17 Jun 2002
(updated 17 Jun 2002 at 02:49 UTC) »
I know that others have pointed this out before, but it only
hit me in a real way a few days ago.
The biggest enemy of Free Software is pirated software.
I have a friend from Church. Almost all of the software on
his computer is pirated. He knows it's illegal, but doesn't
think it's unethical. He would not pay the money for the
software. I didn't ask him directly, but I'm sure if he had
to pay for it all, he would be willing to look at Free Software.
In addition to his admitted guilt, he also did not know
everything that he did which was illegal. For example, he
thought that since he bought a copy of Quickbooks Pro, that
he was free to install it on whomever's computer he wanted
to. He thought that this activity was perfectly legal, and
got very defensive when I informed him that it was not.
I did not have the chance to get around to telling him about
the kind of software that allows this freedom, but I may in
Anyway, the problem is how to solve this problem. On one
hand, he is not even aware about all of his legal
activities, and on the other hand, for those he knows its
illegal, he doesn't care. He is a very moral person in
general, but it seems that he puts the relative moral value
on this subject about on par with the speed limit.
What to do about this? I'm not sure.
One possibility is to start an information campaign similar
to the BSA's, but ending with Free Software information
rather license compliance information. This would be most
effective in Churches, where not breaking laws is one of the
things that lends them credibility.
By the way, this conversation has lead me to believe that
the actual numbers for piracy are much, much larger than
reported, but the actual number would be too embarrassing,
and basically prove that such restrictions were not in the