- 59 months ago
There is a fairly well known paradox (I first learned of it through the game 999) called the "Ship of Theseus." I realized today that this paradox relates to the EULA for Windows 8.
Here is the paradox, as described by wikipedia:
"This particular version of the paradox was first introduced in Greek legend as reported by the historian, biographer, and essayist Plutarch,
The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same. —Plutarch, Theseus
Plutarch thus questions whether the ship would remain the same if it were entirely replaced, piece by piece. Centuries later, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes introduced a further puzzle, wondering what would happen if the original planks were gathered up after they were replaced, and used to build a second ship. Hobbes asked which ship, if either, would be considered the original Ship of Theseus.
Another early variation involves a scenario in which Socrates and Plato exchange the parts of their carriages one by one until, finally, Socrates's carriage is made up of all the parts of Plato's original carriage and vice versa. The question is whether, or at what point, they exchanged their carriages."
Now, this relates to the EULA for Windows 8 in the following way:
The Windows 8.1 Pro (which I believe is roughly the same as Windows 8.1 OEM) license agreement, available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windowslicense/ , contains the following excerpts:
"How can I use the software? The software is licensed, not sold. Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install and run one copy on the computer on which you acquired the software (the licensed computer), for use by one person at a time, but only if you comply with all the terms of this agreement. The software is not licensed to be used as server software or for commercial hosting, so you may not make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network. For more information on multiple user scenarios and virtualization, see the Additional Terms.
May I make a backup copy? Yes, you may make a single copy of the software for backup purposes, and use that backup copy as described below."
"Can I transfer the software to another user? You may transfer the software directly to another user, only with the licensed computer. The transfer must include the software, proof of purchase, and, if provided with the computer, an authentic Windows label including the product key. You may not keep any copies of the software or any earlier version. Before any permitted transfer, the other party must agree that this agreement applies to the transfer and use of the software."
Now, what does it mean that you can only use it on one computer? A computer is like the ship of Theseus. You could replace all the parts in a computer one by one, and then build another one out of the original parts.
They attempt to clarify it here:
"Computer. In this agreement, “computer” means a hardware system (whether physical or virtual) with an internal storage device capable of running the software. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a computer. The software is licensed to run on up to two processors on the licensed computer"
"Use in a virtualized environment. If you use virtualization software, including Client Hyper-V, to create one or more virtual computers on a single computer hardware system, each virtual computer, and the physical computer, is considered a separate computer for purposes of this agreement. This license allows you to install only one copy of the software for use on one computer, whether that computer is physical or virtual. If you want to use the software on more than one virtual computer, you must obtain separate copies of the software and a separate license for each copy"