Microsoft fears Windows XP? – or Ylmf.OS?

Those pesky pirates! With Tomato Garden XP allegedly deployed to over 10 million users in China, one has to ask the question, isn't that what Microsoft wanted?

and a look at a new distro which aims to appeal to the Windows XP market with consideration of a recent ruling that has an XP “pirate” hit with a fine and jail.

Its a question Ive asked time and time again on this blog.  There are many sites reporting the new Ubuntu derived distro which aims to appeal to the Windows XP user.  I will cover that more towards the end of the article but for me,  this poses other questions in regards to the view Microsoft seemed to have in respect of XP, the future of Microsoft with it’s recent products and the question – what is Microsoft most frightened of?

Lets rewind to August 2008 when the people responsible for China’s most popular “cracked” version of Windows XP were arrested….

For those that don’t know, the version of XP in question was called Tomato Garden Windows XP and contained other full versions of software (cracked if you will) which could be downloaded for free.  And downloaded it was.  Reports state that approximately 10 million people took the opportunity to get their hands on this unofficial, unauthorised Microsoft product.

Skip nearer to present day and on August 20th 2009 a judgment was reached by the Suzhou Huqiu District Court which saw the maker of Tomato Garden XP hit with a $147,000 fine and a three and a half year term of imprisonment.

Before we look at this further, let’s remind ourselves of what Bill Gates had to say about “piracy” in China.  The following quote comes from Bill Gates in 2007, you can read an article on that here.

Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don’t pay for the software. Someday they will, though……And as long as they’re going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.

It appears he has been true to his word.  Its nearly 2010, 10 million people are seemingly “addicted” to Tomato Garden and sure enough Microsoft seems to be collecting.   Whilst I cannot and will not condone the “sharing” of material without the IP holders consent, does anyone see anything wrong with the way Microsoft have apparently been happy to let people “become addicted”?  Microsoft cannot be holier than thou (IMO) in regards to “theft” of code since its alleged that (albeit by a 3rd party contracted by Microsoft) they have done the same thing and it seemed a year before Bill Gates was more than happy for people to “steal ours” (his words).  Is this not at best entrapment?

I think we are all agreed you can’t “steal” code in the traditional sense, but for want of a better word, lets look for a minute at theft as defined in Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 (UK Law)

A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.

So by listening to Bill Gates in 2007, one could be forgiven for thinking that the “dishonest appropriation” element is absent from the “stealing” afterall Bill Gates said “we want them to steal ours” ergo no dishonesty, Bill Gates want’s you to steal it.  Taking this to a rather OTT extreme, one could also consider that the creator of Tomato Garden had a defense (of sorts) there.  This is, as I say, OTT, but for me highlights the hypocrisy of Microsoft.

Of course all this to me is really a moot point when you consider that Microsoft have already given XP a stay of execution and even in light of the fact its two versions behind the current product, people still want to keep using it.  Is this what Microsoft is most frightened of? People’s reluctance to move to what MS is offering today?  Maybe for many Windows users it’s nice to run an MS OS where your hardware exceeds the requirements of the OS itself and not find themselves in the middle of a performance battle which traditionally (IMO) was a combination of compromise and hardware upgrade.

It looks like XP but its derived from Ubuntu. I don't think Microsoft will be best pleased with a Gnome? replica of their GUI.

Here comes Ylmf OS!

With a name that rolls off the tongue?😉 Ylmf OS appears to the casual user as XP.  Currently the Ubuntu based distro has no English translation.  What does this mean for Microsoft?  Well if it becomes the “protest choice” of China then quite alot, its got a 10 million strong user base to attract.  You can visit the website of this distro here and I would ask if anyone knows of either a translation for the distro itself and/or the homepage, please let me know!

A threat to Microsoft?

I have a some questions in regards to XP, firstly why on the eve of the Windows 7 beta did the arrests occur of the Tomato Garden creator?  Why when XP is such old software (two versions behind 7 which Microsoft seem to tout as the second coming of operating systems) did Microsoft want to actively persue this XP clone?  What does Windows 7 offer which is not already offered by a smaller (and less hardware demanding XP) but most important of all, if people are being pursued now for products as old as XP, what does that say about Microsoft’s latest products and their confidence in them?

