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OnLive Desktop Now Uses Windows Server 2008R2

By - Source: Brian Madden | B 19 comments

OnLive has solved its licensing issues with Microsoft by streaming Windows Server 2008R2 instead of Windows 7.

OnLive has reportedly resolved its licensing issues with Microsoft over the OnLive Desktop app by quietly switching out Windows 7 for Windows Server 2008R2. Users noticed the switch over the weekend, and so far OnLive hasn't published an official announcement reporting the obvious change.

"We're pleased to have been told that the OnLive desktop application is now accessing our software by hosting it on Windows Server," Microsoft said on Wednesday.

The news arrives after Microsoft said it would investigate how OnLive planned to dish out a Windows 7 environment without forcing a licensing fee on each user. Critics immediately questioned the OnLive service shortly after it went live months ago, thus sparking Microsoft's interest. So far the only devices capable of running OnLive Desktop are Apple's iPad and several Android tablets.

"It's unfortunate that it went down the way it did," reports desktop virtualization expert Brian Madden. "Gabe and Jack met with OnLive CEO Steve Perlman back in January and asked how OnLive Desktop was licensed, because it appeared to be illegal. Steve just told them that they had a lot of licensing experts in the company and that it was fine."

Perlman reportedly has close ties with Microsoft, as he was previously a division president at Microsoft and has sold startups to the software maker. But currently it's unknown whether anything really changed in the app, or whether OnLive just made this small change to satiate the community, Madden added.

So far no details have been forthcoming from either company in regards to what terms were reached. In OnLive Desktop's present state, according to reports, Windows 7 is "sorely" missed. Removed are Windows Journal and the touch optimizations provided by Windows 7. Internet Explorer is reportedly lackluster under the new OS, rounding out a reportedly overall "difficult" tablet operation experience.

"The new OnLive Desktop based on Windows Server is still functionally equivalent, with access to the full MS Office suite, but the touch operation is clumsy at best. For a service that is accessed on an iPad or Android tablet, this makes operation much harder than it was with Windows 7 running things," ZDNet's James Kendrick reports.

Despite the removal of Microsoft's touch-optimized Windows 7, the current replacement is still a functionally equivalent OS, granting access to the full MS Office suite although the touch controls are reportedly "clumsy at best." Some users are complaining that handwriting support has simply vanished.

Guise Bule, cofounder of VDI consultancy tuCloud, doesn't think OnLive is being completely open about its compliance with Microsoft. There's concern that OnLive may have merely thrown on a skin to make Windows 7 looks like Windows Server 2008R2. While that may seem silly, Madden seemingly backs up this theory suggesting that it's possible to configure the Windows Server desktop to look and feel like a Windows 7 desktop.

"We're not completely convinced," Bule told The Register. "We think they may have skinned Windows 7 to make it look like Server 2008R2. We're seeing traces of Windows 7 in there, but can't prove it. If they have downgraded to R2, then at least they are playing on the same playing field as the rest of us."

Honestly, re-skinning Windows 7 to fool Microsoft just doesn't seem like a tactic OnLive would take given the progress it's made in streaming games and a DaaS.

Discuss
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  • -2 Hide
    Flameout , April 12, 2012 2:58 AM
    hosting without linux? fail
  • 1 Hide
    phamhlam , April 12, 2012 3:20 AM
    I still think that they haven't solve the licensing issue. They need to stop running in circles and solve the problem.
  • 2 Hide
    jhansonxi , April 12, 2012 3:35 AM
    Flameouthosting without linux? fail
    While many Windows games have dedicated servers that run on Linux, the clients don't. Until Wine works reliably (and faster) they don't have a choice, especially in a multi-user environment. The only other option is to use OS X with ported versions of the clients but that obviously isn't going to be cheaper, especially since there is only one hardware vendor.
  • 3 Hide
    robertking82881 , April 12, 2012 3:51 AM
    Microsoft is has most used os in the entire world and most likely the richest company to date yet they worrie about loseing a few dollors… its not like onlive is not paying the software
  • 0 Hide
    robertking82881 , April 12, 2012 3:52 AM
    has*
  • 1 Hide
    captaincharisma , April 12, 2012 4:36 AM
    Flameouthosting without linux? fail


    gaming on Linux FAIL
  • 1 Hide
    fixxxer113 , April 12, 2012 11:31 AM
    Normally, if you want to license windows client OS for virtual desktops, every user has to obtain a VDA license. This Licesne is a subscription service that would cost OnLive about $100 a year (without taxes etc.) for every user. So the most probable scenario in order to comply with Microsoft, would be to transfer that cost to the user's subscription. What probably happened was that OnLive probably did not have those licenses for every user and probably did not want that extra cost on their service.

