Microsoft denies some Vista editions to run virtualized

Posted by virtualization.info Staff   |   Friday, October 13th, 2006   |  

Readying the launch of the incredibly suffered Windows Vista, Microsoft is clearing last important details and published the new EULA for XP successor.

The new license astonishingly disallow customers purchasing Vista Home Basic and Home Premium to use their brand new OS inside any kind of virtualization platform:

USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES.
You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.

While the use of may not is very confusing, it suddenly becomes clear compared to explicit permission reported in Vista Ultimate:

USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES.
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.

Another very important thing to note is this license term doens’t apply only to Microsoft, VMware and Xen-based virtualization platforms, but also hits other virtualization technologies, like OS partitioning offered by SWsoft with its Virtuozzo.

Where is the benefit in disallowing virtualization of lower-end operating system editions? This move is dimming value of virtualization and seems totally against the huge investment Microsoft itself done so far, offering Virtual PC and Virtual Server products free of charge.

Update: Ed Bott published on his ZDNet blog a very interesting follow-up of this story, detailing in an interview with a Microsoft representative several scenarios.

I still believe this licensing term is very inadeguate to satisfy raising needs of virtualization.

Each Microsoft Windows customer should be allowed to install his own OS on bare metal (desktop or laptop) and be free as well to install a second copy inside a virtual machine, moving it wherever he needs (developer or not).

A comment to the Ed’s story underline how this new approach could be lead by problems Microsoft is having with Windows Product Activation (WPA) in virtual environments.
It’s evident WPA cannot remain as is if Microsoft really wants to change image customers have of the company and spread virtualization to gain back a dominant market position.

Changing the WPA is the solution, not licensing terms.



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