These are questions which only XP users reluctant to upgrade can answer.  In the meantime, I don’t think it will be long before a translation of Ylmf is available and you can bet Microsoft will be looking very closely at its options in regards to the GUI having an almost identical look to XP, even if it is Ubuntu derived.

If I had not “upgraded” to Vista from XP, I would probably not be writing a Linux blog.  It was my utter dissatisfaction with Vista that caused me to look elsewhere, which now in hindsight was the best thing I ever did.  As I come to the end of a long testing/review of Windows 7, I am left none the wiser as to what Windows can now offer me (that review will be here in the new year)

Maybe 2010 will be the year of the Linux desktop? Starting in China albeit with a clone of XP? – The mind boggles!  What a wacky digital world we live in!

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

25 Comments Add yours

  1. Newbie ;}

    My utter dissatisfaction with XP is why I will no longer run ANY Microsoft software. That utter piece of crud wasted too much of my time – time that Microsoft won’t pay me back for.

    And before that it was Win2K and ME. And before that it was 98SE, 98, and 95. The last decent version of Windows (and it wasn’t all that hot) was Windows 3.1

    I don’t know how much time and money Microsoft owes me for all of my time that they’ve wasted since they delivered DOS 1.0, but it is too damned much.

  2. openbytes says:

    😉

    Yep, I suppose I am!

    Although I did dual boot during my XP days…it did though take a rather good distro to convince me to remove all Microsoft products those years ago!

    Playing the “old” game though, my first experiences of running software were:

    Load “”

    “Start the tape and press any key”
    😉

    1. C64 with Dataset. Good system. Did you ever see GEOS on a C64? It made Windows look like crap.

      1. openbytes says:

        Good guess….close…

        Spectrum 48K! Never saw GEOS…I’ll look into it!

      2. Geos was available for both PC and C64, may have been available for other systems for all I know, but I had it on those two.

  3. “Its a question Ive asked time and time again on this blog. There are many sites reporting the new Ubuntu derived distro which aims to appeal to the Windows XP user.”

    LOL! There is the obvious history of Linux failure to crack into the mainstream PC desktop OS market, of course, but this effort adds the irony of trying to provide a clone XP as an offering of a “choice”! I think it shows how empty is the promise of Linux and FOSS in general. The effort is now to simply offer the user an ersatz product that is claimed to be good enough rather than offer a true alternative.

  4. “Of course all this to me is really a moot point when you consider that Microsoft have already given XP a stay of execution and even in light of the fact its two versions behind the current product, people still want to keep using it.”

    The point is not so moot for the incarcerated pirate, eh? As an aside, we can only wonder about the comfort level of Chinese prisons since neither A&E or MSNBC have run any documentaries or reality shows on them.

    In any case, Microsoft is currently providing XP, Vista, and Windows 7 as desktop OS choices in order to satisfy the wants of its customers. The wants of its pirate users can only be satisfied by the pirate providers.

  5. “Maybe 2010 will be the year of the Linux desktop? Starting in China albeit with a clone of XP? – The mind boggles!”

    Well, that line has been used many times in the past, starting in 2000, IIRC, and it seems so worn out today that I am surprised that you would use it in public.

  6. openbytes says:

    Amicus, let me answer the three posts in one. Firstly yet again I am telling you to read my post properly and also have a little common sense.

    “ts a question Ive asked time and time again on this blog.”

    Is in reference to the title is Microsoft fearing XP. It can’t be in reference to Ylmf because Ive NEVER mentioned it before (and didn’t even know about it)

    “LOL! There is the obvious history of Linux failure to crack into the mainstream PC desktop OS market,”

    This article has nothing to do with that. Please re-read and see its about XP, peoples love of it and the danger an XP “clone” of Ubuntu may be to MS when China was so much behind Tomoto Garden.

    “The point is not so moot for the incarcerated pirate, eh?”

    Im not going to debate the rights and wrongs of the judicial system in China and the “moot” point is the fact that this article is not looking into that more the bootleg version of XP.

    Quote “In any case, Microsoft is currently providing XP, Vista, and Windows 7 as desktop OS choices in order to satisfy the wants of its customers.”

    Really? Who WANTS Vista? What updates are there going to be with XP (except security) and what does 7 offer the person already running XP? – No need to answer, we’ve had an MS team leader here before and he couldn’t answer that either.

