Campaign actionsUp one level
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The official industry release day for Windows Vista was November 30. Vista will be released on users in January 2007 (or so the story goes).
With your help, we will:
- Organize supporters into effective actions protesting Microsoft's daylight theft of our freedoms
- Aggregate news stories cutting through MS Windows Vista marketing propaganda
- Provide a user-friendly gateway to free software adoption
You can help the campaign and stay up-to-date by signing up for the BadVista mailing list. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get involved, so there are two ways to do this.
The recommended way is to have an account at fsf.org. If you've already set one of those up, maybe by donating in the past as an associate member, or in order to leave comments on the GPLv3 drafts, then you can just go to your mailing settings and check the new box for the BadVista mailing list.
If you don't have an fsf.org account yet, then it's easy to set one up. We're using a single sign-on for everything we do now, so you'll only have to go through this once. It only takes a minute, and most of the information is optional (please just leave any fields you don't like blank instead of telling us your address is 123 asdf St.).
This is a blog, and we want it to be a conversation and a community—once you're registered, you'll be able to leave comments on posts here, and we hope you will. Test it out with a "Hello" at the bottom of this post if you want.
But if you're a wallflower or none of this appeals to you, or if you are a Microsoft employee and don't want us to know that you're keeping tabs on us, then feel free to use this form.
Try a Google search for Windows Vista. You'll find us on the first page, only a few notches below the official Microsoft site.
That's a measure of the amount of attention we received after the December launch. But we're not seeking this attention for its own sake. We want the attention so we can make sure the world knows about the new restrictions and problems that lie beneath the Vista eye candy, and about the benefits of the superior free software alternatives.
We spent the holidays catching up on all the feedback and press we received after the launch. One of the most common questions heard was, “How can I get involved? How can I help?” Here's how:
- Show your support for the campaign by creating an account at fsf.org and subscribing to the BadVista mailing list. If you also enter your geographic information, we'll be able to contact you about campaign actions in your area.
- Suggest news stories. You can help BadVista.org be the most effective first-stop site on the web for Vista news by letting us know about stories we have missed. Send the links to <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or leave them in the comments here.
- Get artistic. With the name Vista, we want this campaign to have a strong visual element. If you have GIMP/Inkscape skills, draw your own "vistas" (maybe taking the pile of discarded computers at the bottom of this page as an inspiration), or campaign logos and promotional materials. Send us the info on how to get the images from you at <email@example.com>. Right now we could especially use some web banners that people can post to advertise the campaign, and some smaller images to go along with the blog categories as they develop.
- Send us a blog post. We already have plans to publish the work of many others from the free software community here. If you've written something that fits as a blog post with one or both parts of our mission statement, send it to us at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
- Send us translations of any of the material you see on the site. We have a framework ready to go for making multilingual content available.
The second most common request we received was for a prominent area on the site listing specifically the reasons people choose free software over Vista. The beginnings of our Vista FAQ will appear shortly. And we want to hear what you think about it—what reasons and examples should we be stressing?
In a comment on the last post, mfoetsch pointed out that a search for BadVista-related terms using Microsoft's live.com engine was producing rather...unexpected results. Many posts and pages turn up that link to BadVista.org, but no results from badvista.org itself appear.
So I did a little testing. I checked the results at google.com, yahoo.com, ask.com, and live.com. You can see from the screenshots that there does seem to be a problem.
Is it deliberate? No way to know I suppose, though to their credit if you search for "badvista.fsf.org", you will get some (rather odd-looking) results. So perhaps this is some kind of technical problem with the interaction between their search bots and our site.
Either way, you should let them know about the omission. Leave a comment here to confirm you did it, so we can keep an informal count. Let's see how quickly we can get it fixed.
DefectiveByDesign.org successfully campaigned to add tags to DRM-laden products being sold via Amazon. You can now find over 775 crippled products tagged with “defectivebydesign”.
Unsurprisingly, the various versions of Windows Vista are already on that list. 14 people have gotten the ball rolling by tagging “Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium” with “defectivebydesign”.
How about we get some more up there? Take a minute to visit the page for each of the Vista versions and leave tags that express your opinion about the software, so that other potential users will have a chance to learn about the unadvertised Vista “features” that lock you out of your own computer.
Other than defectivebydesign, what other tags are appropriate? drm, nonfree, badvista, downgrade? If you come up with new ones, leave them in the comments here too.
And don't forget that there are also web forums on Amazon linked to from each tag and product that you can use to explain why you object to Vista or why you used a particular tag.
(Note that if you don't already have an Amazon account, you might not want one—there are serious privacy concerns about how Amazon collects data from users through their click stream and shopping habits.)
