Monday, 26 September 2011

Microsoft is stifling your freedoms (again!)

This article was originally sent out on the Linux Users of Victoria (LUV) mailing list by Luke. After emailing Luke, he has release the below (with some of my alterations) as public domain:

It as part of the Windows 8 OEM scheme Microsoft requires the OEM's to lock down the computer to only run Windows 8 or other "authorized" OS'es via a signature system for "security" reasons.

Put simply, Microsoft as part of their OEM system require all new computers shipping with Windows 8 to use secure signing keys to prevent "unauthorized software" from running on the computer. This will prevent all free software operating systems from running on the computers that come with OEM by default.

So, we need YOU to stand up for Linux in Australia (and other countries)!

Simply follow these easy steps:
  1. Click this link: here
  2. Fill out your concerns (find a reference letter below that you are free to copy / use).
  3. Submit with Personal Information (this is a real complaint, and the ACCC requires this information to possibly verify it is legitimate).
  4. Tell your friends to do the same.
  5. (optional) Forward this to your favorite Linux Mailing List.
  6. (optional) Phone the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

Here is the reference letter:


I have recently learned that any new computer or laptop that ships with the upcoming Windows 8 Operating System will not be able to run any other Operating System. Microsoft's new UEFI Secure Boot system prevents 'unauthorized software' from running on any new computer sold with Windows 8. Making a system that ships with only Microsoft Windows not being able to boot a copy of Linux or any other operating system. I wish to use Linux on future computers, and this will not allow me to use Linux at all. Microsoft is engaging in seriously anti-competitive behavior by forcing the lockout of all competitors - see:

Not only will Microsoft kick out Linux off the computers, they will prevent 'upgrading' of windows versions: creating forced obsolescence. I am disgusted, is Microsoft legally allowed to do this? Microsoft has been slowly becoming more anti-competitive: computing used to be about choice, having the ability to choose the Operating System. Now Microsoft want to have complete control.


[insert your name here]

Do something (now) about protecting your freedoms! And if you want to read more, try the originating opinion in itwire.


  1. To which the ACCC responded with:

    Dear Mr France, (sic)

    Thank you for your email of 26 September 2011 to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (the ACCC) regarding the Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Your reference number for this matter is [withheld].

    The role of the ACCC is to ensure compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act), which is designed to encourage fair trading and discourage anti-competitive conduct through a specific set of competition and consumer protection rules.

    One of the Act’s aims is to foster fair markets, that is, markets where normal competition can continue without being hindered by unfair and illegal market practices. Such illegal market practices include price-fixing, market-sharing, resale price maintenance, misuse of market power and certain forms of exclusive dealings/boycotts.

    Section 47 of the Act prohibits exclusive dealing. Broadly speaking, exclusive dealing occurs when one person trading with another imposes some restrictions on the other’s freedom to choose with whom, in what, or where they deal. Exclusive dealing is only a breach of the Act where the conduct has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in the market. In an assessment of the effect of the conduct on competition, it is not enough merely to show that an individual business has been damaged. The wider market for the particular product or service must be considered.

    The situation you described may raise issues of exclusive dealing, but it is unclear from the details provided whether it would be likely to meet the competition test described.

    In assessing any complaint, staff of the ACCC would generally determine whether or not the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Act, whether or not there appears to have been a breach of the Act, and if so, whether the impact of the conduct is so serious and widespread that it is appropriate that the ACCC should take some action.

    It should first be noted that in general, investigations are conducted confidentially and the ACCC does not comment on matters it may be investigating. Further, complainants will only be contacted by the ACCC where clarification or additional information is sought.

    It is important to note that the ACCC cannot pursue all the complaints it receives. While all complaints are carefully considered, the ACCC must exercise its discretion to direct resources to the investigation and resolution of matters that provide the greatest overall benefit for consumers and businesses. The ACCC’s Compliance and Enforcement policy describes in more detail how this discretion is exercised. This policy, which is available on the ACCC’s website [], lists a number of factors that are weighed including whether conduct raises national or international issues, involves significant consumer detriment or a blatant disregard of the law.

    The Act also allows an affected party to take their own legal action for a breach of the Act. You may wish to seek legal advice on the possibility of taking your own action in this circumstance.

    Thank you for contacting the ACCC with your concerns. I trust this information is of use.

    Yours sincerely,

    [name withheld]
    ACCC Infocentre
    Ph: 1300 302 502

    This is somewhat promising...