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Vista to be Downloadable (Legally) 283

Posted by Zonk
from the hopefully-in-a-burnable-format dept.
ubermiester writes "InfoWorld reports that Windows Vista will be available for legal download as of January 30th — the same day it will be available in retail stores. MS-NBC Online notes that, 'a relatively low number of computer users are likely to get Vista by downloading it from the Internet, but the mere availability indicates that Microsoft is fiddling with distribution methods for the extremely profitable franchise at the core of its business.' It will be available via the MS Marketplace site in conjunction with a Circuit City offering. Additionally, users who decide to 'upgrade' to a more expensive version of the OS can simply activate the features they want by unlocking them via online activation."
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Vista to be Downloadable (Legally)

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  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Threni (635302) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:30PM (#17672208)
    Next you'll be telling me you can buy car stereos from a shop, in a box and everything!
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

      by x2A (858210) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:38PM (#17672362)
      I wouldn't pay too much attention;

      "a relatively low number of computer users are likely to get Vista by downloading it from the Internet"

      We know that bit's not true!

      • by symbolic (11752)
        Whether it's for general use, or just to have a look, who wants a locked-down, glorified media OS on their machine? I sure don't.
        • by x2A (858210)
          Ya can hardly call it "locked down" if your first act with it is to bypass paying for it by downloading a cracked version *lol* come on!!!

        • by Spike15 (1023769) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:26PM (#17675460)

          Whether it's for general use, or just to have a look, who wants a locked-down, glorified media OS on their machine? I sure don't.
          It's a great gaming OS...so...being a gamer...I do...
          • by Keruo (771880) on Friday January 19, 2007 @04:07AM (#17677934)
            > It's a great gaming OS

            Windows Vista Ultimate +3 games(well you get hearts, minesweeper and solitaire..) $450
            (above does not include any hardware, add $1500 for semi-decent gaming system)

            Microsoft Xbox 360 core ($299) + 3 games of your choice (~$150) $450

            Nintendo Wii ($250) + 3 games of your choice ($150) $400

            Sony playstation 3 basic ($499)+ 3 games of your choice ($150) $650
            (add $1000 for semi-decent tv for consoles)

            Truly great gaming platform, no doubt..
            You could buy x360, wii and decent tv and still have some money to spare, where your vista rig doesn't even have any games yet.
    • Get the facts first! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:44PM (#17672478)
      Give this a read before buying Fista:

      http://seclists.org/isn/2006/Dec/0107.html [seclists.org]

      • by VertigoAce (257771) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:04PM (#17675232)
        First of all, as far as I can tell, that article only applies to HD-DVD and Blu-Ray content. For example, "since S/PDIF doesn't provide any content protection, Vista requires that it be
        disabled when playing protected content." I tried this with DRM protected audio (streaming from Zune Marketplace) and sure enough it played on my surround sound system with no problems. Similarly, I played a DVD with DTS audio perfectly fine over the optical cable (Vista actually made this easier since it ships with a DVD decoder, unlike XP which requires you to purchase a 3rd party decoder). In other words there is no loss in functionality with respect to existing DRM-protected media (i.e. if it worked on XP it'll work the same on Vista).

        So if these problems only apply to HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, I don't see them as a criticism of Microsoft and Vista, but rather to the content producers who demand these changes. As far as I know, Apple has not announced the details of commericial HD playback, but I'd be surprised if they produce something with significantly fewer restrictions. And obviously Linux won't be supporting these discs legally any time soon. It seems to me that the best option is to just continue ignoring the existence of these new discs and you won't be affected by any of this.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:31PM (#17672224)
    Http://www.mininova.org
    Http://www.packetnews.com
  • Just a few? (Score:5, Funny)

    by whterbt (211035) <m6d07iv02@sneakemail.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:31PM (#17672226)

    A relatively low number of computer users are likely to get Vista by downloading it from the Internet.

    They're obviously unfamiliar with the concept of Bittorrent.

    • Personally I was going to say ...

      "A relatively low number of computer users are likely to get Vista by buying it in store.

      Seriously, what is the benefit of adopting a new operating system with in 12 to 18 months of it being released?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Seriously, what is the benefit of adopting a new operating system with in 12 to 18 months of it being released?

        What, you're saying I should only now be considering moving my operating systems to Debian Sarge?

