lunes, 8 de noviembre de 2010

A Proud Pirate...and an Unnecessary Risk

According to what I've read online, a woman was sued for pirating about 20 songs and now she has to pay around $2 million.

Wow! That's big money...and big trouble, for sure.

Now, that made me remember the day I spoke with a young pirate, some time ago, before my migration to Linux.

He was very happy. He told me "I got Windows for free" with a bright smile on his face.

I asked him "But what about the serial number?"

He said "No problem. I got a loader and activated my Windows already."

Then I asked him what he'd do if Microsoft got wise and found out.

He replied proudly "No problem. I also got a special loader that changes my serial number every week or so, so I won't get caught easily." this the new set of values young people uphold?

Now that I'm into free software, several questions come to my head. For example, if this proud pirate was willing to go such lengths to have an OS for free, why not giving Free Software a try? At least he wouldn't be breaking the law... Had I known about Free Software back then, I'd have asked him. I didn't know, so I just told him to be careful because he was playing with fire and I was sure Microsoft would do something about it.

Microsoft is indeed getting wiser. Windows 7 SP-1 does not bring many changes to the OS, Microsoft says. So, what does it bring? Let's guess. It must benefit someone...if not the end user, who gets the benefit?

Some may think that this little pirate wanted Windows and no other OS because he thought it was indeed superior...

"If you believe Microsoft's products are indeed superior, why don't you pay for them?", I'd like to ask him now.

Yes. Maybe I'm old-fashioned or maybe I'm just plain old. I moved away from Windows when I could find no longer a strong reason to pay for it. I no longer perceived a balance between price and security/efficiency in Redmond's OS. Sorry, Mr.Ballmer...I didn't fall for your words.

I guess I could still get Windows "for free." However, the idea of living on the edge, changing the plate of my car any time I ride it does not seem too comfortable nor it looks appealing to me. Depending on a loader and a serial changer to use my computer doesn't seem anything to be proud of, either. I see that as a totally unnecessary risk, especially after I found legal alternatives that do not compromise my ethical stand.

Now that I embraced Free Software, I realized that whenever I change anything in my car, I do it for curiosity and for the fun of doing it, not to hide myself from anyone. If I'm tired of KDE, I jump to Gnome or to E-16 and even combine them. I have experienced no explosions yet, in spite of what Linux detractors may say...and I am no programmer AND barely know 3 commands for my console.

I wonder how this proud pirate is doing nowadays. Will his loader still be working or will he be the next headline-maker?

I don't know...

3 comentarios:

  1. Good question. If you think Windows 7 is that good, then you should pay for it. Why risking yourself with a pirated copy? I remember reading a pie chart in which Ballmer stated that the main competition Windows had was pirated Windows. Surely, Ballmer does not like the idea of letting people use Windows 7 for free.

    Linux is free and I decided to pay for the PowerPack version of Mandriva because I appreciate the work they did.

    I think that going to jail because you download songs is outrageous, but if they are enforcing such laws, computer users should wake up before they end up paying millions because of a OS that is not worth it.

  2. I have my own theory on why people keep using Windows and not Linux. The market makes consumers pay for services and products that deserve to be paid for. Therefore, it is believed that if you do not pay for what you consume, it is basically because what you consume is not worth to pay for. Consequently, and according to my theory, people are afraid of using Linux because they think that for being free software, the operating system’s quality is not as trustworthy as Windows’. This misconception is hard to erase from people’s mind, and I do not believe is their fault; they only need to be motivated into trying new products, even when those are for free.
    In order to encourage people towards using Linux instead of downloading Windows illegally, it would be a good idea to start promoting Linux in a wider way. I am conscious that advertising demands enormous amounts of money, but the long-term results may benefit users tremendously, and even Linux producers can make a lot of money out of this investment.

    Mora, M.

  3. @ Melissa,

    Your theory may be right in the sense that a lot of people think that way, but that relationship is not necessarily true. There are products that are cheap and at the same time their quality is undeniable. When voracious, greedy businesspeople notice them, they want them and if they get their dirty hands on them, prices go up. Electricity, water, phone services are an example here. Those who complain about them simply ignore the situation in other countries.

    The best advertising for Linux is when users simply get fed up with the flaws of Windows. That's why Microsoft invests so much money demonizing Linux and covering up Windows shortcomings.