I've repeatedly asked people who write in asking "Whatever happened to
Windows Refund Day" to help us out by sending (1) the full text of
current Microsoft bundled-software EULAs, (2) what exact Microsoft
products were provided, (3) make/model of the hardware, and (4) date and
country of purchase. No useful information has yet come back.

(There are standard and "professional" editions of MS-Win2k and
MS-WindowsXP. And we've noticed that wording of past EULAs differed
sometimes between countries, and between hardware OEMs.)

I'm going to have to FAQ this matter. For now, here
is some of the prior correspondence:

From rick Tue Feb 12 09:02:42 2002
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 09:02:42 -0800
To: <multiple persons>
Subject: Re: Windows Refund effort: anything (still) happening ?
Message-ID: 20020212170242.GB5029@linuxmafia.com

Quoting [a correspondent]:

> It's been a while since Windows Refund Day, is there anything
> still happening in this arena? I've got an article
> opportunity for NewsForge. (I did a piece for LinuxWorld
> back when WRefund Day was happening,
> http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-1999-01/lw-01-refund.html)

Thank you, Daniel, for your interest.

We who planned the Windows Refund Day effort have been hoping to at
least produce a closing issue of the newsletter, reporting on (at a
minimum) what Microsoft Corporation has done to its software licences
since then. However, none of us uses Microsoft's legacy proprietary
software, so we lack information on Microsoft's specific licence terms,
on products issued since that day. (Nobody has sent us examples,

It seems clear that Windows Refund Day served as a major PR
embarrassment for Microsoft Corporation, highlighting as it did the
company's near-total control over hardware OEMs' software-bundling
policies, despite DoJ consent decrees to the contrary. However, it
also woke the public up to the existence of an entire self-sufficient
software world with no strong feelings either for or against Microsoft
Corporation but simply no interest in its products.

The long-term relevance of Windows Refund Day may lie in the fact that
I'm writing you this message from a full-featured Linux workstation
via a high-powered Linux mail server in my living room, and that
the reason I can't fill you in on Microsoft Corporation news is that
I'm essentially unaffected by that company's doings.

Except in having had to pay for and then throw away the mandatory copy
of MS-Windows98 bundled with the used Sony VAIO PCG-505TX laptop I
bought just after Windows Refund Day -- money I'd rather not have
wasted on a product I had no use for.

Cheers, My pid is Inigo Montoya. You kill -9
Rick Moen my parent process. Prepare to vi.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 11:22:42 -0800
From: Rick Moen <rick>
To: [some other correspondents]
Subject: Re: [svlug] Linux event day?

Quoting [yet another guy]:

> Let's not stage protests without a reason - we've always had a reason
> before. To maintain a good reputation for our community's
> high-publicity events, we should limit those events to releases of
> Windoze or expressing displeasure with a recent action that affects us
> directly. For example, Windows Refund Day (at Microsoft) and Burn All
> GIFs Day (at Unisys) were self-explanatory. But even the Silicon
> Valley Tea Party at the opening of Microsoft's SV Developer Center in
> Palo Alto was in response to the 1998 "Halloween Documents" which were
> leaked just days earlier, outlining MS strategies to counter the Open
> Source movement.

Well said.

Incidentally, most people seem to be unaware that practically everything
done for Windows Refund Day was, in fact, damage control.

Windows Refund Day was declared out of the blue by Matt Jensen of
Seattle, who put up a Web page telling people to all call up their OEMs
and complain about MS Windows bundling on Monday, Feb. 15. From there,
the story got on Slashdot.

Jensen made no effort to organise publicity or influence the tone of
any coverage that might result -- not that there would really have been
anything to cover, unless, say, some opponents of free / open-source
software decided to portray the event as a sneaky way to get money back
for proprietary software while still being able to bootleg it. That
could have been very bad, indeed.

So, it occurred to me, Don Marti, and Nick Moffitt (with subsequent
help from Mark Boltzern, Deirdre Saoirse, Jay Sulzberger, and others) to
try to head off that possibility by taking charge of planning, building
some publicity, and having some actual _events_ to cover stressing the
free / open-source software community's viewpoint.

I was the one who noticed that Feb. 15 would be Presidents' Day, and Don
and Deirdre quickly confirmed that the Foster City and Irvine Microsoft
offices would be open that day. When I mentioned all this to Matt
Jensen, he was startled at the news (he'd never bothered to check his
calendar), jumped to the conclusion that being on Presidents' Day was a
_bad_ thing, panicked, and wanted to _cancel_ the event (_after_ we'd
started getting coverage <sigh>).

Needless to say, we thanked Jensen for his views, ignored them, and went
back the ongoing task of redesigning his event.

Cheers, "Ceterum censeo Linux propaganda est."
Rick Moen -- Seth David Schoen

From: Rick Moen <rick>
To: Chris Schoedel kevralyn@netscape.net
Subject: Re: Windows Refund
In-Reply-To: 19990120232042.28814.qmail@www0v.netaddress.usa.net; from Chris Schoedel on Wed, Jan 20, 1999 at 03:20:42PM -0800
X-CABAL: There is no CABAL.
X-CABAL-URL: There is no http://linuxmafia.com/cabal/
X-Eric-Conspiracy: There is no conspiracy.
X-Eric-regex-matching: There are no stealth members of the conspiracy.

Quoting Chris Schoedel (kevralyn@netscape.net):

> I think the Return Windows day is a great idea. But I do have a
> concern about how effective it will be. The EULA stipulates that we
> are to go to the manufacturer to obtain a refund. By the terms of the
> EULA, Microsoft is not obligated to allow us to return their software.

True, but we are trying to negotiate arrangements to do this through
Microsoft's business office in Foster City, anyway, in an organised and
in-person group visit. It is in Microsoft's interest to allow this in a
friendly and businesslike manner, _and_ in the interest of Linux
enthusiasts to arrange things that way.

There will, of course, be press coverage. ;->

> Any information regarding when people are heading up to Microsoft? I
> would love to go....

Your best bet is to sign up for the Windows Refund newsletter at
http://zork.net/refund/. We'll try to make developing news for
the Bay Area available there. In case that doesn't work, by your leave,
I'll add your name/e-mail address to a list I'm starting here.

Cheers, Linux: It is now safe to turn on your computer.
Rick Moen
rick (at) linuxmafia.com