        Ye gods.

      • by Khuffie (818093)
        I've been using Vista beta's since summer. You don't notice it at first, but now it annoys me when I return to Windows XP at work.
    • Speaking of which, does anybody know how big Vista will be? I'm guessing somewhere in the 1GB range. That's a pretty large file to download. Bittorrent is the best way to do it, but I don't think MS will go for it.
      • Re:Just a few? (Score:4, Informative)

        by asills (230118) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:47PM (#17672524)
        If they release the same version that got released via MSDN/Technet (one disc image with all versions on it), then it's 2.5GB for the x86 and 3.5GB for the x64.
        • by malsdavis (542216)
          Out of interest, why is the x64 version almost 50% bigger?
          I realise that this is somewhat inherent in 64 bit processor designed apps, but never thought it was anywhere near that much.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by zxnos (813588)
            my guess would be the 32-bit sandbox for legacy apps. perhaps if it ran pure x64 it would be half the size? dunno. no a computer guy, just speculating.
          • Poorly designed code (Score:2, Informative)

            by DrYak (748999)
            Various reason to explain the discrepencies :
            - Poorly designed/optimized code will load all constants ('imediates' in machine code nomenclature) from 64 bits representations rather than 32 bits representations. In other words : all constants eats twice as much space as before.
            - Prefixes : On 32-bits processors, you need to use an opcode prefix to specify you work on 16bits instead of 32bits. In 64-bits machine code you have an aditionnal prefix to specify 32bits instead of 64bits data width. In other words,
      • by jonnythan (79727)
        OK, think for a minute about the bandwidth Microsoft must have available to handle the release of a major Service Pack for Windows.

        Also, Microsoft had to deal with a huge rush of giant downloads when they made the release candidates for Vista freely downloadable from their website. Thousands of thousands of people were simultaneously downloading at high speed.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by asills (230118)
          And they're paying Akamai (or whatever content distribution network they're using) out the arse for it too I'm sure. Luckily for Microsoft, that's not their turf so they just shell out some money and it doesn't completely fill the tubes.
    • Re:Just a few? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:47PM (#17672512)
      No, Bittorrent will be where you go to find older versions of Windows, so you can get component video, or maybe just a stable system with no "tilt bits" purposefully introduced every time the compressor turns on in the kitchen fridge.

      I must be turning into an old person, the kind you see still using rotary dial phones and rabbit ear antennas. Who needs this newfangled Vista crap! In my day, when you bought music or a movie, it was yours! Now they want you to rent every pleasurable stimulus that enters your senses! These city folk will do anything for a dollar!
    • Sorry, but in my experience downloading an iso from Microsoft is heck of a lot easier and quicker then bittorrent. Microsoft has quite big pipe on their end, and if their distribution method is at all similar to their technet and msdn downloads, it will be just a matter of downloading the iso and receiving your key. On both technet and msdn downloads, it only takes 1 to 3 hours to download vista on an ordinary DSL line.

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        The MS download manager is actually quite good now.. it used to be the height of suckage but all the MSDN subscribers complaining motivated them to do something about it.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:32PM (#17672242)
    you could just activate the individual features you are interested in, rather than have to buy say vista ultimate just to get one feature you need that happens only to be in ultimate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lord_Slepnir (585350)
      Except for the clueless users that would disable "Firewall" to save $5.

      not to mention that Microsoft would then have 2^n versions of windows to test, instead of just 3 (Diet Windows, Regular Windows, Server Windows).

      • Except for those say behind a real firewall...in which case they would not be clueless at all.
      • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:48PM (#17672546)
        $5 for windows firewall? is it worth that much?
    • Wouldn't it be even cooler if it weren't crippled? I mean, imagine actually getting access to every feature of the OS on your machine just buy getting the basic license.
      • You can. But if you don't want to pay the full price for getting access to every feature, there are other options available.
      • by Tim C (15259)
        You mean like you get all the features and support of RHEL when you download Fedora?

        You pay your money and you take your choice; you don't get the features of the luxury edition of a car when you buy the basic model, do you?
    • by dissy (172727)
      It would be cool if you could just activate the individual features you are interested in, rather than have to buy say vista ultimate just to get one feature you need that happens only to be in ultimate.

