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The W - Internet & Computers - Technet Direct
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wmatistic
Andouille








Since: 2.2.04
From: Austin, TX

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.08
I kinda figured most people knew this already but I've had more than one friend the past week be all suprised and happy to find it out so I'll share here too just in case.

If you aren't aware there is a "cheaper" yet legal way to get your hands on Microsoft operating systems and office products. Since Vista and the new office came out, you can go and purchase them for several hundred each ($400 for Vista, $680 for Office).

Or you can go to microsoft's website and sign up for Technet Plus. They have a new cheaper Direct version which means they don't ship CD/DVDs but you can download everything anytime. It costs you $350 for a one year subscription and you get access to pretty much everything but development software. So Windows XP, Windows Vista Ultimate, Server 2003, Office 2007 Ultimate, etc. No time stamp software, you are free to install and use on usually up to 10 PC's. Of course you can not use these in a "production" environment, which means at home to play around is fine just don't take them to work.

Anyway this sounds like an advertisement, but really it's a great deal if you are like me and want to have this stuff but not pay a crapload for it all. Not that $350 is super cheap but compared to full price I'll take it. While you lose ability to download new stuff after one year, you never lose the ability to install what you got during that time.

Oh but of course this is only for "evaluation" so once you decide if you like the stuff or not you should buy the full version. My problem is I take a long time to make a decision like that.

(edited by wmatistic on 13.2.07 1449)
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Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
This is a pretty thinly disguised tactic.

You are definitely violating the spirit of the agreement. I'm not a lawyer but I bet your home is considered a production environment, considering you don't have a development environment and a separate production environment.

In general, if there is only one environment, it is considered production.

Just buy a new PC if you are worried about the price. You can get a whole system for $400 as well.




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wmatistic
Andouille








Since: 2.2.04
From: Austin, TX

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.08
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    This is a pretty thinly disguised tactic.

    You are definitely violating the spirit of the agreement. I'm not a lawyer but I bet your home is considered a production environment, considering you don't have a development environment and a separate production environment.

    In general, if there is only one environment, it is considered production.

    Just buy a new PC if you are worried about the price. You can get a whole system for $400 as well.


I get what you are saying and it's close to a line there for sure. Here's what I can make of it.

"You may not use the evaluation software for software development or in an application development environment."

I don't do either of these at home. Only at work on fully licensed software.

"Can I use evaluation software received in my TechNet subscription at home?
In most cases, yes: the license grants installation and use rights to one user only, for evaluation purposes, on any of the userís devices."

So it's for "evaluation purposes" yes. But I have the right to install and use it at home. Evaluation purposes is not further defined and no time limit is placed on the software so that's their decision to leave the time period to me. If they felt strongly about putting a time limit on evaluations they could hard code it into the software, as they already do in many cases without a TechNet Subscription.

Basically I thought a lot about what you're saying before I went this route. I figure I'm doing what they legally allow me to do as per their definitions, I paid them a decent sum and I plan on renewing my subscription every year as well. So I don't "feel" as though I'm really doing anything wrong here and if MS did they wouldn't make it available in this manner with the rights to continue installing and using after your one year subscription ends. Just guessing of course but it made sense to me.

And I really do only use the Server versions for evaluation any playing around at home, never set up as full time servers. Linux is already a free way of doing that.
Plus yes I can get a computer that isn't anywhere near as powerful as what I already have, without Vista Ultimate and Office Ultimate for $400. Doesn't do anything for me.

As head of IT for my company I'm constantly aware of licensing rights so again this was a decision I had to think about but in the end I'm comfortable with it for my personal use.


(edited by wmatistic on 14.2.07 0605)
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.81
Well, a few things.

1) I'm an I.T. manager too. I'll see your Open Agreement and raise you one Enterprise agreement and a True-Up. (I'm being facetious here - You may have to deal with this as well. That's not the point... see #2) I'm pretty familiar with MS too. Microsoft likes to do things like give you an Enterprise key that will let you install software as often as you like, but you have to pay for all of the licenses... I liked it better when a PC tech couldn't accidentally add $10,000 worth of Visio installs.

2) Know your audience. It's one thing for I.T. guys to recommend to each other that they do this, but it is entirely another to post something like this for mass consumption. You probably have a pretty good idea that Microsoft Doesn't want every person in the world to use this program. If they did, it would be heavily promoted to the general public. Fact is, it is not - and probably should not be promoted as such by us here.

As an I.T. manager you at least have a plausible reason for running the software as evaluation. How does "Joe Sixpack" who hits this thread under "legal Vista free" or something know that he won't have this same reason if MS asks him about it?

3) Are you really evaluating software if you don't have any other place where you are a decision maker about purchasing software? I bet a court wouldn't see it that way. I'm not a lawyer, but again, Microsoft is a big company and they have gone after small businesses and individuals in the past. Why would you skirt legality when a) they have a record of who you are b) they know every piece of software you've downloaded c) they know how often and what you have activated? You don't think they can figure out a way to bill you for that if they feel like they should?

This thread was submitted under the guise of "Hey, don't buy Vista, use this program instead". Had you brought up this program in a different manner I probably wouldn't have even replied. I just don't want everyone here thinking that they can sign up for one year, "evaluate" everything they want to, not renew, and be good forever with the copies that were downloaded. I'm pretty sure this is what you were implying in the first post, and I'm pretty sure you are wrong.

You don't have to change your opinion - I just strongly encourage people not to follow your advice. It's my board and my prerogative.

Aaron

PS> It's like the guys who say you don't have to pay taxes. Sure, they get away with it for a while - some for a long while. Common sense tells you it is wrong and you shouldn't try to game the system, and inevitably these guys get their comeuppance. I'm not guaranteeing you are in the wrong, but common sense tells me that individuals who are not IT decision makers shouldn't try to take advantage of this program.




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Ignorance is bliss for you, hell for me.
wmatistic
Andouille








Since: 2.2.04
From: Austin, TX

Since last post: 1 day
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.08
Eh, I guess personally I find it very useful and figured some other people at a forum I post at would. Not used to thinking that posts here are easy to find with an online search. Spent too many years on Delphi I guess.

I agree MS doesn't want everyone using this, but I seriously doubt they would go after a typical home user. People they have gone after individually in the past were sources of pirated copies, not those that downloaded one. They'd be fighting their own definition of "evaluation" which they failed to give. I also doubt Joe Six Pack doing a search for free Vista is going to be any more willing to pay $350 than he was $1000. Cheap bastards are cheap bastards and they'll get it for free by plenty of other means. Settling for $350 isn't their style.

Delete the thread if it bothers you. I certainly do understand where you are coming from though we just disagree on the "risk" to a typical home user.


(edited by wmatistic on 14.2.07 1131)
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I would say check your security settings in IE, and make sure you don't have a pop up blocker turned on.
- wmatistic, Windows Update help (2005)
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