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FSF’s GNU spoiler for Windows 8 launch

Last Friday saw the launch of Windows 8, the latest “best Windows ever” (not again; isn’t that marketing slogan getting rather hackneyed after nearly 20 years? Ed.) release from the Beast of Redmond, backed by a marketing budget rumoured to be $1.5-1.8 bn.

However, the launch was not without its problems for MS, as reported by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The FSF crashed the Windows 8 launch event in New York City. A cheerful GNU and her team of 2 helpers handed out DVDs loaded with Trisquel GNU/Linux (a Linux distribution that meets the FSF’s very exacting definition of free. Ed.), FSF stickers and information about the FSF’s new pledge, which asks Windows users to upgrade not to Windows 8, but to GNU/Linux.

Windows 8? We've got GNUs for you!
Windows 8? We’ve got GNUs for you!
Gnu handing out FSF stickers
It’s a Brave GNU world. Have a FSF sticker
Have a GNU/Linux installation DVD instead sir!
Have a GNU/Linux installation DVD instead sir!
Windows 8 will cost you $70 at Amazon; our OS if free!
Windows 8 will cost you $70 at Amazon; our OS if free!

Here at Bristol Wireless, we concur with the FSF’s conclusion that Windows 8 is a downgrade, not an upgrade since it compromises users’ freedom, security and privacy. Some of the ‘features’ of Windows 8 identified by the FSF that Microsoft won’t tell potential users about are:

  • Restricts freedom: Windows 8 is proprietary software. At its core, it’s designed to control its user. As a user, you can’t modify Windows 8 or see how it is built, meaning Microsoft can use its operating system to exploit users and benefit special interests.
  • Invades privacy: Windows 8 includes software that inspects the contents of your hard drive and Microsoft claims the right to do this without warning. These programs have misleading names like “Windows Genuine Advantage.”
  • Exposes personal data: Windows 8 has a contacts cache that experts fear may store sensitive personal data and make users vulnerable to identity theft.

NB: This is a revised and supplemented version of an original post from the chief scribe’s blog.