      That sounds way too close to buying your OS and then purchasing the applications you need and installing them seperate.
    • by westlake (615356)
      you could just activate the individual features you are interested in, rather than have to buy say vista ultimate just to get one feature you need that happens only to be in ultimate.

      Too complex for a mass market distribution.

      Ultimate seems to target the professional who needs a secure, high-performance, home office machine, but also enjoys media and gaming. Someone who would be inclined to spring for the whole package, anyway.

    • yum-my (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toleraen (831634)
      Sounds good, until that one feature you want requires twelve other features to be installed. It'd be just like yum, except instead of asking if it's ok to download 350MB, it asks if it's ok to charge you $350. Sign me up!
    • by pete6677 (681676)
      It would be even cooler if Vista offered any new features worth having. Between the high price and the high hardware performance cost, I'll be sticking with XP until its no longer available, or until "Longhorn" or whatever they're calling the new new version finally comes out.
  • we will lol (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Additionally, users who decide to 'upgrade' to a more expensive version of the OS can simply activate the features they want by unlocking them via online activation.

    You know what that means?
    Paired with the cracked activation server(s), January 31st you will be able to buy the most basic version and almost instantly be able to upgrade to the 'ultimate' for free.

    I'll go ahead and say 'I told you so' now, because ms's track record with security has, and always will be subpar at best.

  • OS Downloads (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tehSpork (1000190)
    ...a relatively low number of computer users are likely to get Vista by downloading it from the Internet...

    I would say that is accurate. If you're smart enough to be able to download Vista you can download your favorite Linux distro instead with less effort. It also stands a good chance of working with your hardware, unlike Vista. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rbarreira (836272)
      If you don't count your wireless card, your USB DSL modem, your scanner...
  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:40PM (#17672382) Homepage Journal
    As much as some can hate Microsoft, this is good and others should follow. At least good for the environment, less hardware, less energy used for shipping. Of course, the ability to burn an Install and Crash/Recover DVD is essential. It even allows reaching the customers faster. I guess it would also be appropriate to continue shipping physical copies for those with limited Internet access and/or want the user manual. (I don't think this will significantly impact piracy. Piracy will occur anyway.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trelane (16124)
      As much as some can hate Microsoft, this is good and others should follow.

      Yep. Good thing Linux has been doing it for over a decade now. Nice to see Microsoft finally catching up. Now, if only they would get rid of the activation and Genuine (dis)Advantage crapola....

    • People will need to burn DVD's themselves, and they probably won't be as good at it as a professional orginization designed to print DVDs.

      That means more mistakes.
      That means more waste
      That means LESS good for the enviroment.
      • by Kesh (65890)
        You're forgetting:

        The packaging
        The manual
        The CD jewel case/DVD plastic case
        The shipping boxes, containers, etc.
        The impact of moving those shipping containers cross-country

        I think the offset from downloads would make up for a few CD/DVD coasters. Maybe not with this first Vista launch but, over time as more companies start doing this for their products.
    • As much as some can hate Microsoft, this is good and others should follow.

      "Follow"? As if Microsoft is somehow the "leader", the first to make either

      1. commercial, for-pay software, or
      2. operating systems, or
      3. office suites
      available for download?
  • by StarvingSE (875139) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:40PM (#17672384)
    I can just see the windows update icon popping up every few days on my windows XP machine.

    The following updates are available:
          [ ] Windows Vista

    Please click the upgrade button to download and have your credit card ready.
  • by anss123 (985305) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:42PM (#17672436)
    Linux, take that!
  • by UPZ (947916) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:43PM (#17672458)
    also if PirateBay relocates to Sealand..
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <.sherwin. .at. .amiran.us.> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:44PM (#17672476) Homepage Journal
    Otherwise, I assume this is just an MS attempt to cut down the (minimal) costs they spend on the useless mini-manual and DVD in an envelope packaging.

    You buy SuSE, you get 4 manuals that describe, in detail, every function of the system, from installing to CD burning to firewall configuration to scanning/printing.

    You buy Windows? You get a 12 page manual that decsribed the on button, and how to use a Mouse. Enjoy!
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:47PM (#17672532) Homepage
    Okay so I don't imagine myself participating as a consumer, I have to admit that if they play this right, they will be able to sell minimalistic versions of their OS (or pass them out in magazines and newspapers) just to get things started. Then, if people want more functionality, say to burn a CD/DVD or whatever, they pay for it incrementally. It would make the OS feel more affordable. I can imagine many people going for this.
    • by taustin (171655)
      I like the idea. How much of a discount to I get if I don't opt for the DRM package?
    • by westlake (615356)
      I have to admit that if they play this right, they will be able to sell minimalistic versions of their OS (or pass them out in magazines and newspapers) just to get things started.

