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  1. #1

    Default Obsolete Software and licencing

    This is more a legal question than a hardware or software one.
    What is the situation with obsolete software in terms of accquiring and/or copying?
    I'm aware NZ copyright law has a provision for copying material from out of print books, but what about software?
    I do quite a bit of work, and provide advice for some charitable organisations, and often want to make use of older hardware for simple applications.
    I take a very strong stand against piracy, with the attitude, "get licenced or get Linux!" but people often ask "If you can't buy the software anymore, what's wrong with copying?"
    What is the legal situation?
    Specifically I'm looking at Windows 95 to run on older Pentium systems, where Linux is just too big and slow, with a modern GUI front end.

  2. #2
    Graham L

    Default Re: Obsolete Software and licencing

    W95 is a special case, I suppose. It's available on the second-hand market (, but it's definitely not supported by MS. I would say that possession of a legal (MS produced) CD entitles you to use it on one machine.

    I suppose the same would apply to w3.1x and DOS 6.22. As for DOS 3.3 ... who's going to chase you up? DRDOS is free, I beleive, if you can find it.

    But Linux would handle most needs. The problem would be that the modern distributions need more than the old old hardware I play with. :-(

  3. #3
    Terry Porritt

    Default Re: Obsolete Software and licencing

    It is only a year or two ago that there were many sites from which "obsolete" software, in particular operating systems could be downloaded.
    Microsoft went around and threatened each one, so that now there are no sites left that I'm aware of where such software can be obtained.
    Microsoft retain copyright to all their software, no matter that they no longer support it or sell it.
    So technically, yes, if you copy it, it is still piracy.

    It's all to do of course with MS forcing people to buy new computers having XP pre-installed, with MS receiving payment.
    They could in fact most likely still earn some small but useful income by selling old software on CDs.
    Their policy also means it is difficult to re-cycle older computers.

    Then again what you do in the privacy of your own home..........

  4. #4

    Default Re: Obsolete Software and licencing

    If you look hard enough I'm sure it can still be found. But yes technically if you don't own the originals it is piracy.

    I personally disagree with the way things like that happen.

  5. #5
    Iain Walmsley

    Default Re: Obsolete Software and licencing

    <bitter rant>
    "Technically" even owning a copy of the software does not always allow you to have one installed copy.

    "Technically" unless you purchased the software and paid retail (as opposed to OEM) costs for it, you are not entitled to install the software on any machine other than the one with which you recieved the OEM software.

    "Technically" its your fault if you cannot identify that the second name under which your copy of the software is registered is someone with whom you have a relationship that would explain it, despite the fact that MS wont actually tell you what said name is.

    However "Technically" MS admits that any discrepencies in licensing (like one copy being registered to more than one user) are quite likely to be due to a system error on your part... but it will require 30 minutes of haggling before this concession is made.
    </bitter rant>


  6. #6
    Iain Walmsley

    Default Re: Obsolete Software and licencing

    Dammit, substitute "system error on their part" for "system error on your part"...

    And it was such a nice rant too..... *sigh* ;-)


  7. #7

    Default Re: Obsolete Software and licencing

    after ur given 10 PCs, u need to buy 10 licenses of win95 or copies as they are obselete now :O

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