Free (legal) Vista? .. how can I loose?
Microsoft have (quietly) started up a Feedback Program supported free version of Windows Vista Ultimate as well as other ‘popular’ software including Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, Microsoft Money Premium, Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, or Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008. In order to qualify, you must agree to either one or both of the following programs:
“The survey feedback program. When you join the survey feedback program, you’ll be invited to take a survey on a regular schedule. If the survey arrives at a time where you are busy, you skip that one and take the next one instead. You will not receive more than a survey every two weeks.
The automated feedback program. When you choose to participate, most of the work is done behind the scenes, with no additional effort, time requirement, or inconvenience to you. Occasionally, we might send you an invitation to participate in a survey or another feedback program to get additional information about your use of computers but, in general, you only hear from us if we make significant changes to our data collection method or if we want to offer another feedback program to you that you might be interested in.”
I have not had a chance to go through the program to see if there are any limitations other than periodic usage reports / surveys from Microsoft however if you are interested in upgrading to any other these pieces of software, it might be worth considering as a ‘demo.’ This idea is not a new one, versions of Microsoft Office have had voluntary opt-in usage statistics since Office 2000 as well as MSN Messenger. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of my operating system sending back ‘anonymous’ usage reports to a third party does not fill me with confidence.