No More Racketware action's aim is to help you avoid paying for software you don't want when you buy a computer.
This freedom of choice, which can be easily set up and used, would allow alternative software, in particular libre software, to be on the market on equal footing with those software prefered by the computer manufacturer. The consumer will thus be more easily able, if such is his/her wish, to decide to use libre software and open formats. For this reason, this action is promoted by the French-speaking Association of Libre software Users (AFUL).
For your household appliances, you are used to be asked whether you wish to subscribe a 5 year warranty extension, and you are free to subscribe it or not. Why should it not be the same when you buy a computer? (whether desktop or laptop). Why should you not be able to choose, when confirming your purchase, to take or to leave the version of Windows (or MacOS or Linux) chosen by the manufacturer?
You will find here:
Please contact us for any additions.
Thanks to the French racketiciel coach team who helps people who intend to obtain a refund, the number of procedures initiated by individuals in France has been growing increasingly (around 20 local rulings by Dec. 2009) since the Refund Guide was published (early 2008), see illustration of team efficiency.
Therefore, AFUL and the French coach team urges interested individuals in all countries to form similar coach teams and are ready to help them. Please contact the French team to know if other people in your country are building a team.
Additional stories can be found in the National Actions websites listed on the left, and on FSFE wiki.
We are a ten-year old group of French-speaking people who try to eradicate this commercial bundling technique that computer producers and vendors have been practicing for almost fifteen years. (more about us in english)
We want people to be able to buy computers with optional software.
No. Many people want software preinstalled. That is fine. We do not mind. We just happen to like other software than those preinstalled, so we simply do not want to pay for them when we buy a computer: we want software optionality for all computers.
Well, some of us prefer other versions of Windows™. And many of us use GNU-Linux or free BSD family instead of Windows™ (most flavours of GNU/Linux or free BSD operating system come with a whole lot of software, most of them free to use or modify, and free of charge).
In French, we call bundled preinstalled software "racketiciels". The English equivalent is "racketware": because bundling forces you to pay for the software even if you do not want them, it has some similarity with racket. We launched a petition against "racketiciels" in 2006, and over 29,000 people signed it. Well, that's at least 29,000 people that want software optionality too.
For instance with an activation key: a big number with many digits, that you need to type on the first time you run the piece of software. If you don't pay for the software license, you don't get the key and so you can't use the software. It's as simple as that. Drawback: you then also don't get that glittering little sticker that authenticates your software license. You therefore need to decorate your computer all by yourself.
No. Ahem, yes: we would like vendors to comply with their obligation to clearly indicate which piece of software is complete and which is just a test version, and also to mention the price for the computer and the price for each piece of software separately. If they do that, we will not necessarily have to go to court and get so much money back that the entire commercial software industry will shortly collapse.
In September 2007, a ruling was made public, which says that Antoine won 311.85 euros, plus 650 euros for various expenses. But initially, he had paid only 599 euros for the computer. So on the whole, he made money when buying his computer! (Well, actually, he also spent a lot of time (more than one year) to get this money back).
The entire ruling is here: PDF (Proximity Court in Puteaux, France).
Because he had been forced to acquire Microsoft™ and other software licenses while he only wanted to purchase the computer itself, and then use other software than what was preinstalled. Forcing people to buy something else with what they really want to buy is called bundling. And it is prohibited in France (and in many other countries too, perhaps in yours).
He was reimbursed 135.20 euros for the Windows™ license because the possibility of being reimbursed was mentioned in the EULA (End User License Agreement).
The EULA is that lengthy text that you see on your screen on the first time you launch your computer or your software. You know: the one that you usually just skip and swiftly press "Next". Well, this text is in fact a contract between you and the software editor: some of these contracts are very nice to you and some are not, you should rather read them once in a while.
He did not intend to use them either (actually, they run only with Windows™ installed), so he requested reimbursement for them too.
He was reimbursed so much (176.65 euros) because the nature of the software was ambiguous: some pieces were in fact only test versions, but they were not presented as such explicitly. So the judge interpreted this issue in the way that was most favourable to the consumer.