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PC World

Linux users demand Windows refund

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INTERACTIVE:

Would you consider trying to get a Windows refund from Microsoft?

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Open-source supporters rally at Microsoft over unwanted bundling.

February 17, 1999
Web posted at: 10:19 a.m. EST (1519 GMT)

by Jeanette Borzo

(IDG) -- Users of Linux and other open-source operating systems gathered at Microsoft sales offices around the world Monday to seek refunds on the untouched Windows software that came with their PCs.

A clause in the Windows end-user license agreement entitles customers to their money back if they haven't used the software, open-source software users say. Momentum has gathered behind "Windows Refund Day" ever since an Australian apparently secured a $110 refund from Toshiba for Windows software that came with his Toshiba notebook PC.

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In open-source software, the underlying code is freely available and can be modified by users. Users of Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and other open-source operating systems participated in Monday's events.

The San Francisco Bay Area had the largest turnout of the several places involved, including New York and Tokyo, even though Monday was a national holiday in the United States, according to various media reports. Linux users rallied at Microsoft's Foster City, California, office, which was open and displaying a banner that read, "Microsoft Welcomes the Linux Community."

Events were also planned in Southern California, New Zealand, France, Japan, and the Netherlands, organizers said. A French Web site encouraged users to fax a letter asking for a refund on unused Windows software.

While no protests were planned in Germany, a user group called Team 0S/2 Deutschland explained on its Web site that users have the right to return their Windows license to Microsoft. It's unclear how users will get a refund, the group acknowledged.

Mary Lisbeth D'Amico in Munich contributed to this report.



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