Join BadVista.org in New York City for two actions to coincide with the Microsoft Vista launch on Monday, January 29th at 12pm and 2pm. They will take place near Times Square and near Grand Central.
Let us know that you can make it by emailing email@example.com. Include your name, email address, and phone number, so we can keep you up-to-date—if you already have an FSF account with this info in it, then just let us know your username.
Be sure to forward this post to friends and bring them along.
If you can't make it to New York City, there will be other actions for you to take part in to show your support on January 29th and 30th. We'll be sending out more details, but if you already know you want in, send your name, city, email, and phone number (or your FSF user name) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an open letter to computer users, Bill Gates asked everyone to share their “wow moments”:
As we prepare to launch Windows Vista...I'd like to invite you to share your wow moments with us. While you explore this Web site to learn more about Windows Vista, please help us celebrate the dawn of a new era by taking a few moments to share some of the wow moments you've already experienced.
BadVista.org would like to take Mr. Gates up on his open invitation. But since the Web site Microsoft set up to collect the “wow moments” doesn't work with free software browsers, we decided to deliver our message in person.
Conveniently, Microsoft is hosting a two-part high-profile launch event near Grand Central and in Times Square in New York City on Monday, January 29th, featuring a keynote by Steve Ballmer. That's not too far away from us, so we thought we'd show up and share.
Turns out, they don't want to hear your “wow” moment unless you are important and have an invitation. We asked for one, but we were refused:
Dear Mr. Sullivan,
Thank you very much for your e-mail and for your interest in the Launch Celebration. Unfortunately, because of the limited capacity, additional invitations are not being offered.
So, we won't be inside the event. But we'll be there. We need you to be there to—and it's OK if you don't have an invitation. Come join us in sharing a “wow moment”: the realization that Vista imposes restrictions we simply won't accept on freedoms we value.
A common theme between the Microsoft Vista launch events that took place in major cities yesterday was the willingness to leave their customers out in the cold. In Toronto, they built an ice house (!) and conducted interviews inside it. In New York's Times Square, they kept their guests, including Vista beta-testers and journalists, waiting outside for hours in the freezing cold before admitting them to the theater to be “wowed”.
But despite the cold and the attempts to corral us into a tiny roped-off “free speech zone” hidden between two tour buses, DefectiveByDesign and BadVista activists were able to effectively communicate our message to all of the invitees waiting outside and to the many passersby in both Times Square and at the earlier nearby luncheon.
We talked to people and distributed literature about the dangers of Vista, DRM, Treacherous Computing and proprietary software. We distributed hundreds of CDs with free software for people to take home and try as an alternative to Vista.
We had a lot of people approach us—including many of the Microsoft event staff—to ask, “What's this all about?”
We did also raise our voice to be heard, shouting, “The OW Starts Now!” to counter the blaring signs proclaiming Microsoft's slogan, “The WOW Starts Now!”
We may not have Lebron James, Shaun Alexander, or other such celebrity software experts on our side, but judging from the reception we received from this crowd, people—once they know the details—are very concerned with Microsoft's attempted hoodwink masquerading as an “upgrade”, and are very willing to listen to us plain unfamous people.
Thanks to Kevin, John, David, Jeff, and everyone who sacrificed the circulation in their extremities to capitalize on this opportunity to be heard.
You can see more photos at http://flickr.com/photos/tags/badvista.
Dell is soliciting your ideas for how they can improve their systems. This is a great way to let them know that you want hardware to be sold preinstalled with free software, or without any operating system on it at all so that you can set up your own non-Vista free software environment.
There is no reason you should be forced to pay a Microsoft Tax every time you buy a Dell computer.
You can go here to propose your idea and to vote for ideas you support. If you register an account with them, your vote counts for 10 anonymous votes.
Did you vote? Let us know in the comments here.
It's no secret—anyone who wants to avoid supporting Vista is going to have a hard time buying a new computer. Most new computers come with Microsoft Windows preinstalled, and already it is difficult to find a machine not carrying Vista around on its back.
Many of you helped bring this concern to Dell by voting at their new feedback site. You said you wanted an option to buy a machine without Microsoft Windows preinstalled, or with a free software operating system.
The Free Software Foundation published a paper today entitled, “The road to hardware free from restrictions” calling on major hardware vendors to recognize that they can have a mutually beneficial relationship with the free software community, and outlining the areas vendors should act in to make that a reality.
The paper is being sent by the FSF directly to the biggest manufacturers, but it's vital that users and consumers also communicate this message. It's nonsensical that people have to pay a premium on hardware to cover the cost of Microsoft Windows when they are just going to format the hard drive and install GNU/Linux as soon as they get the machine home.
You can start by giving the paper a digg.