False positives, false negatives

You’ve probably already read the news about Microsoft’s broken anti-piracy system breaking down completely over the last weekend. This caused an unknown, but presumably large, number of legitimate copies of Windows to be marked as pirated.

This video, however, shows an Ubuntu Linux computer running Wine, a Windows emulator, and IE 6 from ies4linux, running the same anti-piracy validation software. And the punchline? The validation succeeded; Microsoft’s program marked the computer as legitimate.

Of course, everything happening in this video is legitimate; Wine is a totally legal reverse-engineering of the Windows system libraries, and ies4linux works by downloading all the necessary, freely available parts of IE 6 from Microsoft and installing them. All legal, assuming you own a copy of Windows. But wouldn’t you expect that the anti-piracy tool from one of the biggest software companies in the world would notice that it was being run on what is effectively a different operating system?