    Quote “Well, that line has been used many times in the past, starting in 2000, IIRC, and it seems so worn out today that I am surprised that you would use it in public.”

    I know your behaviour in COLA suggests otherwise, but I don’t think you are that slow. I think you know as well as everyone else this was a tongue in cheek off the cuff remark…

    Why is it Amicus, everytime you stop trolling in COLA to come here I have to waste my time explaining things to you that you should already know? Is that the intention?

    1. Don’t you wish that people learned how to read before they visited your blog?

      I know that I do.

    2. Well, I think that it is yourself that seems unable to understand your own words here. You are plainly suggesting that Microsoft somehow fears XP and therefore fears the Linux version that clones it. I say that Microsoft fears nothing of the sort. They don’t fear anything for that matter. Microsoft is on top of the world and all of you who are hopeful that anything and everything that occurs is a sure sign of their imminent collapse are just being silly.

      As to your “Really?”, the answer is “Yes!” Companies are still paying for new installations of XP, Vista, and also Windows 7. As to what is offered, there are a number of things changed from XP to Win7 of course and the same question could be asked of Ubuntu from one release to another.

      I don’t think that you have a very good understanding of “tongue in cheek” or “off the cuff” either. Unless, of course, you really meant to suggest that Linux coming into popularity in 2010 is a laughably silly idea. I guess that I could agree with that, since I believe it to be true, but I would be surprised to see the notion held by such an avowed Linux proponent. As to “off the cuff”, I cannot fathom how any sort of prepared and printed remark, such as provided in a blog, could ever be extemporaneously made. That is something restricted to direct speech.

      All of which brings us to the notion of “trolling”. I would submit that it is yourself who is trolling in COLA with you constant advertising of your own blog. I am not trying to get anyone to visit any other site, I simply comment, selectively, on things posted here and there. Perhaps you don’t understant trolling either.

  7. openbytes says:

    Quote “You are plainly suggesting that Microsoft somehow fears XP”

    I believe it does, hence my question many times in the past “What does 7 offer that cannot be achieved either natively or via 3rd party apps in XP”

    Quote “and therefore fears the Linux version that clones it.”

    Stop wasting my time (you like to try to find minor points to make big issues out of) I clearly use a question mark in the title, I clearly say that the Clone has a pirate users base to attract…not has attracted, to attract… I do not once say MS fears anything other than the sucessful platform it created with XP..stop being so silly.

    Quote “As to your “Really?”, the answer is “Yes!”

    Then answer my question. Who is wanting Vista? Where is the mass migration in enterprise to 7 and what updates (other than security) is MS offering on XP and until when?

    Quote “the same question could be asked of Ubuntu from one release to another.”

    and I never suggest otherwise…however in the case of Ubuntu you are not having to dip into your wallet to find out what those features are and if you really need them.

    Quote “I don’t think that you have a very good understanding of “tongue in cheek” or “off the cuff” either.”

    Well nobody but you seems confused, so I’ll let that speak for itself.

    Do you really think I was suggesting that Linux could overtake the massive market share of Windows in 2010? Are you serious? – When I said I didn’t think you were slow I may have to retract that. Of course it wont and as I say repeatedly popularity has nothing to do with how good a system is for an end user.

    Quote “As to “off the cuff”, I cannot fathom how any sort of prepared and printed remark, such as provided in a blog, could ever be extemporaneously made. That is something restricted to direct speech.”

    Cant you? Again you must be slow. The point of my blog is to add a personal touch, I try to write as if Im having a direct conversation and I try to lighten the mood with a few “off the cuff remarks” If people want to read a more generic news article there are plenty of sites which provide the news in that way.

    Quote “All of which brings us to the notion of “trolling”. I would submit that it is yourself who is trolling in COLA with you constant advertising of your own blog.”

    Really? Thats not what the Linux advocates think, infact the only people who complain about my .sig are the people the group call the Wintrolls, the vulgar, rude individuals who try to cause disruption in the channel.

    Quote “Perhaps you don’t understant trolling either.”

    You are slow aren’t you! When you refer to my advertising of my blog, you are reffering to spamming (which its not as its only in my .sig and hardly forced upon anyone who can killfile) Trolling is the starting of arguments, posting material that causes disruption. You are that troll. You may notice I have changed the link in your handle (it goes to a Microsoft site) are you either a/trying to provoke a angry response from me? b/ Trying to advocate MS tech or c/ implying that your view represents Microsoft?

