A question of ethics
Here is the scenario…
I have a laptop, which has plenty memory and disk space. It was bought with a licenced copy of Windows 7 installed.
I have repartitioned the hard disk into a Windows area and a separate area where I have installed Linux Mint. It is of course a duel boot machine now. The Windows area is hardly used at all now, and is there mainly as a fallback.
There are one or two programs that I like and am used to that only run under Windows, Windows Live Writer being one of them. To avoid constant reboots, the obvious answer is to install a Virtual Machine within Linux. This leads to my little question regarding ethics.
I need to install Windows 7 within the VM, as that is the whole point of the exercise. Technically, under strict interpretation of the law, I should buy a new copy of Windows 7. I see from Amazon, that this would cost me around $180, which is quite a lot for the privilege of running one free program. However, I already have a licenced copy for this machine, which by definition cannot be used if I am within Linux.
Legally, I presume I should purchase a new copy of Windows, but ethically, I don’t think that should be necessary.
What do you think?
I haven’t read the license, so this is only opinion, but I would feel that if you have removed the original install and still only have one copy on your machine then, morally, you’re alright.
Neither of your Windows apps work acceptably under Wine, by any chance?
The original isn’t removed, but by definition can’t be used. Therefore I could only have one copy running at a time.
I tried Wine. Live Writer throws a complete wobbly, and the other [a licenced FTP program] works but every single action causes an error message [complaining about some parameter or something]. So the FTP program is usable but is a right pain to run.
I think Windows licences are sold under a “one licence per machine” sort of ethos? If that is the case, then you should be in the right being able to utilise your current Win 7 licence inside of the VM.
Ethically, it’s your machine, you already run it, why should you have to pay again just to run it in a different format? It’s not like it’s being used on another separate machine, so why feel guilty using it in a VM on the same machine it is installed to?
In the eyes of Microsoft, a virtual machine IS a separate machine. But from what I remember (this information may be obsolete now) when you buy windows, what you are really paying for is the license key which can be used on multiple machines, but can only be used a certain number of times. Editions that are targeted towards home users will allow only a few uses, but something like an enterprise edition can be used hundreds of times.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even considered the legal standpoint of the situation because Microsoft steals code all the time, not to mention all the other unethical business practices they have. I also think from an ethical point of view that you wouldn’t be doing anything ‘wrong’ by using the license that you already have. I surely wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
Richard, you should be able to request an install disc from the computer manufacturer that you can use. Also, depending on the virtual machine you are using, there may be ways of migrating your physical disk to a virtual disk.
To be quite honest, it’s not something I would lose any sleep over. I would consider the fact that I have paid for a licence for the machine to be sufficient. I was just idly wondering what thoughts others may have on the subject.
@Kory [and welcome, BTW!] Microsoft actually provide downloads of the DVD which is quite handy