November 09, 2006

A refund for the world's biggest virus

A Dell customer bought a new laptop. In of itself, that particular fact is completely not noteworthy. What is interesting is that the customer planned on using Linux on the laptop and received a refund from Dell for his unused Windows XP totaling $105. Excerpt:

Dell today gave freelance programmer and sysadmin Dave Mitchell, of Sheffield, UK, a refund of 47 pounds ($89) for the unused copy of Microsoft Windows XP Home SP2 bundled with his new Dell Inspiron 640m laptop, Mitchell says. Dell also refunded the tax, for a total of 55.23 ($105).

With few laptops available without the so-called "Microsoft tax", Windows refund requests have long been a slow movement among Linux community organizers. A few Linux users have reported success, but most laptop vendors have refused to honor the refund clause in Microsoft's End User License Agreement (EULA) unless the user returns the entire laptop. A Dell spokesperson was not aware of any policy change.
Dell has not yet requested that Mitchell return his Microsoft hologram sticker or any other materials bundled with the system. The laptop did not come with a Windows CD.

Mitchell was careful to document that he did not run the Microsoft product or accept the EULA. "I booted the laptop, then photographed every step of the boot process up to and including clicking on the XP 'no I don't accept' button. I also scrolled through each page of the EULA, taking a photo of each page," he wrote in an e-mail interview.

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