Shoddy Indian Tech Journalism & Windows 7 #2

So the last time around some whacked out “tech columnist” in a popular Indian daily cited “experts” and said that Windows 7 looks like Windows XP and another one called the RC’s bi-hourly shutdown post March a “glitch”. Well, that’s not the end of it. Two new instances have surfaced where some level of negligence and irresponsibility by “technology” journalists & editors is on display. Unfortunately these “tech journalists” don’t realize the role they play in the eco-system. One of India’s most visited technology website – Techtree has done an article on a debate that’s being going on in the Western countries with regards to a software edition that will be available ONLY in the Western world and will NOT be available in India.

So before I begin let me put the whole thing in context… there are four ways by which people in the US & UK can acquire Windows 7:

  1. Buy the normal Windows 7 media (available at retail prices.)
  2. Buy an Upgrade media (available at a lower price.)
  3. Buy an OEM copy of Windows 7.
  4. Buy a new PC with Windows 7 pre-loaded.

Microsoft’s policy states that if you want to use the Upgrade media you need to have:

  1. a licensed copy of either Windows XP or Windows Vista installed.
  2. and the install CD/DVD of the Windows OS installed. [1. this point has appeared in some conversations and hasn’t in some, I’m mentioning it nonetheless.]

Without the two things mentioned above it is not legal to install Windows 7 using the Upgrade media. And this essentially means that if you plan to install Windows 7 using an Upgrade media on a brand new hard disk which has no legally valid copy of Windows installed… you’re violating their Terms.

Now as I said these are four ways for the people in the US and UK… key phrase being “people in US & UK”… I repeat again, “people in US & UK.”

India will not be getting the Upgrade media for Windows 7. There are only three ways by which one can legally purchase a copy of Windows 7 in India:

  1. Buy the normal Windows 7 media.
  2. Buy an OEM copy of Windows 7.
  3. Buy a new PC with Windows 7 pre-loaded.

Making this clear, the article by Techtree is totally out of context & irrelevant to India and NOWHERE is this irrelevance highlighted!

So here’s the article by Techtree:

When is Windows 7 Upgrade Illegal?

Now here’s something really quirky and interesting from Microsoft. With the launch of Windows 7, almost everyone is busy installing the new OS on their systems. These include brand new systems and existing computers that already had an older version of a Microsoft Operating System running. Most Vista users with a “full” license were eligible for an upgrade option wherein they could get Windows 7 for a discounted price.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft has clarified as to how a clean install done on a blank hard drive from an upgrade install disc by an user who does not own a full license is in violation of the Windows 7 EULA (End User License Agreement). The post was triggered owing to blog posts and “how tos” that help users do a clean install from an upgrade disc. Since the upgrade option is a cheaper way of getting the OS, it was a fairly attractive means of getting a licensed version of the product for less. Microsoft’s EULA for upgrade discs explicitly states that must own a full version of a previous version of Windows if you want to use the Windows 7 upgrade disc. Now, what this means is that when you do a clean install, you are no longer own a “previous version” and are hence breaking the terms of the EULA.

Microsoft has clarified the circumstances in which a clean install is perfectly legal in the following excerpt from the post: […]

Now, here is the problem with the article…

This entire issue deals with Windows 7 Upgrade Media which is available ONLY in the Western world for a cheaper price. UPGRADE PACKAGES WON’T BE AVAILABLE IN INDIA! So when they use the phrase “When is Windows 7 Upgrade Illegal” it is abso-fucking-lutely wrong since DVDs that will be available in India do NOT need you to have a copy of a previous edition of Windows installed.

The article is bound to create confusion in the minds of the consumers about whether they can upgrade to Windows 7 or not since the blog post by Microsoft is talking ONLY about the Upgrade media! These consumers will then be going to retailers who further know squat about what they’re selling and what options are available and these “tech journalists” after creating a confusion won’t be held responsible.

If you have Vista you can without any problem go ahead and use the “upgrade” option in the setup! You do NOT need the install media of your previously installed media since this is NOT the upgrade media.

I hold two sets of people responsible for this kind of horrendous reporting:

  1. the people who write and pass such stuff (the journalists & editors)
  2. the people who fail to educate their people and the public (the PR)

I’m pretty sure the person who wrote this is oblivious of the fact that Windows 7 Upgrade media won’t be available here (if he is aware and still wrote this, the editor is responsible for the fiasco.)

The people at Microsoft who’re supposed to educate the sales force for not informing their people about the differences in editions & versions available abroad and in India. Also, not educating and giving sufficiently clear information to media houses like UTVi (who own Techtree) about these differences.

NOTE: If you’re eligible for an OEM upgrade that you bought a Vista machine post June-July and your OEM is giving you a Windows 7 upgrade, I’m assuming they’ll be giving you an upgrade media, in that case, you’ll need to upgrade, a clean install though possible would be violating the Terms.

The second instance is a lot more surprising. Apparently Mr. Anwar.K.Sadath, Manager – Kerala state IT mission. Govt. of India, has in an article in the Malayala Manorama Yuva stated that Windows 7 is unstable and is not able to be run Google Chrome. W.O.W.! How bloody ignorant can you be?! For one, Google Chrome runs flawlessly on Windows 7, it ran well on Windows 7 RC & works smoothly on Windows 7 RTM.

It surprises me as to how did the editor of the paper let this outrageous claim be published in the news paper!

It never ceases to surprise me that the level of technology know-how is so low in our country despite all the IT glories we have.