Tuxicity's source

February 24, 2007

Microsoft imposes Vista tax on Mac and Linux virtualization

Filed under: Virtualization — tuxicity @ 2:38 pm

Original from VISTA.BLORG.com

Computer users wanting to run Vista on Mac OS or Linux will have to buy an expensive version of Vista if they want to legally install it on their systems using virtualization technology.*

The end-user license agreement for the cheaper versions of Vista (Home Basic and Home Premium) explicitly forbids the use of those versions on virtual machines (eg a Mac pretending to be PCs):

“You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system,” the end user license agreement states.

However, the more expensive Vista Enterprise and Ultimate Editions, can be installed on a virtual machine. From the end user license agreement:

“You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.”

Microsoft says that it originally considered banning Vista on virtualization systems because of concerns it has about security. Apparently AMD and Intel have built virtualization hooks into their CPUS. While the aim of this was to allow virtualization to work better, Microsoft claims that it created a security flaw.

“We’re balancing security and customer choice,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Associated Press.

The Home Basic version of vista costs US$199, compared to US$299 for the Enterprise edition (the cheapest version of Vista for everyone else, compared to the cheapest version of Vista for Mac users). This means that Mac OS and Linux users are being slugged an extra $100 (let’s call it a tax) for simply wanting to run Vista on virtualization system.

It also seems that even if you do buy and install the more expensive version of Vista on your Mac, you’re not able to play or access content protected by Microsoft’s digital rights management system, for fear that the full volume disk encryption won’t work.

Parallels Desktop for Mac is a hardware emulation vitalization software package that allows Mac users to install Vista on their systems. The head of marketing at Parallels, Ben Rudolph, is understandably upset by Microsoft’s licensing policy:

“To me, this strategy could hold back users who embrace cutting-edge technologies like vitalization, which means they won’t upgrade to Vista. This means that Microsoft has effectively lost an upgrade customer (in the case of Windows PCs) or an entirely new customer (for Mac and Linux users),” wrote Rudolph on Parallel’s official blog.

* Incidentally the Vista end-user license agreement does not forbid the installation of Vista using Apple’s Bootcamp. However, if Vista is installed using Bootcamp, you cannot run it concurrently with Mac OS. With Bootcamp, all you’ve got is a PC living in the body of your Mac – you can either use the PC or use the Mac, not both at the same time. In which case, what’s the point?


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