ExtremeTech has a fairly ho-hum article on how to build a Windows Home Server. (They basically propose using off-the-shelf PC parts and claim they’ve duplicated the functionality of an HP MediaSmart Server. Well, except that it’s twice as big. And it needs a monitor and keyboard, unlike the headless HP box. And it doesn’t have the slide-in-slide-out hot-swappable drive bays or the useful front-panel status lights. Ahem.)
But this line had me shaking my head:
Windows Home Server (WHS), released this fall as an OEM product—which you can buy at NewEgg and other sites as long as you buy one other minor hardware item—addresses the need to “open up” our home networks. [emphasis added]
They have a variation on this statement one page later:
You can buy the OEM version of Windows Home Server at sites like NewEgg.com, as long as you buy one other piece of hardware. [emphasis added]
You’d think a site that publishes build-your-own-PC articles every month would know the rules of OEM software by now, but apparently they don’t. I read this same mistake at other sites that should know better at least once a month. The trouble is, this hasn’t been true for more than two years!
I’ve written this before but I guess it needs repeating occasionally: Microsoft changed the rules for its System Builder OEM program in 2005, eliminating the requirement to purchase a piece of hardware and specifically allowing end users who are building or refurbishing a PC to purchase a single copy of an OEM license.
And yes, you can legally purchase an OEM copy if you intend to build a single PC or server (including Windows Home Server), for yourself or for someone else. I first wrote about this on August 30, 2005, in which I quoted from the official Microsoft OEM agreement:
OEM system builder software packs are intended for PC and server manufacturers or assemblers ONLY. They are not intended for distribution to end users. Unless the end user is actually assembling his/her own PC, in which case, that end user is considered a system builder as well.
So can we please stop spreading the myth that you have to buy a 99-cent cable with your $200 copy of Windows? It’s not true.