Why You Should Pay To License Software.

Tuesday, 11. August 2009

Why it’s important to pay for every copy of software you use.

Recently, I was chatting with some ‘Non Geek’ friends about the software they run on their home PCs. I was not surprised to hear that most of them ran a Microsoft OS and almost all Microsoft software. What was a surprise, was how many of them did not purchase the software for their PCs, or did not pay the license fees for every PC that was running the software on.

All my business software is licensed… That’s all that matters, right?

NO! That’s not all that matters. The law is clear. If you run it, you have to license it. There are no exceptions to this. What really blew my mind, was how many of them thought that they were totally licensed even though they are running 3 copies of the same software on a single license.

Wait a minute, aren’t you the guy who hates Microsoft and runs nothing but Open Source Software?

Well, yes, I have been known to call M$ the evil empire. But being anti Microsoft does not mean I think pirating software isn’t stealing. In fact, every piece of software we run is fully licensed and meet all the standards that are required to run under the license we are using. If that license requires a payment of fees, then we pay those fees. I happen to believe that you are foolish to pay money for a software package that has a free and open source alternative, but if I need to run something that requires fees, I’m glad to pay them.

Why am I such a advocate against software piracy? Well, let’s face it, the biggest reason that open source software hasn’t gotten a real foothold on the Windows PC, is due to software piracy. If home users had to pay for the software they currently run illegally, they would quickly look at other software solutions to do their home computing.

Now, let’s say that tomorrow, all the Microsoft Office installs nation wide, go out on the Internet to “phone home” and check the legitimacy of their license. Let’s assume that this little check disables all the Office programs on systems with questionable licenses. And let’s say that when the user accesses one of those programs, a little window pops up and demands a CC number for continued use. What do you think would happen?

Headlines read: “Mass Migration Of MS Office Users to Alternate Programs.”

Well, that might be a bit of a stretch, but think about it. If everyone had to pay to properly license Office, would more people switch to Open Office? And if people were running Open Office at home, would businesses be more open to moving away from M$ Office? I think Maybe…

— Stu


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