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would it be a violation to run windows on virtualbox?

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  • CyberPunk​News

     I will explain here at the news room we have a server running redhat linux, and all of our staff have either debian or PC linux running on our desktop since we are a startup we use mostly open source software to deal with some of the cost (building our machines with no OS pre-installed saved a fortune) and outside of our graffix guy who has a mac in his office we all are happy with our linux boxes. That being said once in a blue moon we come across an issue where windows is needed and for the most part wine works just fine, but we were wondering if we would run into a problem if we put a OVF file on the server in a network folder and installed virtual box on all the computers so the virtual machine can be accessed from any machine on the network. would that not be a form of the interoprability that windows and linux. have been working towards?

  • figuerres

    if you have a "legit" copy of windows that did not come as part of a pc then as far as i recall you are "legal" to run it in a VM as long as only one vm is running at any time.

     

    the OEM windows that are packaged with a pC i think are lic. for use only with that pc.

     

    so if you have a retail copy of say windows xp / vista / 7 with the right product key

    then as long as the VM only runs on one pc at any time you are ok.

    if more than one pc can create a vm -- ie 3 vm's then you need 3 licenses.

     

    also i would read the EULA that comes with each copy of windows as it will spell out the terms in full detail, please read it to be sure.

     

  • CyberPunk​News

     

    Well the OVF file is made from the disk that came with that computer, we reformated the drive and installed linux on it. I set the folder the ovf file is in "do not copy" much like read only exept you can write to it during testing to computers can access the Vm on the network/remote fokder at the same time but nothing is saved to the computers that were using it.I also noticed any files saved to a folder within the vm would not show up on the vm viewed by the other computer un til both computers closed the vm, then any of the computers running the vm would see any chnges made,

  • AndyC

    In that case, I'd say definitely yes. For two reasons:

     

    1) OEM licenses are only valid running on the physical hardware, not as a VM.

    2) If multiple instances of the VM are accessible simultaneously, you need a seperate Windows license for each instance that is running.

  • CyberPunk​News

    wow that seems illogical as it dont seem different than guel partitioning.

  • W3bbo

    1) OEM licenses are only valid running on the physical hardware, not as a VM.

    2) If multiple instances of the VM are accessible simultaneously, you need a seperate Windows license for each instance that is running.

    Have the 'no virtualisation' clauses been tested in a court system? To me, I think it's highly likely they would be shot down as unconsciousable and unenforcable: it's (generally speaking) impossible to tell if code is running in a virtualised environment or not so enforcement would be through auditing, in which case it becomes a legal matter: a virtualised PC is still the same physical hardware: only the same code is loaded twice into memory.

    I note that Parallel's Virtuozzo system (of which I have no idea how it works from a technical perspective) hacks Windows by using a single kernel instance, even though user-mode software would be duplicated in-memory. How does that work as far as licensing is concerned?

  • AndyC

    @W3bbo: I've no idea if it's been tested in court, but given that he's running Virtualbox on each individual PC (which never had a Windows license) it's largely irrelevant since the OEM PC isn't running it, the unlicensed client PC's are.

    Even  if you want to consider a dual-boot scenario and VM the same, it's like a dual-boot scenario in which none of the client machines have a valid Windows license. It's a very clear cut case.

    As to Virtuozzo, from the Win 7 Pro EULA:

    2c. Number of Users.

    Unless otherwise provided in these license terms, only one user may use the software at a time on the licensed computer.

    3a. Multiplexing. Hardware or software you use to
    · pool connections, or
    · reduce the number of devices or users that directly access or use the software
    (sometimes referred to as “multiplexing” or “pooling”), does not reduce the number of licenses you need.

     

    So even then you'd still need to comply with licensing terms as if each virtualised instance was a physical machine.

  • CyberPunk​News

    But if that is the case would that not make most remote desktops illegal? I used to work for a company that let us work from home or on the road via remote desktop. the desktop at work was on an XP machine but I had win2000 at the time.(different license). Unless otherwise provided in these license terms, only one user may use the software at a time on the licensed computer.

     

    So I would need a license for every computer viewing a jpeg or doc file on a windows computer attached to or network? I thought the whole deal between microsoft and novell was to help in making these linux box's and windows box's work together.

     

    the ovf file is only on one machine, we have it set up where the ovf file can not be copied from that machine. its like you are just accessing that file from a remote machine like viewing a jpg or mpeg from the only windows machine on the network. only that the file being accessed is the os itsself.

  • AndyC

    @CyberPunkNews: The implementation of Remote Desktop in XP (and later client versions) deliberately locks out other users to ensure that only a single user is using that machine at any one time, to ensure license compliance. Multiple users accessing the same machine via RD requires Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server (formally known as Terminal Server).

     

    The fact that the ovf file is on one machine is irrelevant, that machine is simply acting as a file server. The Virtual Machine is the running instance of Virtual Box. Since each PC is running a virtual machine, each is effectively running a separate instance of Windows and each requires a Windows license. It's the same as if you bought a single user license of Photoshop and installed it on a network drive, you wouldn't expect everyone in the company to be able to use it by just running it from the shared drive (or at least I hope that would be obvious)

     

    The Microsoft/Novell deal has done a great many things to improve interoperability. That does not extend to allowing Linux users free usage of Windows, for rather obvious reasons.

