Tyromaniac : Truth will triumph in the end... after everybody has left


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How I became a Software Buccaneer

I am pretty normal person. I don't wear an eye patch, nor do I assault ships at sea. Nevertheless, lately I've realized that if some people would discover my shady activities they would consider me a pirate...

I am not a teenager thinking that I belong to some l33t because I know how to get warez. I am pretty respectful of licenses, I take good care that we are up to date at work, with no licenses or funny software getting into our machines. Every single one of my employees understand the problems. I put it right there with virus prevention and so on.

I buy all the software I use. Even some pretty expensive pieces of software. So how did I manage to become a pirate if I was the perfect model of a perfect modern user? Simple, I got angry. Here are my two stories, let me know if you know how can I solve them and if you think I am on the wrong (Also tell me if you are "some people").

I have violated the letter of two licenses agreements. Here is the first story. I have been using Microsoft Office since the 98 version, I upgraded to Office 2000 early in 2001. When Office X came out, last september, I noticed that Microsoft had an upgrade offer for about $150 and I jump at the chance, to make a short story short: My credit card was charged, the product shipped, but it never arrived. Complains to Microsoft have received no answer so far. Since they had sent me my registration number by email, I borrowed the CD from a friend and register. I am now using Microsoft Office with my paid for license illegally, am I not?

My second act of "terrorism" was aimed at Wolfram Research. They make a wonderful product called Mathematica. Years ago I convinced the Math Department where I used to work to buy version 2.2 for our Sun, and then to buy 6 versions of 3.0 and basically give access to everybody in the Department (it's a small place). The Department fell on hard times so last year I payed for one upgrade to version 4.1 (cost $265), this was in June and they agree that I could use that version (I am still associated with them, they just don't pay my salary anymore). When the version for Mac OS X came out I decided to pay again from my own pocket to upgrade, I went to Wolfram Research's site and after much give and take was informed that I couldn't upgrade with them. I had to go to a local dealer. The local dealer wanted almost $600 for the upgrade from 4.1 to 4.1.5 (the Mac OS X version). I didn't wanted that version for free, but I didn't expect to pay more than half the price of a new copy. Since I moved to Mac OS X completely, Mathematica started being a headache as my only classic application. I decided today it was time to jump ship. I pirated a copy from the Net.

It's hard for me to understand that I am doing something wrong. I certainly don't owe anything to Microsoft (they owe me, actually) and I am using a license they gave me. With Wolfram Research it's slightly different, I'd agree that I owe them something (less than $265, I think) and I am willing to pay. Their insistence that I do things their way, put me in a dilemma: Do I pay twice what I am suppose to (hence Wolfram is robing me) or do I rob Wolfram a similar amount. I have my answer, what is yours?

In my country people sell burned music CDs right in the steps of congress, movies "debut" on VHS a week before they do in theaters, and you can buy illegal games and software in any mall. I do not like the word pirates for these activities, it would be like me calling Microsoft or Wolfram Research "rapists" because of their crummy service, I do think their activities are harmful and should be stop. I don't feel the same way about my activities...

Update: Anya Foreman from Wolfram Research just send me an email! She read this story and will help me upgrade my copy of Mathematica! I am very happy and impressed with Wolfram Research service...

© Copyleft 2006 Alfredo Octavio.
Last update: 1/19/06; 3:37:27 PM.

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