[UPDATE: Of course, a year and 2 months after I wrote this, I switched to a Mac for full-time use.]

I just got a new workstation from Dell. It’s a doozy and while not the fastest machine available, by far, the fastest machine I’ve worked on. Whew. We picked it up from the Dell Outlet. It’s a refurbished unit but offers the same warranty as a new PC. How can you go wrong? So price for performance, its the fastest machine out there.

At any rate, I’m pissed. I’ve long known about the Windows Genuine Advantage bullshit, but never really experienced it until now. At work, I was able to avoid installing WGA because of our corporate licensing. This new PC for my home comes with XP Professional. What’s the first thing you do with any new Windows machine? Yep, go and download all of the updates. (Not go and have fun with it like you would on some other machines.)

So a few weeks after I’ve updated my machine with the latest updates, Norton Antivirus pops up and says, “Hey, we have an emergency, dude! Windows Automatic Update needs to run!” Okay, not a problem. Let me fire up that fancy automatic update wizard. Alright, I choose custom because I always want to know what I’m installing. Okay, it’s running… Wha?? There is only one item to install and it’s Windows Genuine Advantage. Ahhh, no, I’m not downloading this dude. I uncheck the box and hit continue.

Why don’t I just install it?

Because it’s a crock. There is no genuine advantage for the consumer in Windows Genuine Advantage program. We all know it is just checking to see if you are an honest consumer. I despise that they named it Genuine Advantage to fool Joe and Jill Consumer into thinking it was something valuable to them.

But if I purchased a valid copy, I don’t have anything to fear. Why not just install it and be done with it?

It’s the “principality” of the matter! I have an (essentially) brand new computer from Dell. I’m not going to stand to be treated like a pirate because those greedy bastards want to find whatever way possible to make more money. I’m a software developer myself. I despise piracy. To find your product being pirated is very disheartening and it pisses you off. But to disenfranchise your existing customer base with a software based lie detector under the pretense that it is good for them is absolutely despicable. In my eyes, it’s worse than people pirating software. It’s calling me guilty of piracy until I prove my innocence. On top of that, its holding me ransom until I submit to their policy. (Your computer will be insecure unless you prove to us that you paid for you copy of windows. See wikipedia’s entry) This is even worse because it’s their inability to create a secure product that allows them to force this on the public.

I don’t know when we as consumers and citizens of the United States of America decided to accept this type of guilty until proven innocent policy, but I don’t recall seeing the memo.

So they can take their software updates and shove them you know where. If I can’t keep my computer secure then I will finally take the jump and completely, 100%, switch to another operating system.

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