Enquanto isso na gringolândia...
User paid to uninstall Windows XP
By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News website
A Sheffield man has won a refund from Dell for not installing Microsoft's
Windows XP on a laptop he bought from the PC giant.
Freelance programmer Dave Mitchell ordered a Dell laptop on 21 October, and
the machine was delivered a few days later.
As Mr Mitchell was planning to run the Linux open source operating system on
the machine, he had no need for the copy of Windows XP Home that had been
When he started it for the first time, he clicked the box that said "no" on
the Windows licence agreement that asked him to agree to its terms. The text
of this agreement states users can get a refund for the "unused products" on
their new computer if they get in touch with the machine's manufacturer.
Mr Mitchell, who is an active member of the open source community, said he
knew that other Linux fans had tried to get refunds in a similar fashion
with varying degrees of success.
The origins of this campaign date from 1999 when open source activists in
the San Francisco area started campaigning to get refunds for software they
had no intention of using.
Every time a computer-maker, such as Dell, sells a PC or laptop they must
pay Microsoft for the copy of the Windows operating system installed on it.
While many PCs are now sold with a customer's choice of operating system
installed, no laptop-makers yet offer the option of anything but Windows,
said Mr Mitchell.
To bolster his case, Mr Mitchell shot photographs of every stage of the
process that ended with him declining Microsoft's licence terms.
"I had a clear record of what the licence did or did not say," he said.
"I fully intended to take it as far as the small claims court," he said,
"just to be bloody-minded."
He then wrote a letter, outlining what he had done, to Dell's Bracknell
office and waited for a response. In the letter he did not mention his
digital document of the process with photographs.
"I assumed that would come out when it came to the small claims court," he
told the BBC News website.
However, two days later, Dell rang him and told him to expect a refund to
his credit card soon after.
"They only took two days to respond," he said. "I was pretty gob-smacked
that it was so easy."
The total refund was for £55.23, which Mr Mitchell took to be the value of a
pre-installed version of Windows XP Home.
A couple of days after the refund was agreed, an invoice from Dell arrived
through the post, which described the refund as "goodwill unspecified".
Although Mr Mitchell has now waived the right to use the copy of Windows XP
Home on his laptop, Dell has not asked for the installation disc to be
"I've cost Dell £50, not Microsoft, which is a slightly annoying," said Mr
Mitchell. He encouraged other people to try to get a refund and wondered if
Dell's policy on which operating systems it offered on laptops would change
if enough people tried.
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