This is a piece of software that comes with a gag order.
Granneman covers other ways in which the Vista "agreement" takes away the freedom you'd assume you'd get when you shell out your hard-earned dough for a product. The key here is that Microsoft, and innumerable others, have elevated the user license to a high art. Practically every vendor now believes that it can turn a sale into a "license" just by putting a sticker on the package that says, "by opening this box, you agree."
Real agreements are negotiated. You and I sit down at a table and hammer it out. Real agreements aren't "subject to change without notice." Real agreements don't make you agree not to sue for negligence. Real agreements don't make you agree to treat your property as if it still belonged to the guy who sold it to you.
This is an obscene legal fiction, for if all it takes to form an agreement is to announce that it has been formed, then the very idea of legitimate agreement is dead. How can you have a social contract if the notion of contract has been strangled by innumerable shrinkwraps, clickwraps, and EULAs?
The draconian limitations I've discussed could only be enacted by a monopoly unafraid of alienating its users, as it feels they have no other alternative. Microsoft may yet learn, however, that there are limits to what its users will bear.Link to Vista license analysis, Link to changes in Vista reinstall license (via /.)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.