linux distribution!)

    Have a look at Ubuntu Software Centre - and decide whether the comment above is FUD

    http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/2011/08/screenshots-and-video-first-look-at-all.html

    Fail and FUD again :) Much easier than installing software on Windows IMHO!

    Not everybody will like Linux - that's certainly true but at least if there were PCs running Windows, OS/X and (say) a couple of Linux distributions then there would be better choice.

    BTW anyone who thinks there are no games for Linux have a look here:

    http://www.happypenguin.org/

    Finally - if you want some REAL propaganda - look here

    http://en.windows7sins.org/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reply to Chris W

      Unlike you I am not on a mission. I will use whatever is appropriate for the job and whatever you come up with linux desktop is not ready nor suitable for the masses. You've said it yourself.

      >Right. Not a fair comparison is it. Most people buy a laptop with Windows fully installed and configured and then just use it.

      Why isn't it a fair comparison? Because it doesn't suit your agenda? People want to use things they buy out of the box, I don't find that unusual. As for windows being slow? Repeat it often enough and you will believe it, many gamers would say otherwise. Personally I have always found linux desktop to be incredibly slow.

      Another quote

      >I helped HIM install Ubuntu

      Exactly. Do you think people will take the time to read all the how tos? The sheer number of linux how tos compared to those for windows speaks volumes about the suitability of Linux for the masses. Then you have to consider that many how tos to acheieve the same thing are different on different distributions of linux.

      Whatever you may think. Linux is not suitable for the rank and file.

  28. TiddlyPom
    FAIL

    Re: Chris W

    I too use whatever I need to get the job done. I use Linux, Windows and OS/X on a daily basis.

    My 'mission' (as you put it is) to show people that Windows is OPTIONAL - and that there is another option which is free, more secure and just as easy to use. If someone is happy with Windows then that is their choice - but if they are AWARE of another option then they can make their own mind up.

    Both my children (12 and 9) use Linux (their choice) - they were both offered OS/X and Windows (I had another 2nd hand Mac which I later sold) - both love the fact that they can legally download and use whatever applications they want :)

    TOS - I don't think so! Neighbour booted up laptop from live CD - took defaults from install (partition-wise) and asked one question (about doing updates during install). After reboot he needed one piece of help (to be pointed to the Medibuntu page) and needed no help from me (just did the cut/paste as directed on the page). Everything else was done from the Software Centre. Machine prompted him to load NVidia drivers (which he did).

    Total time - about 40 minutes (including actual installation from Live CD). After a glass of beer to celebrate (+ showing off using Firefox + LibreOffice to his wife).

    When Windows 8 appears and everybody has to relearn a new Windows yet again as with XP-to-Vista or Office 2010 - perhaps you will be shouting out about how much effort is required for people to migrate over and how much they have to read. No - I thought not :)

    Linux is NOT harder than Windows and is just as suitable for the "rank and file" (as you put it) as Windows is (or for that matter OS/X).

    Methinks you are terrified of people actually discovering that the "hard to use" FUD is just that - FUD. If a 12 and 9 year old child can use it as easily as Windows (and they actually think that Windows 7 is harder and non-intuitive) then so can anyone else.

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