Something Can Be Done About It
“Some downloads are made available only after users have validated their versions of Microsoft Windows. Firefox and Netscape Navigator browser users may install a helper program, the Windows Genuine Advantage plug-in, to enhance their download experience.“
I’m not sure precisely what this means. I think that the inference is that when you can download the software, it enhances the experience – more so than if you’re prevented from doing so.
Personally, I think the whole WGA (“Windows Genuine Advantage“) issue is a enormous framework and hassle trying to solve the absolutely wrong problem. It’s the same thing as DRM and all of the woes that befall anyone trying to live with DRM-based music. It ends up being more hassle than it’s worth.
If you’ve really bought something, just be truthful about it, and don’t tell harmful lies. The simplicity of just having and following a moral code like this is more powerful than any DRM solution there could be.
Likewise, it just doesn’t pay to steal. You can tell people that, or you can educate them on it using an easy text like The Way to Happiness.
This is the reason why you have big banks, insurance companies, hospitals, credit card companies, etc all getting and distributing TWTH to all of their customers. You can harp at someone to be good, you can make it really uncomfortable and inconvenient for them to be bad, but in the end — if you target the actual problem, which is declining moral values in society, you’ll have ended up making a positive change. As opposed to more digital rights management, more restrictions, more whack solutions to try to make it more and more difficult to pirate software, etc. All you end up getting there, in Microsoft’s case, is people moving over to Linux because they can’t stand the hassle.
It’s the same in the music industry, and look what’s happening with the DRM trend. People are fed up with it.
So, let’s try to buck the trend a bit and actually attack the heart of the problem. Sure, it’s way bigger of a subject to tackle (the international decline in moral values) but in the end it will end up solving way more than just my download of Windows Media 9 encoder. That’s for sure.