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Bron: Coolinfo

En dit vond ik op Coolinfo, gaat weer over de Window$ refund day van gisteren...:

FOSTER CITY, Calif. (AP) - The protesters carried penguins and shrink-wrapped software. The corporate leaders served lemonade and iced tea. No effigies were burned. About 100 computer users marched to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news)'s Silicon Valley offices Monday demanding refunds for Windows software they say they didn't want to buy and don't plan to use.

``I got stuck with this software because I couldn't buy a laptop without it,'' said Charles Lingo, a retired maintenance engineer from San Jose. ``It's a ripoff by a monopoly.'' About 90 percent of personal computers sold these days come pre-loaded with Microsoft's Windows software, which runs all the other programs on the computers. But Lingo and most of the demonstrators are among a growing minority of computer users who don't care for Windows. They have chosen to operate their computers with Linux, a system with a cherubic penguin mascot that has risen to the forefront among the relatively unknown products that can substitute for the Windows operating system.

Microsoft spokesman Robert Bennett said his company isn't forcing anyone to buy Windows. ``You have the choice of operating systems,'' he said. ``You can buy a personal computer with a non-Microsoft operating system, you can buy a computer with no operating system at all. Most customers choose Windows but you certainly don't have to.''

He said that although Microsoft won't give them refunds, they could go back to the company that sold them the computer. It's not that simple though. IBM, Compaq, Acer and other computer companies do not offer refunds to customers who aren't going to use the Windows software on their machines. Instead, customer representatives at most major computer companies send callers back to Microsoft. ``How many rounds of Catch-22 do we have to go through?'' asked Eric Raymond, a self-described ``Linux theorist,'' who came to the demonstration dressed like Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars.

Linux was developed in the early 1990s by a Finnish student named Linus Torvalds. He wanted to create an operating system for PCs that worked like the high-powered operating system Unix, the main system used on the big computers that run most of the Internet. But rather than start a company and market the system, Torvalds did something that captured the imagination of programmers around the world. Torvalds posted the Linux source code - the blueprints for the software - on the Internet. Linux can still be downloaded for free. It's also sold in a commercial version by Durham, N.C.- based Red Hat for $50. The system has an estimated 8 million to 9 million users worldwide. By comparison, Microsoft closely guards the Windows source code and charges about $90 for its operating system. Microsoft's Windows and Windows NT operating systems have about 10 times as many users as Linux.

Microsoft officials served refreshments to the demonstrators on the upper deck of their parking lot Monday under an 8-foot banner that said: ``Microsoft Welcomes The Linux Community.'' They said that if the computer makers aren't giving refunds, customers could always just take their entire computer back to the store where they bought it. But dozens of individuals, clutching their brand new Windows license agreements, argued that they want the computer. They just don't want the software inside. ``We don't want your drinks and we don't want your software. We want refunds,'' said Raymond.

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