I am not a big fan of Microsoft, but I am not sure what the big deal is here. If you want WinXP/Win2k Pro updates, then you have to validate you have a licensed copy of the software. That is nothing new – there’s been software doing that for at least 20 years. If you don’t want WGA-crapware on your machine, then you don’t have to apply any of the patches. You could make a case that many of these patches are security fixes or bug fixes and that Microsoft is obligated to provide them for free, but eventually there has to be a limit to that support. I also don’t think it is a big deal for Microsoft to expect you to validate your license if you want to install some of their new, free software (e.g. MediaPlayer 10); again, you have a choice.
I am not fond of WGA phoning home secretly, but that is really easy to block for anyone that is concerned. And practically, others that aren’t concerned are probably not likely to care about the data that is sent home.
For computers that aren’t hooked up to the internet, this is probably a non-issue. They don’t need the security fixes and they’ll never get WGA in the first place.
Maybe everyone is just venting about the way Microsoft is implementing their policy? Afraid that they will half-ass it and make it hard on the legal, casual user while pirates work around the problem and carry on. I can definitley appreciate that, since that always seems to be the case with all copy/license protection.
In any case, I think NoClueBoy got it in post #3.