About a year ago, I got an email from Microsoft offering me a chance to participate in the Windows One Care Perpetual Beta program. At the time, I opined that, while it wasn’t a bad idea to create a pool of testers who could try out and evaluate a program’s features as they’re added, calling something a “perpetual beta” wasn’t exactly the best way to instill consumer confidence in a product’s reliability. Well, I recently received another offer from Microsoft, and it’s even more tempting (and doesn’t carry the “perpetual beta” stigma). It turns out that by joining Microsoft’s Technet Plus Direct program I can get almost every piece of software Microsoft makes, from Office to Vista to Exchange Server, for a mere $349. And I can install this stuff on up to 10 machines, legally. Considering that just one license of Vista Ultimate runs for about $350, this sounds like a great deal. The catch? Well there are a few. For one, these are evaluation versions of the software. That may not be a big deal, since they don’t have any time limits attached to them, but it does mean the wares are covered under a different licensing scheme than full versions; technically, you’re not supposed to install these programs on production machines, and should be using them for evaluation purposes only. Another catch: No CDs. You have to download ISOs from Microsoft’s web site. Again, probably not such a big deal if you do it over broadband. The last catch is that this is a subscription program, so MS expects you to renew every year. However, you’re not required to, and the evaluation software won’t expire if you don’t renew. Of course, this program is targeted at developers and IT managers who need to evaluate MS software as part of their jobs; but the email solicitation I received highlights the unlimited evaluations in a way that definitely seems to target white-hat warez dudes. (No time limits for software evaluations? Yes! With a Microsoft TechNet Plus Direct subscription you can download a variety of Microsoft commercial software for evaluation with no time limits.) So, all-in-all, a good deal, especially if you need a really long time to evaluate Microsoft’s software.
Archive for July, 2007
Friday, July 6th, 2007