Last Friday saw the launch of Windows 8, the latest “best Windows ever” release from the Beast of Redmond.

However, the launch was not without its problems for MS, as reported by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The FSF crashed the Windows 8 launch event in New York City. A cheerful GNU and her team handed out DVDs loaded with Trisquel GNU/Linux (a Linux distribution that meets the FSF’s very strict definition of free. Ed.), FSF stickers and information about the FSF’s new pledge, which asks Windows users to upgrade not to Windows 8, but to GNU/Linux.

The FSF crew at NYC Windows 8 launch

The FSF crew at NYC Windows 8 launch

A friendly gnu handing out FSF stickers

Have a FSF sticker!

I must concur with the FSF’s conclusion: Windows 8 is a downgrade, not an upgrade since it compromises users’ freedom, security and privacy. Some of the ‘features’ of Windows 8 identified by the FSF that Microsoft won’t tell potential users about are:

  • Restricts freedom: Windows 8 is proprietary software. At its core, it’s designed to control you as a user. You can’t modify Windows 8 or see how it is built, meaning Microsoft can use its operating system to exploit users and benefit special interests.
  • Invades privacy: Windows 8 includes software that inspects the contents of your hard drive and Microsoft claims the right to do this without warning. These programs have misleading names like “Windows Genuine Advantage.”
  • Exposes personal data: Windows 8 has a contacts cache that experts fear may store sensitive personal data and make users vulnerable to identity theft.