I thought that the Windows refund campaign had died in 1999. But the BBC are reporting that a Sheffield man has got a refund of £55.23 from Dell by refusing to accept the standard Windows licence that came with his new PC and installing Linux on it instead.
PC manufacturers like Dell have a deal with Microsoft whereby they pay less for Windows if they pay for a licence on every PC that they sell. This encourages them to install Windows on every PC (as they have to pay for it anyway) and that, in turn, discourages people from installing alternative operating systems on their computers. If you’ve paid for a copy of Windows then why would you install something else instead?
By forcing PC vendors to refund the money on unused copies of Windows, then they might reconsider the deals they have with Microsoft and will be more likely to start selling PCs with alternative operating systems installed.
Hopefully this will lead to a resurgence of the Windows refund campaign. Which will lead to more choice to consumers. Which can only be a good thing.
p.s. I’ve just realised that the chap who got the refund is Dave Mitchell who is a member of the core Perl development team. I’ve always said that Perl hackers were top people.
 Well, unless you’re one of those communist, open source weirdos!