Free Software Foundation attacks Vista

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Free Software Foundation attacks Vista

'Bad Vista' campaign plans to stage 'unusual actions'.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has kicked off a campaign that aims to steer consumers and businesses away from Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. 

The Bad Vista campaign plans to stage "unusual actions" to draw attention to the limited freedom that Vista provides to users. 

"Vista is an upsell masquerading as an upgrade. It is an overall regression when you look at the most important aspect of owning and using a computer: your control over what it does," said John Sullivann, programme director for the FSF.

"Obviously Windows is already proprietary and very restrictive, and well worth rejecting. But the new 'features' in Vista are a Trojan horse to smuggle in even more restrictions.

"We will be focusing attention on detailing how they work, how to resist them and why people should care."

FSF executive director Peter Brown added that the campaign aims to "release users from Microsoft's grip".

The FSF is an advocacy group that promotes the free flow of information. The organisation is headed up by Richard Stallman who authored the General Public Licence.

The group is known for its orthodox views on free (as in freedom) software, which set it apart from elements within the open source community which prefers to build a bridge between open source and proprietary software.

The FSF campaign will focus on the Trusted Computing technology built into Windows Vista. The standard is highly controversial with privacy advocates because it can be used to restrict what documents and information a user can access.

Trusted Computing relies on a special security chip dubbed the Trusted Platform Module. Vista uses the chip for a Secure Startup feature that offers to encrypt the contents of a hard drive to prevent data loss if a notebook is lost or stolen.

The chip is optional, but is increasingly implemented in business computers and notebooks.

The FSF has already staged protests against the digital rights management in Windows Vista.

The Defective by Design campaign started at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle last May, where protesters wearing hazardous material suits warned delegates about the technology. 

Microsoft was not able to comment on the FSF campaign, as a large part of its corporate campus in the Seattle area was closed down after a severe storm knocked out power in the area.
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