Monday, August 24, 2009

Let's end the use of pirated MS Windows OS\Software

I think it a very good idea to end the use of pirated MS Windows OS\Software. Or in the very least help lessen the problem. After all it is illegal and quite frankly there really is no need to take the risks involved.

What risks you may ask? Well, there are many, and I'll list the most important ones...
  • It's Illegal - who is going to find out you may ask? Well I for one wouldn't want to find out.
  • It's a security risk - In this day and age, the security risks are many. Specially if you manage your finances on your computer.
  • Pirated software is not safe - many of their sources can't be trusted and often lead to infections with worms and viruses that look to compromise more than your HW.
  • Lack of support - the internet is a good source of info, but while searching for solutions, you risk getting or soliciting help from scam artists.
That is just a brief list, and quite frankly it should be enough to turn you away from using illegal\pirated proprietary software. It's become such a problem that it also affects legal users that have to endure the anti piracy measures being taken by the companies that sell their proprietary software.

According to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, pirated OS\Software users make up a bigger market than Linux & Apple users combined.

It really shouldn't be so. There is no excuse for opting for pirated proprietary products when there are legal far more affordable options available. Not to mention far more secure in many ways when it comes to using your computer for all personal reasons.

I understand that these are very tough economic times, and the price of Windows and Apple systems is just too high. I couldn't agree more, quite frankly not only are they expensive, but if you are savy enough to deal with pirated OS\Software and its associated security risks, then they are also not aimed at you since they restrict your computing experience as if you were their target market.

I wholeheartedly believe that many if not all of people using illegal\pirated software are savy enough to be using Linux. As a windows server admin whose had his fare share of systems compromised over my carreer in IT, I can tell you that the small problems you'll encounter adapting and learning to use Linux, are small potatoes compared to having your system compromised by a virus or worm that can potentially steal your identity, banking information, and force you to reinstall your operating system.

I don't mean to say people that use pirated software are the ones doing the piracy... on the contrary those folks are far more skilled than the Proprietary Software companies themselves. What I mean to say is that if you are savy enough to use pirated OS\software and deal with its associated risks and ARE ABLE to fix them, then you are no ordinary user. Or one that needs to be led by the hand as Microsoft and Apple aim to do with their target market.

What I mean to say is that you need to be freed from their reigns, and should be enjoying a better computing experience. Now it will take a little bit of learning, but anyone can deal and fix a messed up Windows installation, then you are selling yourself short thinking Linux wouldn't be as easy or any easier.

Linux is a real world option these days. It is free and legal to download, use and redistribute. It has come a long way to becoming more user friendly and compatible with lots of hardware out there. Not only that, but gives you more control over your system and many fixes are simple editing of text files using the command line. While this intimidate mosts, they need to get over it... the command line is the isht when X windows wont start.

Applications are also a dime a dozen, and if this old Windows Server Admin has managed to find applications to do everything I used to do in Windows (from editing photos, docs, spreadsheets to even color calibrating my monitor and playing games) so can everyone one of those users taking risks on illegal OS\software. And the beauty of it all is that all those options are also free and legal to download use and redistribute.

Think about it, if you dislike Microsoft for their over priced products and want nothing more than to stick it to the man, don't do it in a fashion where they can get back at you. Stop using their products to send a clear message and do it legally by opting to use Linux. I can almost guarantee that Windows will not be an option once you have familiarized yourself with Linux.

It's time to put those computer savy skills to good use and give Linux a try. Give it a real shot as it will likely have you a bit confused at first while you get familiar with it. In the end, it will be worth it and the help online is free and there are some incredibly knowledgeable Linux users out there that want nothing more than to extend a lending hand.

Wouldn't it be nice if Windows and Apple offered their OS and applications free and allowed you to pay what you could afford instead of the ridiculous price they set for their products and then charge for support?

Well in the world of Linux, you can do just that. Once I found the distribution of choice, I donated to that project a set amount I was financially comfortable with. You read that right... and while some may say that Linux problem is the many flavors it comes in, I think it one of its greater strengths and went shopping for a distribution that looked and felt the way I wanted.