    I hope you have learnt something today. I will though end by giving you the definition of troll (which has nothing to do with my .sig or me having links to my site in it)

    This def comes from wikipedia:

    “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[2]”

    And I don’t understand the term troll? lol….Try harder Amicus…much harder….read first, you might learn something.

    1. Perhaps you don’t yet understand the concept of “release train” as used in commercial software products. XP was Windows Version 5.1, Vista was Windows 6.0, and Windows 7 is Version 7.0. MS has nothing to fear from XP, rather XP has served its purpose and I am sure that MS is rightfully proud of that. Vista was installed in about 500 million computers during its 3 year reign as the “latest Windows for the desktop” and now Windows 7 is shipping at the same sort of rates. It is silly to ask “Who wants Vista?”. Many Windows users were somewhat shocked at the rigors needed to adopt to the Vista security model, having grown accustomed to one-clicking for just about everything, regardless of the lack of security inherent in that process.

      Whether such enhanced security is necessary or not can be debated, but it plainly was not well received and Windows 7 changed many of the ways that it was being implemented in order to substantially soften the burden on the unwilling user.

      As to whether or not I think that you think that Linux can overtake Windows, I tend to lump all of you Linux fanatics in the same sack and, whether they believe it or not at their core, the Linux fans sound the same mantra in regard to the coming of the day that all the world’s computer users will suddenly awaken and make the, to the Linux fan, obvious choice. If you think that never will happen, I can believe your statement.

      As to trolling, my definition is that it is akin to the same term used in fishing and relates to catching a fish. It is what you are doing with your web site advertising.

      1. Perhaps you don’t yet understand the concept of “release train” as used in commercial software products. XP was Windows Version 5.1, Vista was Windows 6.0, and Windows 7 is Version 7.0.

        Correction – Windows 7 is Version 6.1. Get your facts right.

      2. openbytes says:

        Hang on a minute, how does this work? First off you claim I don’t know the definition of troll. I correct you. Now without appology you are accusing me of something else which the user below has had to correct you about being wrong again. Is this the latest fad, accuse people of not knowing something whilst getting it completely wrong yourself? Ok. Lets look at your post.

        Having read your first paragraph (which I won’t quote) what on earth has this to do with anything? The only part of my opinion I can see it relating to is the point about people not wanting Vista. Which IMO they dont. Even the CEO of Microsoft admitted that the problems of Vista was because of listening to early good reports (and infact when asked to comment on Windows 7 wouldnt for that reason – too early I believe he said, or words to that effect.)

        Quote “As to whether or not I think that you think that Linux can overtake Windows, I tend to lump all of you Linux fanatics in the same sack and, whether they believe it or not at their core, the Linux fans sound the same mantra in regard to the coming of the day that all the world’s computer users will suddenly awaken and make the, to the Linux fan, obvious choice. If you think that never will happen, I can believe your statement.”

        Complete rubbish. “All you Linux fanatics”…? This article was about XP and how its popularity with the customers is MAYBE a fear of Microsoft who are trying to sell you latest products.

        Linux cannot overtake Windows market share in 2010, its far too quick…if it were to happen it would, IMO be very unlikely in 12 months, if not impossible. That was not what this article was about and Amicus I am saying for the forth time now, read my posts properly, lest you look silly.

        Quote “As to trolling, my definition is that it is akin to the same term used in fishing and relates to catching a fish. It is what you are doing with your web site advertising.”

        Ah..ok..good try to claw your way of out a silly comment. So you disagree with the mainstream definition of what troll is? Fine…You try achieving whatever agenda it is on this blog and COLA with that view….maybe I will take a few definitions and make up my own interpretations. We can debate them for years.

        Don’t be so silly Amicus and please don’t waste my time with this tot. If you continue down this time wasting counter (and normal adults manage to counter sensibly, who are more than welcome here) then I will have to respond to you less. This is wasting my time typing to you and your non-arguments about….whatever distraction you are trying to push.

  8. Oh dear.

    Troll

    Just to make sure that amicus curious understands the term.

