We are using Ubuntu for 1.5 years. We have around 50 PCs running on Ubuntu. Before that I was using Windows. Last week I got a call from Microsoft Legal team that they want to do a compliance check. I told them that we are using Ubuntu but they said they still want to check the PCs.

Please let me know what should I do. Will I get into trouble because I used windows 1.5 year back?


"Compliance checks" are code-word for piracy shakedown. When you enter into corporate licensing agreements with Microsoft you often sign over rights for them to come into your business to check that you're only running the number of licenses you've purchased.

They do this because some companies have in the past signed up for near-unlimited MSDN licenses and have then ended them but kept the software.

You will likely find that your contract with Microsoft allows them to come over and look at the computers for a certain number of years past the contract date. You have a few choices:

  • You allow them in per the terms of that contract. This assumes there is a contract that does allow them access but if this is something you have agreed to, let them come over and marvel at all the lost business they've created.

  • You tell them where to stick it and prepare for a fight (or to fight a contract-agreed fine).

  • If you can't find anything in your contract (talk to a lawyer please!) about these sorts of check-ups, tell them where to stick it. They can go through civil procedures to gain access but they'll have to show evidence that you're doing something bad.


@piyush, As far as I know they cannot penalise you for the past. And without your telling them how are they going to know that you were using Windows in the past. We had such an auditing in our firm. it went fine. They came and checked a few systems and ensured that it was using Linux only, also they were seemingly surprised to know that we were even using our printer over the network in Linux. In summary the auditing went fine, and there were no problems at all. From my personal experience I feel that you're worrying unnecessarily. Just allow them to do their work, and they'll be off in no time. that way you can also be at peace.

N.B: I'm basing this opinion on my experience and knowledge. Its better for you to consult some experienced linux system administrator to know the real scenario.

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