Geek talking

Pinoy geek talking about everything under the sun

Ahoy there!

Posted by rom on March 30, 2005

Why am I not surprised when I hear my students say that they pirate software applications and games? Is it because I have accepted this as the norm? Is it because that it is so rampant that it can be considered as legit – everyone does it anyway, right?

When you ask these students the reason behind software piracy, the most common answer is the cost of the legit software – being too unaffordable as far as their allowances or salaries (some work as student assistants, etc.) are concerned. Economics seem to be the best reason for piracy and coupling it with branding software companies as greedy by pricing their products too high.

I think that this is deeply rooted on the Filipino already – having been in poverty for close to eternity whilst having a select few elite who are rich (and mostly greedy). I can trace this as far back as the Spanish occupation when friars and Spanish conquistadors exploited the Filipinos. Add the way Filipino movies portray heros by making them poor whilst their adversaries are the greedy rich folks. To complicate things further, include the battle between capitalism and communism or socialism in the country as well.

Anyway, what needs to be done is for us to educate our students on the perils of piracy – of using illegally acquired software, of illegally distributing software. First, determine what software applications are being pirated. You will find out that the most pirated software are Microsoft Windows operating systems and the Microsoft Office suite. Next, present affordable alternatives such as Linux and OpenOffice.org, StarOffice or KOffice – which are all free! These recommendation, however, should not be seen as being anti-Microsoft but rather should be construed as encouraging students not to pirate. Heck, if they can afford the software, by all means buy it.

Follow-up by making students realize that electronic games are considered as luxury than a necessity. Luxury items are often bought when there’s excess cash (although the same cannot be said for those who are impulsive buyers like me hehehe). Make them save up to afford the game. If you cannot cut it, so to speak, don’t play it.

Students are different, for professionals, it is something else. More so for IT professionals! It is NOT ethical for IT professionals to even consider using pirated software (heaven forbid, recommend it to their clients!). I am wondering how many of these so-called local IT professionals are aware of the ACM or IEEE Professional Codes of Conduct. I have read an article at inq7.net about an IT professional purchasing or using pirate electronic games to “try it out” before purchasing it, if it is worth it. What makes the game worth it? If it is not, you already pirated the game, right? Did you help the industry? What if the ‘lousy’ game was created by Filipino game developer, who is the breadwinner of the family from lesser known province? You deprived their company of revenue needed to pay the Filipino game developer.

How about you? Do you pirate software/games? C’mon – be honest. 🙂

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One Response to “Ahoy there!”

  1. rommel said

    before i used to use tons of pirated stuff. those pirated cds you can buy/borrow/pick up off a friend’s workstation really lock and load when it comes to software.

    but now im cutting down. a lot of free stuff on the helps out. especially linux, although i like freebsd better… although it takes too much time to administer sometimes.

    mahirap pa din i-institutionalize ang linux coz pirated winxp is too easy to get… and a no-brainer.

    its hard to get people to stop thinking things are too hard… they have a hard time putting effort into things like this. i dunno thats what i observed. not many people are willing to spend a week getting their OS up and running. hehe. although now i think some trends are changing.

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