WGA and Activation Failures Don’t Faze Redmond

WGA and Activation Failures Don’t Faze Redmond
While Microsoft insists that problems with the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program are much overblown — claiming last week that “only a fraction of a percent” of the systems that fail the WGA verification are actually legal — Microsoft’s customers keep saying otherwise. What’s worse, the WGA false negatives are leading to increasing number of situations where customers run afoul of XP’s product activation, leaving them to beg Microsoft and/or their PC vendor to help.

A few days ago Windows XP on my primary work computer decided that it wasn’t a legal copy. Strange since the copy running on there was pre-installed at the time that the machine was built by Alienware. There used to be a Windows serial number on the back of the machine, but the sticker has since fallen off. What’s worse, as soon as I started receiving the dreaded, “You may be a victim of software piracy…” notices, I also started noticing increased system instability. All of this culminated in what I can only assume was some form of malware infection, a hardware crash (related to my soundcard), and a pretty complete system failure.

I was angry for a moment, but then I realized: I don’t much like Windows anyway. So I wiped the offending garbage from my machine and installed Ubuntu Linux. All in all a painless process.

The truth is, Ubuntu “out of the box” is a little lacking (can’t play proprietary video formats, run PC apps, is missing much needed apps, etc), but with the use of an installer script called Automatix, I now have a free, highly functional, and stable OS. And it’s pretty to boot.

This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted a switch to Linux, but it is the first time that I’ve made the switch and am going to stay switched.

63 responses to “WGA and Activation Failures Don’t Faze Redmond”

  1. I’ve got the best of all worlds – Running OS X Tiger on my new Intel iMac, simultaneously running Ubuntu 6.06 and FreeBSD 6.1 in Parallels. And I’m in the process of buying WinXP to run via BootCamp so that I can play some cool games.

    Funny how times have changed. When I had my first MacPlus, people used to laugh and say it was a toy only capable of playing games. Now, the only reason I want/need Windows is to play games.

  2. @meme:

    “Get a mac already.”

    NO! I switched AWAY from Windows and the offerings of Microsoft to Ubuntu Linux because I wanted FREE and OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE and SOLUTIONS! Mac and closed source zealots get it through your head: FREEDOM DOES NOT EXIST IN CLOSED SOURCE! If we wanted to live in the world of restrictions and DRM, we would have chosen Windows and/or Mac BUT WE DIDN’T. If you enjoy your sandbox of closed source and DRM, by all means pour the bucket of sand over your head but leave us alone.

    Consider, for a moment:

    Is the popular iTunes application open source? Can I modify ITunes to work how I want it to or change it how I want to at the code level? Why not?

    Are the media format(s) that most iTunes users use on a daily basis open and free formats?

    Does iTunes run on Linux without WINE? What about all of the other applications for Mac? The OS itself?

    I shouldn’t have to PAY for a closed source operating system just to use a closed source program to open closed source document and/or media formats.
    I’ll go with Linux and free/open software ANY DAY vs. closed source!
    It’s all about philosophy, which IMO most people don’t understand let alone hold to.

    I don’t CARE what shiny applications exist on a commercial FOR-PAY operating system, if it isn’t free and open source then it doesn’t have a philosophy that I agree with.

    “Ubuntu is cool, but nowhere near as functional as OS X.”

    I call bullshit, did you read before posting? It said: ** Negative bullshit won’t post, so don’t even bother ** Free and open source software is more functional than shiny closed source applications could EVER HOPE TO BE. If I or someone else cannot modify an application for free or audit it for ourselves than we are right back where we started with the philosophy of limited closed source and we shouldn’t go there in our current state of human evolution, to do so would be to roll back over for certain corporations to continue to plunder us for another 10 to 20 years while we sleep wrapped in their closed source and DRM blankets of ignorance.

    I want my operating system and its programs to be free and open source. If a certain project stops, *I* or someone else can pick the ball up and roll with it instead of it dying in a stale version never to be updated.

    Some of us have been using computers for longer than Microsoft and Apple have existed and KNOW BETTER.

    Closed source zealots will either ignore or attack this post not because it contains errors, it doesn’t, but rather because it insults their low-brow nature.

  3. Hello James 🙂

    I’m part of the german Ubuntu forum ubuntuusers.de On our news portal we publish success stories about the switch to Linux. And it looks like, your story is a successfull one 😉

    Do you mind if we translate your article into german and publish it inside our blog?

