I’ve seen several sites point to Microsoft’s new Software License Terms page, which contains PDF versions of the license agreements for many Microsoft products.
I read through the license agreement for Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate (PDF) and saw lots of new language. Much of it just formalizes what Microsoft has been doing under separate agreements for some time, such as the Validation requirements introduced with Windows Genuine Activation.
But I have yet to see anyone point out one significant change in retail licensing terms. Think you can transfer that retail license to any machine you want? Think again.
Sections 15 and 16, “Reassign to Another Device,” and “Transfer to a Third Party,” are new. You can go read the exact terms for yourself. The sort version is that you may “reassign the license to another device one time” or “make a one time transfer of the software, and this agreement, directly to a third party.”
That limitation on retail licenses is a remarkable change. Previously, a retail license could be removed from one computer and reinstalled on another with no limits. Now, you get to reinstall one time and one time only.
Will this affect a lot of people? Not really. Those most likely to be affected are hobbyists who constantly rebuild, replace, and upgrade systems. Presumably, the new two-machine limit will be enforced by Windows Product Activation.
Is it any wonder that most computer hobbyists are switching to Linux? It’s almost as if Gates wants us to switch!