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A court ordered someone to switch to Windows to enable monitoring

A friend shared an interesting post with me from Ars Technica about a recent torrent website owner getting jailtime .

One of the more interesting facts from the article was the disposition of a previous case in 2007 which somehow escaped my attention back then. Scott McCausland was forced to have his computer monitored as a condition of his probation. He noted in his blog that, “their software doesn’t support GNU/Linux (which is what I use). So, he told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on.”
I think there is a snarky lesson in all of this. Windows is the choice of those who want to monitor your every move. Irony aside McCausland “added a donation link to his blog to help pay for the cost of a Windows license.” This is a very real additional cost that wasn’t really considered by the judge. I’ve complained about this privately when the Extension School at Harvard offered a statistics class which only allowed the use of a Windows based statistics program. This was not known to me when I signed up and I subsequently withdrew from the course (costing me both time and money) because I refused to deal with a Windows only learning environment.

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