Friday, August 17, 2007

Windows is Free...!!!

This post is inspired from at article by Dave Gutteridge. You can find the original article here. You might have wondered Windows is known for not being free software, then why the title says windows is free? Well though Windows is priced around 15k bucks in India, I wonder how many home users really buy the original software. The money to Microsoft mostly comes from Corporate and PC Manufacturers who bundle their software along with their pc's or laptops. Well coming to my experience, when I first saw computer and start realizing what a computer is, I never knew that windows actually cost. I started using my computer in my 10th standard. At that time all I knew was windows is a operating system and its cd costs 100 rupees in the computer shop. I have seen every one in our town buying assembled pcs with so called inbuilt windows, which actually is a pirated one. It took about 1 year for me to realize that iam using a pirated version of windows and there is a concept called original software which costs more than the rate to which my computer wala sells to everyone.

Pirating proprietary software became such an easy task that many don’t even bother to know what the actual cost of the software is. I myself downloaded many softwares from the internet with out even bothering about their true price. For a common computer user, the difference between pirated and open source software is that the first need a crack to be downloaded and the second doesn’t need any of such kind.

When one don’t even think of buying a stolen laptop or wrist watch or any other item , why don’t anyone give a second of thought before buying or downloading pirated software?

Its jus bcoz we know that the original owner of the stolen thing is loosing something and we choose not to be responsible for it. But in case of softwares, everyone knows Microsoft is a giant company, bill gates is the richest man in the world, Microsoft doesn’t loose anything if I use pirated windows or I refrain from using windows coz it gets its money no matter what i do.

Another factor which attributes to this piracy-free concept, which I think Dave has missed out in his article is softwares including songs, copyrighted videos and pictures are not real physical entities. They are the things which appear in the computer and disappear when u switch off ur computer. Even in the real world, if a manufacturer has a power to replicate his product without any extra cost or if any other individual has the power to make copies and distribute his Benz car to his kith and kin and if u r given a cover so that no one can see ur real identity and u can hide the things which u steal whenever u feel like, I bet many would prefer stealing the Benz car instead of going for a Maruti, or stealing a Nike shoe instead of going for a normal local made shoe. As this doesn’t happen in real world, piracy of Benz car or a Nike shoe is never found.

I feel there must be mapping the virtual world inside the computer to the real world in order to avoid piracy or any other illegal activities.One has to be tracked of his activities on the net like he is in the real world. One cannot make multiple or fake profiles in the real world, but it’s the computer world, its common. If one knows all the activities he does on the net attribute to his profile, he thinks 1000 times before doing a wrong thing on the net including using or downloading pirated software. The reality concept can be attributed even to the software companies. The number of copies they sell should be proportional to the pricing of the product. The more number of copies, the lesser the price.

Take an example of a Benz car. The brains needed to design and develop a Benz car are more or less equivalent to that of preparing high quality Windows like software. But most of the price which a consumer pays is the costs incurred due to manufacturing of the new car but not the technology developed to build the new car. Here the estimated purchasing effect the original price of the product. This is not the case with soft wares. One builds the software, creates a license for it and sells it to any number of customers with almost negligible cost of replication.

So finally I want to conclude that, the concept of piracy in the software and computer field is not really a piracy unless the manufacturing of the software is really made mappable to manufacturing done in the real world. To all the readers who reached till here, I would like to thank for patiently listening to my thoughts.

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