      In two weeks, Vista will become the default OEM Windows install.

      In two weeks, holiday buyers will begin redeeming all those free upgrade coupons. Vista doesn't need a jump-start.

      Then, if people want more functionality, say to burn a CD/DVD or whatever, they pay for it incrementally. It would make the OS feel more affordable.

  • So? (Score:2, Funny)

    by workbench (875813)
    I don't see what the big deal is, I've been downloading stuff "legally" for years...

  • by assassinator42 (844848) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:59PM (#17672738)
    Through MSDN. You download the ISO and they give you a product key. Will the new download service work the same way?
    The bigger news is that Microsoft is also selling Office this way. I know I can't download Word/PowerPoint/Excel through MSDNAA, and I also believe that you can't download it from regular MSDN.
  • I wonder how many Microsoft Points that will cost.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I downloaded it from the internet!
  • Old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by HaMMeReD3 (891549)
    I guess most people haven't heard of msdn, where literally every microsoft product ever is available in downloadable form.

    Besides, it's obvious now that vista is out that nobody cares.
  • It seems as though the features will be included, but not activated... How long until a patch of some sort opens up that functionality?
  • by definate (876684) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:12PM (#17673828)
    If I purchase it online, will the pricing only reflect Online Marketing costs, Online Packaging costs, Online Distribution costs, and the same development costs as are associated with the physical product? Or will it be more like traditional vendors where we are in effect paying the whole amount, and therefor paying for part of the physical product?

    I highly doubt Microsoft will take into account activity based costing in respect to the product pricing. Especially since it would benefit them to charge the same amount or close to it, and improve the overall profitability of the physical product.
  • Question... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kahrytan (913147) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:26PM (#17674014)

      How long will it take to hack this so-called "digital locker"?
  • Somewhat on topic, apologies to be asking questions rather than spouting opinion :-)

    Re: the "Anytime upgrade" pricing schemes revealed here http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/jan0 7/01-17ConsumerOptionsPR.mspx [microsoft.com]
    "The manufacturer's suggested retail prices to upgrade to more premium editions of Windows Vista are as follows: Home Basic to Home Premium $79, Home Basic to Ultimate $199, Home Premium to Ultimate $159 and Business to Ultimate $139."

    I have, let's say a tricksy way of legally obtaining Vist
  • It's a cookbook!
  • Is this a favor or a threat?
  • The early adopters are generally the tech savvy ones, and in the past (think Win95 and XP launches) they are the ones who have been queueing up at midnight to buy the copies on the launch day.

    This then provides extra free publicity, as the queue story inevitably gets picked up by the TV news media, which in turn will drive extra sales, as "Joe Average" sees that and thinks "Must be good, if people are prepared to wait up until midnight for it".

    However, this time round, the tech savvy early adopters wi
  • Been there, done that. I had the choice of downloading either the x86 or the x64 version. As I don't have a 64-bit processor that cut down on my choices.

    Of course this was through my MSDN subscription and the DVDs turned up a couple of weeks later, anyway...
  • by Timbotronic (717458) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:12PM (#17675306)
    If I was buying Vista, I'd want to know that I could sell or transfer the license just as easily with a downloaded version as a boxed copy. Say 6 months later I belatedly see the light, decide to upgrade my machine to Ubuntu and sell my Vista license on eBay. I imagine that it'll be a lot harder to convince people it's genuine without a box, a physical DVD and a holographic sticker. Plus, I have to pay for a blank DVD to burn the download on.

    Regardless of the software you're buying that's a terrible value proposition. It doesn't make sense to me unless they're offering a substantial discount.

    On the other hand, I think this will actually be a good thing in countries like the UK where retail prices never reflect a fair currency conversion. (You poor Poms really do get screwed) A guess a lot of that mark up is tax, which for the moment most governments don't seen to have caught onto yet...
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Friday January 19, 2007 @03:33AM (#17677740) Homepage
    It'll be available for illegal download on January 29, 2007.

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