  9. Chips B Malroy says:

    Openbytes says: ” Why when XP is such old software (two versions behind 7 which Microsoft seem to tout as the second coming of operating systems) did Microsoft want to actively pursue this XP clone?”
    ——————————————————–
    Because XP is still the only, let me repeat, its the ONLY windose OS that will almost run on most hardware still available. Plus it has less bloat and DRM than the newer Windose systems that most educated people reject.

    But there is more for the reasoning of M$ to sue and put these 4 behind bars. Like the Russian court case with the Headmaster, this was a way to test the resolve of these two countries to enforce M$ licensing of Windows etc. Its about control, not money. There is no money. As the folks in China that got Tomato XP, cannot afford to buy a licensed version of XP from Micro$oft.

    Also, a couple of other points about Tomato XP and other bogus type of XP releases available from various place. One was a highly hacked version of XP that was even wrote about on one of the main websites that cover MS Windows. Why? Because some of these hacked versions of windows are far better than what MS releases, to put it simply. Some are setup better out of the box, without the stupid defaults that MS uses, some have IE removed, some have the latest service packs/hotfixes/patches integrated etc, at least according to the reviews I read. Simply put, they are putting out a better product than MS. Although at heart its still a windose product and therefore a Malware target.

    Think of this when thinking of epic M$ failure: its always XP that MS sues to prevent copy’s from being sold. Almost nobody wants the newer MS mess. The more M$ clinches its fist, and denies users XP, the more users will slip through its fingers.

  10. Chips B Malroy says:

    And now some comments on Ylmf.OS. Because this could be the more important of the two, since its open source and gnu/gpl/linux software.

    First thanks to Boycott Novell for the first two links:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2010/01/01/clones-of-microsoft-ylmf-os/

    The second link I found though BN, is sort of scary in way, as its Windows type site blogger pretending to be an impartial professional blogger that is neutral. Clearly M$ Nick is anything but impartial and is very biased toward M$ which also pays advertising on the site he blogs on. What is scary, is the suggestion, or the implication of the suggestion that M$ would have a court case against YLMF Linux, because they made it look like XP.

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/189551.asp

    Micro$oft tried to sue Lindows at one time, for copyrite infringement, as M$ contended the name was too close to “windows.” But ended up settling out of court, having to paid Lindows a fair amount (but undisclosed) of money to just change the name to Linspire. In China, M$ would get even less respect in the court system, IMO. Also, because it looks like XP, and the interface also works similar, does not mean one has a case to sue. If that were so, both Apple and KDE would have court cases in spades against M$ for Windows Seven, which practically ripped off the Mac OS X task bar, to cite just one example.

    While Openbytes gave the home page for YLMF, it is in Chinese, so I thought I would post a download link and the easy way to convert the language pack to English for others.

    http://www.download4a.com/Linux/System-Utilities/Other-Utilities/Install-Ylmf-OS-XP-like-Ubuntu.html

    http://etricks.in/2009/12/ylmf-os-ubuntu-made-to-look-like-windows-xp.html

  11. openbytes says:

    Thanks for the links Chips!

    Sorry about AKISMET holding your comment. I am not sure why it sometimes does that.

    When I do a followup article, I will include your links!

    Cheers!

    Happy new year

    Goblin.

  12. Chips B Malroy says:

    Yes, Openbytes, a follow up article by you will of course be well worth the read, thanks in advance.

    Noticed a couple of the comments in Nicks article (2nd link) that were interesting. One commenter had trouble finding the username/password for ylmf, since this is in Chinese, it could be a little hard to find. The other comment was about the Chinese Linux Unified Kernel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Kernel

    Since Nick’s article clearly does state that it uses Wine, my thinking is it does not use this unified kernel. Also, this brings up the question of is this a fork of the Linux kernel?

    China, I believe, like the EU, does not have software patents, and since YLMF is basically another GNU/Linux with Wine (FOSS) its very hard to see exactly where Microsoft would have any case to sue them. The very real fear, I believe, is that Wine has gotten to the level of running a lot of Windows software, better than Windows can. Not to mention that a newer Wine keeps coming out about every month with improvements.

    1. Renegade8100 says:

      http://www.ylmf.org/en/

      Its english now, Installed it on my girls laptop. The distro is 10.04 lts atm and has full english support. My gf likes it from xp. Crashes less.

  13. jane says:

    I just started blogging a while ago and it feels great

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