I legally, downloaded it, use it and if I didn't like it, went on to the next one I wanted to try... Try that with your illegal pirated offering... or legal proprietary purchase for that matter ;)


dandart said...

Great! I agree! We NEED to spread this!

Akshay Guleria said...

Well said. I was reluctant to switch to linux for sometime due to one issue or another. But then when you make the move, you just got to do. Like you said, it really is a real world option. Its no more geeky stuff. My wife is happily using it for a few months now.

Daniel said...


I do admit that I was a member of MS pirates, but then I learnt about Open Source Software alternatives and Linux, I immediately changed my ways. Now I'm running Linux Mint and use nothing but free/open source software, and I do not intend to turn back to Windows.

kopors said...

All true and valid reasons to switch to Free Software. However, most such discussions on the web (especially coming from IT specialists and network admins) seem to forget the other "fang" of the proprietary claws in computing: applications with no valid equivalent in the GNU/Linux software stack. I don't think I should reiterate the various and lenghty descriptions of how Gimp is inadequate in the print business, or how Video Editing is practically in its infancy in Linux, let alone the tight grip Autodesk has with its CAD products in the respective fieldThe truth of the matter is that for some tasks in computing, the industry dictates which software piece will be used, and there is no way to persuade professionals in the field to alter their workflow significantly. I'm not talking here about printing or viewing some photos, or burning the occasional CD, surfing the web, etc. Working in print without CMYK or 16 bit color, not having a decent NLE in video editing and dealing with the ever-evolving mess that is audio production software products in GNU/Linux is what turns most productive professional user off the free software solution. It may be argued that vendors don't release proper drivers, or that proprietary software houses should open up their formats, or that the open source development model works differently and we should get used to it, which are all very much true. However, for whatever reason, the "other" platform provides a usable workflow and productive apps to "get work done", which, unfortunately, doesn't happen in the free software world. Yes, I can configure Gimp with the CMYK plug-in and the littleCMS proggie and use inkscape for my vector needs (very capable package btw), but I end up doing 50% of my time configuration work. Yes, I am forced to do maintenance work in Windows, and deal with the antivirus/anti-malware overhead. But I manage to do work that PAYS.
Now don't get me wrong. I admire the whole FLOSS community of users and developers and I use GNU/Linux 95% of the time at home. I don't take the software offered for granted and try to express my gratitude in various ways, notwithstanding trying to help in forums and filing the occasional bug report. But at work, or when there is time pressure I must turn to proprietary software to be productive. Whatever the reasons, which I am more the happy to ponder upon in the blogs , forums and lists, free software does not enter the professional workflow, and the remarkable succes of firefox and the like is not enough of an incentive to persuade power users. Yes , for secretarial and office work you could do a lot worse than a simple and configured Linux box, but when the going gets tough...
Just my 2c ..

stu said...

kopors: I appreciate your comments, however for me it is just the reverse. When my boss asked me to make up a number of graphics projects to use on the company network, training handouts, power point tutorials, etc., I had no choice. The company IT guys balked at the idea of dipping into their budget for licenses to the software I asked for, and told me to use MS Paint. Yes, the same version of MS Paint that came bundled with Windows 3.1 and allows you to rotate a square in 90 degree increments only. For my projects, I kept a very old PII 300 laptop with 192MB of ram in my desk drawer running Debian and all the FOSS software packages I needed, (Open Office, Inkscape and Gimp, along with a few others). There is essentially no difference running Open Office Presentations in MS Power Point and vice a versa. The Gimp was all I needed to edit and create raster based images, and Inkscape easily filled my need for SVG graphics. The .svg files I simply saved as .png for use on our network (since Windows doesn't natively support .svg graphics), and for special printing projects, I saved them as .pdf images which Kinko's had no trouble with. As a bonus, since it was MY machine, I was free to load it up with all the music and videos I wanted without fear that the Network Admin would wipe them out as unauthorised network content! Even though my company frowns on bringing personal computers to work, they KNOW that I can do 10 times as much with my ancient Linux box as I can with the brand new Windows computer they gave me. Granted, I am not a computer graphics professional, but I do about 80% of the graphics we use inside the company. Running Linux at work keeps me a happy, productive camper, and more importantly, it keeps my boss happy.

wamukota said...

First you must make a difference between the home user and the bussiness user.

For a home user, the price for closed source software is way to high, while the industry negociates lower fares for the software and those expenses are most of the time tax-deductable.

So, arguments about Gimp and Photoshop or AutoDesk CAD series do not apply, because they are for professional users.

Home users like to show off with Photoshop and other professional software. It is in their nature (my car is better than yours syndrome), only they cannot afford it. So they pirate.

If Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft and other Nortons would deliver 'light' versions of their software, more would be bought. Look at Apple. They sell the iWorks for something like 60 EUR (end-user price - not student license price). Compare this with MS-Office and you see why Office is pirated.

Before switching to Linux, I only had MS-Windows running and all the other software was open-source whenever possible. Having the same software running in Linux made the transition simple.

Promote multi-platform open-source software and support the programmers that develop it - there is a donate button on most of their websites) so that more time and effort can be put in it, and you will not need any expensive closed source software on your home box.

Manuel said...

Trying to answer to Kopors's message a little bit.

It is true that, there is software that cannot be handled by the FOSS, at least not yet. I suffer from that problem at my work with the non-existence of ERP programs in Portugal. However, that is not the goal of the author's message. He's just directioning he's speach to those who are using illegal software showing that there's a different road.

Gnu/Linux users (at least the ones with a common sense) just try to alert those people out there of the advantages, bearing in mind that it is impossible nor desireble to completely replace the proprietary software.

For those (like myself personally) who just use a computer to do basic tasks like write a letter, check emails, bank accounting, surffing the web, editing some photos, and their home made videos, find in FOSS the perfect solution in comparison to the illegal alternative. There are a lot of valid reasons to do that besides the ones mentioned by the author, like the hardware. I'am typing from a 2004 laptop which came with a legal copy of XP, nevertheless with all upgrades and SP's it became almost unusable in Windows although it runs my favorite gnu/linux distro pretty well.

Using Gnu/Linux does not stop anyone from using Windows. It opens you mind for the choice. For those who are seeking for information and sometimes get stuck in a flame war between stupid contenders just read the author's positive message and give it a try, but a real try.

Giovanni said...

Kopor dixit:
"Whatever the reasons, which I am more the happy to ponder upon in the blogs , forums and lists, free software does not enter the professional workflow, ..."

There is, however, a notable exception: professional software development for non MS operating systems.

Giovanni said...

One of many examples to support my previous post are the mission critical systems for avionics, military, etc., which usually mandates that its software must be written using the Ada language. In those cases, mostly of the professional (and commercial) software development is done with AdaCore's FOSS tools.

gsx said...

True true,

Linux's greatest competition is not Microsoft but pirated microsoft software especially in the developing world.

I am Linux savvy and use it on my laptop but in the country I live in a working copy of Microsoft Windows server 2003 Enterprise costs the equivalent of $1 US in the local bazaar. At those prices there is no incentive to try alternatives. I have found myself wishing and praying that Microsoft would somehow work with the local authorities to enforce their intellectual property rights to give Linux a working chance to show it's mettle

Anabel said...

Oooou! Nice! I'm tweeting this!

Racer Raul said...

korpos you are absolutely right about the Professional\Business end.

But if we get back on topic, as professional\business owners\employees we do not use any pirated products. We need to invest in the industry standards and those investments are justified by the returns.

In no way did I mean to imply that there is any excuse for using illegal software. Businesses make the investments in what is needed and end users have very real options in Free Software to not have to sort to pirated products.

I'm with you korpos... in the business world. You have to use the right tools. Legally, that is...

Jeremy said...

I have used FOSS/Linux exclusively for about 6 years now, I remember the day I wiped my last windows infected PC clean, that was the day that I was first able to hold my head high, to walk free and proud!

Anonymous said...

The development of the IT sector especially in the countries such as India and China has gone a long way in changing the face of these countries. The rise of the middle class, the interest that the foreign market is showing in these countries, and the overall development of the economies of these countries can be massively owed to the growth and flourish of the IT sector.

Seth said...

Anonymous said...

Hey guys and gals, Raul passed away in an unfortunate motorcycle accident. He will be missed.

Story posted here: