Piracy is bad and I believe that especially students studying Computer Science should not pirate software – how can you expect to earn a living by writing and selling software when you are yourself stealing other fellow programmers?
One of the reasons why software piracy is rife is: Why would you bother paying for a software when you can easily get it for free? Your friends are offering you that, loads of sites on the Internet allow you to download those? Well it’s just about being honest; why do you bother buying vegetables, just steal off your neighbor!!!
So if you won’t steal veggies, don’t steal software. However, while you won’t get your greens free, good software is available freely and it’s just a matter of getting used to using it. OpenOffice is a good replacement for Ms Office as is Firefox which is a more than adequate replacement for IE!
However, can you live with only free software?
While I’m a big fan of Linux (it’s free, stable, you don’t get viruses, sypware, …) I unfortunately need to agree that it’s not as straightforward to use as Windows! But guess what, Windows Vista is about $100. It might be peanuts if you live in the US where the average monthly salaries are I guess around $2000 but when you live in Mauritius and the average monthely salary is around $300, it’s just unaffordable! Half of your pay to buy Windows is just crazy!!! Even if you are a Uni graduate and you earn maybe about $700 (which is very good), spending 1/7 of your salary on buying Windows is crazy and it shouldn’t amaze anyone that piracy is rife.
Special Pricing for Developing Countries
While I don’t think an IT graduate should be scared of Linux and be pirating software, I cannot blame others for not using only Open Source or Free software. However, unless special prices are introduced for developing countries, we are simply inviting piracy. We cannot expect someone to spend $40 dollars on a game!
As long as software will be essentially created in Western Europe and the US and spread round the whole world, we cannot expect prices to fall. We thus have only two choices:
- push for Open Source at all costs (yet I don’t see Computer Games being Open Source or free anytime soon)
- start developing good software that everyone want to use in developing countries. It’s time to be creative and productive!