  4. Every so often I go through the same revelation and decide to give linux a try…in the past, I’ve tried fedora, etc but in the end, I have to come back to windows for my game development activities primarily because the mass gaming customer base uses windows.

    I realize that this is a chicken and the egg scenario – but being a small developer, I have to use the platform that the customers choose.

    However, I do give it a try every so often…Unfortunately, I chose SUSE when I had the same decision recently, only to suffer through the nightmare that is setting up video drivers in Suse.

    Not to say that SUSE’s install isn’t slick – I was very happy with it – until I wanted to setup 3d acceleration support on the machine…

    Trying to get the ATI driver’s installed for the machine I was using to test SUSE was a freaking ngihtmare.

    Unfortunately, I was not aware of EasyUbuntu’s option to (hopefully) automatically setup the ATI drivers, so I’ll give that a try next, but overall, the simple process of installing drivers seriously turned me off lnux yet again.

  5. Welcome abord! I hope you bring Alice with you! (Awesome game!!!)

  6. Hi, glad to see one of the major “movers and shakers” of the games world making the break from windows.
    I use ubuntu to and it has a large caring community of support behind it on it’s forums. it really is made by humans for humans……..

  7. Because of your post I am trying Ubuntu and finding that I quite like it. Automatix made it extremely easy as well.

    Thanks again …

  8. Way to go Linux McGee.
    I started with linux 10 years ago and permanantly moved all my systems to linux about 5 years ago. Then 4 years ago i opened up a linux powered game center, we started on redhat 8 and quicky moved to redhat 9 and that was great until nov 2005 completed a switch to fedora 4 Actually we still have a redhat 8 machine running our database and it has been running for almost 5 years now and has not been rebooted or shutdown in at least a year and i have been very very happy and so have my investors, and it’s unstopable in that Gaming area. we run most of the popular games UT2003,2004,quake3/4 doom3,warcraft3,medal of honour,starcraft,farcry,C&C titles, etc. And they play flawlesly in native mode Well MOH is a little buggy “come on icculus” and under wine with a few tweaks to the windows native titles. down time weve never had that problem, and i run the whole backend on linux as well not a windows box in sight.
    Except the windows boxes coming in on the tech bench for that come in evey month or two for virus, spyware, BHO, rootkit removals etc…
    And (sorry to mention it agian) dealing with the WGA Problems that MS says does not exist. Some of these systems coming in are custom systems we build for our gaming clients and local CAD shops and we know it’s all genuine products, Were a freakin MS OEM authorized shop. But we do alot of linux systems Preinstalled these days we use whatever the customer wants
    there is a linux for every one ease of use all the way to the power users and developers needs.
    We actually turned down the recent PREY game center launch “free titles” for our center/cafe because there was no native linux client even though it does run flawlessly in a recent version of wine 0.9.14 and above and we know the engine used will run in linux, we decided thats not suporting the cause and will instead purchase savage when released.
    The microsoft noose is sliping and vista cant save it.
    I think even the big software corps are starting to see it MS is not your friend he will sleep with you till he has what he needs and then toss you, companies like macromedia/Adobe should be flocking to linux by now, that MS now has them in thier targets do they really think that flash /shockwave will be able to run properly in vista/IE7 when MS has thier competing products out ? It’s gonna be the whole caldera dos/Win 95 thing all over again. And MS will force market share away from them and bye bye macromedia or at the least hit hard like corel.

    And were just about to open 5 more centers in cities where the game centers have shut down due to the windows problems and these are centers where the guys knocked us for going with linux hmm and every one of em is shut down now.
    Well who’s laughing now.
    Oh and get this my insurance company insured my machines against malitious use,activity or hacking, unheard of for a business running windows.
    And i took that all the way to the

  9. […] Doom, Quake dev American McGee is fed up with Windows hassles and has decided to switch to Linux for good. “The truth is, Ubuntu �out of the box� is a little lacking, but with the use of an installer script called Automatix, I now have a free, highly functional, and stable OS.”read more | digg story […]

  10. i got a macbook pro that has two operation systems,
    an OS and Win.

    i love this computer!

    but when you are using it, i hate Itunes so i downloaded MacAmp instead.

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