January 29th, 2007

Protesters in Hazmat suits greet guests at Microsoft Vista launch parties in New York. Technology activists label Vista ‚"Defective By Design‚" and call for consumer boycott.

-New York, January 29, 2007

As Bill Gates declares the ‚"Wow starts now‚" technology activists declare the launch of Vista to be an "Ow starts now," for citizens rights.

Greeting lunch guests at the swank Cipriani's in midtown Manhattan, and later at the nearby Nokia Theater launch party, protesters wearing Hazmat suits and carrying banners calling for Vista to be dumped helped provide an alternative vista for Microsoft's celebrity attendees.

At the event, Peter Brown Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation said, "As computer users grow more frustrated over Digital Restriction Management (DRM), Microsoft is launching an operating system that is built as a platform for DRM. It's been designed to meet the demands of Big Media companies. Vista will usher in a new era of restrictions placed on citizens' rights to control their music, movies and computers. We are calling on users, companies and institutional purchasers to stop widespread adoption of Vista because of the impact on our society's freedoms and rights."

In recent months the technology industry has given Vista a cool reception, with corporate customers largely ignoring the product since its industry launch in November. Now with consumers about to be hit with one of the largest product launches in history, Microsoft is going all-out to hide the truth -- that Vista has little to offer beyond the restrictions it will impose for Big Media. Microsoft has hired comedians, sports stars and TV personalities to help gloss over the fact that Vista poses more of a threat to users' rights than it will benefit them.

The protests at launch events were coordinated by and, campaigns of the Free Software Foundation. Campaign coordinator John Sullivan said, "Today we are handing out free software as an alternative to Microsoft's Vista. We now have software that is 100% free as in freedom, giving users complete control over their computers."

DRM technology is a growing problem for all computer users and, by extension, for all of society. DRM is typically used to restrict individuals' use of their own copies of published works. To enforce these restrictions, DRM software, and now hardware, monitors and controls computer users' behavior. Frequently it reports on what it sees, or cripples functionality if it believes the user has violated the terms of a copyrighted work or end user license of software or hardware.

"The media industry, expectedly, is trying to put the geenie back in the bottle, and they can't. Computer users, music fans -- everybody -- want their media our way; we want to use it on all our hardware, at home, in the office, in the car. We want to share, it is a human impulse. Digital restrictions try to stop all of this," said Gregory Heller, coordinator of, reached by telephone in Seattle.


About is a broad-based, anti-DRM campaign that is targeting Big Media, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors. It aims to make all manufacturers wary about bringing their DRM-enabled products to market. The campaign aims to identify "defective" products for the consumer. Users are being asked to stand up in defense of their existing freedoms and to take action by joining at


The BadVista campaign is an advocate for the freedom of computer users, opposing adoption of Microsoft Windows Vista and promoting free (as in freedom) software alternatives. It was started in November of 2006 by the Free Software Foundation. Their Web site is, and they can be reached by email at

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software - particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants - and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their Web site, located at , is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support their work can be made at They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA

Page Type: