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Non-M$ PE Illegal?


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#1 Moon Goon

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:58 PM

A few days ago a cooworked expressed his opinion that he thought all PE environments were illegal. He didn't provide much details as to why (maybe something about M$ hatred of imaging.) I've googled and found no real agruments to convince me it's not legal. The only issue is the license tied to that PE envorment. If it's OEM then the PE disc can only be used on that PC. Retail and Corp are okay as only 1 license can be active but that license isn't tied to a PC.

I'm playing the devils advocate here - are there valid reasons any PE is illegal? BartPE or Winbuilder? If we can find the reasons then we can start to refute them.

Yes, this is an old issue but someday WinBuilder will have to face it. May as well discuss it now :P

The only reason I can think of is if Bart or Winbuilder modified M$ files. As far as I know this isn't true. Bart and others seem to recreate files when needed. Is there a clause stating you can't modify your install of X-pee? If so, almost every program invalidates your license. Sony and their rootkit spyware for example.

#2 smiley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 07:10 PM

If you use OEM it can be legal. The only limitations are that the result pe should be run only in the computer in wich the source instalation has been used and someone can't emulate it.

#3 smiley

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 07:12 PM

Onether clue that non MS PE is legal. If MS could stop Bart, they would have done it.

#4 Moon Goon

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 08:51 PM

True, if they wanted to sue they could have done so by now. However it could also mean that it hasn't reached a "critical mass" point for them yet. Look at the Freecraft project and Blizzard. http://happypenguin....ewsitem?id=3801

Here is the best answer I've seen:
http://www.911cd.net...&...ost&p=36718

I think that answers my questions enough. I might never get the answer straight from the horses mouth since the person who deals with M$ in my company is too scared to ask :P

#5 Alexei

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:45 PM

True, if they wanted to sue they could have done so by now. However it could also mean that it hasn't reached a "critical mass" point for them yet. Look at the Freecraft project and Blizzard. http://happypenguin....ewsitem?id=3801

Here is the best answer I've seen:
http://www.911cd.net...&...ost&p=36718

I think that answers my questions enough. I might never get the answer straight from the horses mouth since the person who deals with M$ in my company is too scared to ask :P


I consider that by running WinBuilder, you don't create new software entity, you just copy some MS files along with other files to the CD. Yes, resulted CD is bootable and behaves similar to MS PE, so what?
The software on the CD behaves as MS designed it. It runs unchanged :P
You're just using existing functionality in unusual way :P EULA does not prohibit that :P
I consider the fact that collection of files that you placed on the CD is useful for some purposes does not constitute this collection as a new software entity.
I see this legal position as reasonable and strong. It's also safe in terms of possible allegations :P
Regarding changes to MS files - don't do them (especially boot-logo), just add "/noguiboot" to boot options" :P
Clear and simple explanation for your co-workers: you're using a copy on MS installation CD with additions that reveal functionality already created by MS, though some unnecessary files were deleted from it :P
MS can't sue anybody for using functionality it provides :P

BTW, even if we imagine considering CD created with WinBuilder to contain a new software entity, it would be clear case of legal reverse engineering , when software with the same functionality was created from scratch :P This is true. BartPE doesn't use anything from MS PE :P

:P
Alexei

#6 was_jaclaz

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 10:26 AM

Yeah, BartPE is PERFECTLY legal, if used WITHIN the terms of the particular EULA that comes with the source XP/2003 files.

With all due respect, this is a "horse beaten to death".

About modifying files, I am against it because it can THEORETICALLY be a legal issue, but I sincerely doubt that given the latest evolution on such topics as "decompiling", "reverse engineering" and "fair use", this will be a REAL problem.

As said in another thread, there are legitimate doubts if the EULA is actually a binding agreement, see these:
http://www.chillinge.../faq.cgi#QID207
http://www.theregist...lynn/page2.html
http://en.wikipedia....rse_engineering
expecially when it linked to "use" rather than "access" or business purposes.

Particularly, editing a resource inside a file, for example the bootscreen, can be reconducted to clause 1. of Section 117 of the Copyright Act:
http://www.chillinge.../faq.cgi#QID196
in the U.S., and Europe has similar provisions:
http://en.wikipedia....mputer_programs
(Articles 5 and 6):
http://europa.eu.int...?...chett&lg=en

The freecraft project you referred too is an all different matter, that is the problem of Trademark or Commercial Names, a very similar thing has happened for the reknown Obelix-Moblix case:
http://mobilix.org/m...ix_asterix.html
http://www.theregist...sterix_in_plea/
with the notable exception that, in an extremely controversial judgement, a Court actually ruled, whilst a "cease and desist" letter is just a warning.

And this, as seen is the case of the "Easygroup" leads to different conclusions when a Court is invested with the matter:
http://www.theregist..._stelios_calls/
http://www.theregist...sy_way_to_beat/

jaclaz

#7 Moon Goon

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 01:19 PM

Sent a small e-mail to M$. If responded to I hope it will clear some things up.

@Jaclaz Sure, like I said it's an old issue. It's also not a clearly answered issue. Thus the question remains. Thanks for the informative links :P

E-mail:

I searched the OPK disc and Microsofts website for a clear answer on this with no luck. My company gets OPK discs but I've been reluctant to use them without understanding the licensing.

Does each WinPE build require its own licensed copy of XP as BartPE does?

Thanks in advance for any help on this subject!

#8 TheHive

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 01:29 PM

Does each WinPE build require its own licensed copy of XP as BartPE does?

Thanks in advance for any help on this subject!

In my Opinion I would say yes and no. If you have alot of WinPE based on your own Window XP version for yourself and you use it one at a time then it should be ok. But if its being used in a Corporate environment you would need a different key for each build that each person in the company is using or a coporate version of the OS could be used. Maybe also a OEM version of the OS.

#9 Yorn

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 01:45 PM

It's legal. Even when it's not legal (ie, with Vista's licensing) it could be that their license will not stand up in court. Courts have reinforced that individuals (at least in the US) have the right to reverse engineer. It's how Samba was made. Microsoft doesn't go after the Samba team because they would simply lose any court case they tried.

Additionally, they are not likely to even get that far because they know some of the people in the PE groups are likely the same people that make purchasing decisions. If Microsoft starts suing community members, then these techies start suggesting their companies move to *nix.

#10 Alexei

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:01 PM

Courts have reinforced that individuals (at least in the US) have the right to reverse engineer.

I may have outdated info, but best I learned about reverse engineering is that courts generally base their decisions on intentions of reverse engineering: it's OK to provide interoperability (as Samba).
Alexei

#11 Alexei

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:39 PM

...About modifying files, I am against it because it can THEORETICALLY be a legal issue, but I sincerely doubt jaclaz

@jaclaz
What'd you think about legality of the following:
- source file is renamed
- replacement has same entries (parameters are unimportant)
- replacement is called, it loads "source", patches it in memory, and transits calls to the "source"
:P
Alexei

#12 Yorn

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:55 PM

If we're making money hand over fist, MS will care, right now I don't think any of us plan to do that. Patching it in memory would probably be fine. You don't see Microsoft suing people that come up with alternative fixes for security issues in a similar fashion.




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