  • CyberPunk​News

    well thank goodness for WINE then.

  • Mr Crash

    It's due to these ridiculous license agreements that many people turn to pirated copies...
    when they want to experiment with VMs.

    So thank goodness for pirates ( someone need to keep companies in place, pirating is just another form of competition, there's a new view point for you Smiley better license agreement == less pirating )

    Wouldn't surprise me if a future license agreement would require you to give the companies ownership of your soul...  Sad

  • W3bbo

    It's due to these ridiculous license agreements that many people turn to pirated copies...
    when they want to experiment with VMs.

    So thank goodness for pirates ( someone need to keep companies in place, pirating is just another form of competition, there's a new view point for you Smiley better license agreement == less pirating )

    Wouldn't surprise me if a future license agreement would require you to give the companies ownership of your soul... 

    The contents of the EULA is largely irrelevant to piracy, because you can still use software you legitimately acquired in violation of the EULA, but that isn't pirating.

    Piracy (or morerather, copyright infringement) is what people turn to in order to get copies of the software (or DRM keys) for free, EULA be damned. You don't need a pirated copy to run Windows in a VM, and EULA disputes don't always lead to piracy (becaue it implies the user wants to comply with the EULA within-reason).

    For what it's worth, I wouldn't personally be concerned about the BSA knocking on your door for running a copy of Windows XP under VirtualBox. Consumer PC magazines (and MSDN blogs) describe (and often advocate) the process countless times and have never received a legal letter from Microsoft legal.

    I like to think it's a case of a disruptive technology (desktop virtualisation) that unintentionally violates the carefully worded license agreements that were written for an earlier time.

     

  • C9Matt

    @W3bbo: No they haven't been tested in court, and no they wouldn't be unenforcable. Your licence says how you can use the software that Microsoft wrote on your machine, and they say you can use it only to run as the operating system of your machine. You can't disassemble it, print it out, covert it to a picture and put it on your wall or run it through another program whose sole purpose is to emulate it on virtualized hardware without Microsoft's explicit say-so. 

     

  • W3bbo

    , C9Matt wrote

    @W3bbo: No they haven't been tested in court, and no they wouldn't be unenforcable. Your licence says how you can use the software that Microsoft wrote on your machine, and they say you can use it only to run as the operating system of your machine. You can't disassemble it, print it out, covert it to a picture and put it on your wall or run it through another program whose sole purpose is to emulate it on virtualized hardware without Microsoft's explicit say-so.

    It depends on jurisidiction. At least in the UK there's the Sale of Goods Act that has a clause covering Unfair Terms and so parts of the EULA can be unenforcable, including the bit about not reverse-engineering.

  • mustgetit

    Well i think yes figuerres is right, if you have legit copy of windows then it will work properly, it may work on others as well but, you might have to face the error of generic webhost. I have been facing similar kinda issue but after replacement of operating system, i get it resolved.

  • C9Matt

    @W3bbo: Unfair terms doesn't mean "I want to do it, and you're not letting me, that's so unfair", it means restricting their disclaimer in the following ways:

    * They cannot reduce the guarrantee beyond the statutory minimum for a normal consumer product,

    * Implied terms of a sale (as per the Sale of Goods act) cannot be withdrawn or excluded by either party to the sale (e.g. fitness for purpose within reason etc)

    * Implied terms of the description, quality or any provided sample cannot be excluded by the seller.

    Additionally they can only protect themselves from Negligence (except for death or injury which is never excluded), Liability, Indemnity or Misrepresentation, subject to a legal assessment of reasonableness:

     

    I think the root cause of your misunderstanding here, is that you think that buying a Windows CD constitutes a "purchase of goods", i.e. purchasing a CD and the data that is on it, whereas it actually constitutes a "purchase of goods" for the CD itself, and a "purchase of services rendered", which is a licence to use the data that is on the CD within the restrictions of the EULA that Microsoft provide you with as part of the sale of the CD - when you buy the CD for $200, you don't get an EULA, because you're buying the CD, not buying Windows. Purchase of the CD entitles you to install Windows subject to agreeing to the terms of the EULA, and implicit in that sale is that if you disagree with any of the terms of the sale, you can return the CD for a full refund.

    The EULA itself is not subject to the Sale of Goods act, and constitutes a Contract between you and Microsoft to use it's product in the way agreed to by both you and Microsoft in the wording of the EULA.

  • Bass

    The problem with Wine is it doesn't always work. There are many apps that Wine will run partially or not at all. I find that virtualization is an almost requirement if you need many Windows apps, unfortunately.

  • C9Matt

    @Bass: Or you could just use VirtualBox etc but respect the EULA. You just need a seperate licence for the Windows in the VM, so you can't use the same Win7 licence key on your host and your guest.

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