By John Gruber
Flatfile: Never format messy spreadsheets again.
Participants in Amazon’s affiliate program — the thing where you publish links to products for sale at Amazon and receive a percentage of each sale from anyone who places an order through those links — get access to detailed daily statistics. For obvious privacy and security reasons, this information contains no personal information about the customers whatsoever. So, I see what people buy through the Amazon links here on DF, but nothing at all about who bought those things.
The links for pre-ordering Leopard are doing well; as of last night, 579 orders have been placed by DF readers. One thing I find interesting is the breakdown between single-license copies and five-license “family packs”: 408 and 171, respectively.
What’s interesting about this is that the single-computer license isn’t enforced in code by the operating system. (Or at least that’s been the case with Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.4.) And, I suspect, most DF readers are aware of this. Which means many readers are doing the right thing simply because they’re honest. I have no idea if this breakdown is representative of the Mac user base as a whole, but if it’s even close, these family packs are a huge success for Apple.
Every time I read stories about the annoyance of dealing with Microsoft’s Windows activation, I’m thankful that Apple doesn’t do anything like that with Mac OS X. One reason they don’t, of course, is that Mac OS X only runs on Apple computers, so it’s not like Apple is getting completely ripped-off by bootleggers or those who install the single-license version on multiple machines. But they could enforce these licenses with serial-checking code, and they could tie serial numbers to machine-specific hardware identifiers. And I’m thankful they don’t.