    On the other hand, sending desktops remotely from Windows Server, requires a Remote Desktop Services license for every user (on-off purchase, no subscriptions), which is a lot cheaper.

    Of course working with the Server desktop is not recommended, for functionality and security reasons, but it seems that OnLive did not like the alternative.

    Microsoft is putting a big obstacle in virtual desktop implementations with this subscription model and a lot of companies and users worldwide have complained. This leads to many companies not using these licenses and just hoping never to be audited. IMO, Microsoft should just put virtual desktop rights in every windows license and stop asking for money every year. The whole point of setting up virtual desktops, especially in a large scale, is that is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying the equivalent number of actual PCs.

    There are a lot of free versions of Hypervisor software these days (even Microsoft's own Hyper-V), servers are cheap and powerful, thin clients also. The only thing that messes up the whole model is Microsoft's VDA Licensing...
  • 0 Hide
    extremepcs , April 12, 2012 1:20 PM
    Or people could stop buying toys and get a real computer, making this service irrelevant.
  • 1 Hide
    captaincharisma , April 12, 2012 1:58 PM
    Quote:
    Or people could stop buying toys and get a real computer, making this service irrelevant.


    you mean there are people actually using this?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 12, 2012 2:26 PM
    If this is a solution they reached in agreement with Microsoft, then great. It just shows that Microsoft handled this very well.
  • 0 Hide
    igot1forya , April 12, 2012 2:58 PM
    I wonder if they had to negotiate some kind of TS CAL agreement which is why the switch to 2008R2. I can only imagine the next EULA update from MS regarding these types of services.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , April 12, 2012 3:13 PM
    captaincharismagaming on Linux FAIL

    What does OnLive desktop have to do with gaming?
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , April 12, 2012 3:25 PM
    Quote:
    What does OnLive desktop have to do with gaming?


    do you even know what OnLive is?
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , April 12, 2012 4:59 PM
    robertking82881Microsoft is has most used os in the entire world and most likely the richest company to date yet they worrie about loseing a few dollors… its not like onlive is not paying the software


    M$ is not the wealthiest company and it was a legitimate complaint on M$'s part when OnLive failed to meet the licensing requirements for Windows. Whether or not the licensing is fair is a different story that should also be dealt with, but illegitimately using Windows is technically stealing even if the legitimate way to use it in this scenario means either spending far more money/charging customers far more money than they want to or jumping through hoops.

    As for using the server version instead, it shouldn't be difficult to fix any problems that the default installation has with UI/touch. I use Windows Server 2008r2 x64 on some of my machines because it is faster and a lot memory lighter than Windows 7 (not as good as XP in that, but it's close and it has increased functionality over XP so it's a fair compromise, whereas Vista and 7 use way to much resources).

    If OnLive using the server solves the licensing probem, then they should solve the user interaction problem themselves. It's easy, just use a few small third party programs (may of which are freeware anyway). It wouldn't cost OnLive any more if they use freeware to fix this problem and I fail to understand why they haven't unless they want to give more reasons for being mad at M$.

    Still, glad that they have compromised with M$ because it means that they get to continue providing their service.
  • -1 Hide
    MarioJP , April 12, 2012 5:43 PM
    VladislausWhat does OnLive desktop have to do with gaming?


    Onlive is not used for desktop. Its a gaming streaming service, and because 99% of pc gaming runs on windows and only 1% of Linux does has something to do with gaming.
  • 1 Hide
    tokencode , April 12, 2012 7:45 PM
    Flameouthosting without linux? fail

    Having managed 40k end-users in a hosted in environment for various enterprise applications that do not support linux, I would say your comment=fail.
  • 1 Hide
    Vladislaus , April 12, 2012 8:37 PM
    captaincharismado you even know what OnLive is?

    Did you even read the article, It's abut their OnLive Desktop, it has nothing to do with gaming.

    You can follow this link to read more about it: http://desktop.onlive.com/
  • 1 Hide
    Vladislaus , April 12, 2012 8:42 PM
    mariojpOnlive is not used for desktop. Its a gaming streaming service, and because 99% of pc gaming runs on windows and only 1% of Linux does has something to do with gaming.

    I will repeat, please read the article. Their using Windows 2008 R2 for their Onlive Desktop product, it has nothing to do with gaming. It has to do with the ability to use windows and office while using for example a tablet or smartphone. Also Windows 2008 is hardly an ideal platform for gaming since quite a few games have issues with it.

    If you want to know more please go to the link I posted in the above comment.
  • -1 Hide
    MarioJP , April 13, 2012 12:06 AM
    This does not make any sense whatsoever. Onlive is suppose to be the next big thing in gaming. This is going to flop for the application. a virtual desktop on a tablet?? really??