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Putting one's money where their OS is.

Ironica (124657) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 7

Recently, as I was rebuilding my computer after some sort of horrific malfunction, I found myself looking for Windows XP cracks. Our Windows 2000 burned CD doesn't work properly, and I didn't want to burn an authentication tick on my laptop WinXP disc. So I searched, and came up with nothing particularly useful. I ended up installing an Ubuntu bundle, and so far so good. Good thing we quit playing WoW again.

Recently, as I was rebuilding my computer after some sort of horrific malfunction, I found myself looking for Windows XP cracks. Our Windows 2000 burned CD doesn't work properly, and I didn't want to burn an authentication tick on my laptop WinXP disc. So I searched, and came up with nothing particularly useful. I ended up installing an Ubuntu bundle, and so far so good. Good thing we quit playing WoW again.

But as I browsed, I came across a message board discussing how to crack XP, with several people posting "Gah thieves! Just buy it already!" I found myself wanting to post back (though I refrained, having insufficient desire to create a new account on a random message board and bump a thread that's been dead for months). I wanted to say, "You know, I don't want to crack XP because I'm cheap. I want to crack it because I'm BOYCOTTING MICROSOFT."

So then I was thinking, how could I prove it? I mean, I'm morally opposed to giving MS any money, but how does one tell that this is truly my motivation, and not simply an excuse to make me feel better about "stealing" software? And then I hit upon the solution: donate the cover price of the pirated software to an Open Source project of my choice!

So, when I get PowerPoint back up and running somewhere, I'll find out how much it's "supposed" to cost, and donate that money to... something. Mozilla, probably, or Ubuntu (it's very shiny!). And I encourage all 1.5 of the people who read this to do the same, for any pirated MS software they are running.

7 comments

boycott? (1)

Jherico (39763) | more than 7 years ago | (#15848227)

When you boycott a company you're voting with your dollars by not using/buying their products. You can't boycott Sony by going into Best Buy and swiping a Sony DVD player. That's still considered stealing. Boycotting means you have to be willing to completely forgo the use of their products.

Re:boycott? (1)

Ironica (124657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15849384)

When you boycott a company you're voting with your dollars by not using/buying their products. You can't boycott Sony by going into Best Buy and swiping a Sony DVD player. That's still considered stealing.

Well, duh. That's because someone who had a Sony DVD Player now doesn't have one anymore.

On the other hand, I can buy an RCA, or Panasonic, or Toshiba, or Samsung DVD Player with comparable features that plays all the same DVDs, so I don't *need* a Sony DVD player. Back when we were boycotting GE for building neuclear weapons, one of the main components of the effort was to actually get markets to stock non-GE light bulbs... without that, the boycott was pretty much sunk.

Microsoft created a market where their products are darn near irreplaceable, so in order to boycott them, one has to practically cut their own foot off. I can't make a PowerPoint presentation that will work on a computer running PowerPoint in Impress, unfortunately... they're still not quite compatible. And MS likes it that way.

Boycotting means you have to be willing to completely forgo the use of their products.

According to who? My understanding is that it means you do not *buy* a company's products. Now, I'm reluctant to use MS products for reasons of security and quality too, so I do avoid them as much as possible. I am running Linux now, and I've used OpenOffice exclusively for word processing and spreadsheets for several years. IE wasn't allowed to visit any website that wasn't called Windows Update. I was invited into the There beta, and ended up declining because it required me to upgrade and use IE. But when I get paid $40/hour to create a presentation that can be put into a machine running PowerPoint and run, it has to actually work in PowerPoint, and there is NO way around that. MS wants to lock people into using their products and doesn't want a competitive marketplace, and has cheated to get things that way. So long as they're cheating me out of a choice, I'll cheat them out of a license too, and not cry about it.

But, like I said, I'll still pony up the money... probably to one of the companies they've cheated along the way.

Re:boycott? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852044)

Even if you're not buying the product, you're still supporting them by helping maintain them as a "standard." This is why microsoft overlooked widespread copying of earlier versions of Microsoft Office and Windows by home users - to help cement their monopoly position.

So if you're still using it, you're not boycotting them - you're helping maintain them as "the standard". Instead of using their products, bitch at your bank for not supporting Firefox on Linux for their online banking, etc.

Otherwise, you're still part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Re:boycott? (1)

Ironica (124657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852300)

So if you're still using it, you're not boycotting them - you're helping maintain them as "the standard". Instead of using their products, bitch at your bank for not supporting Firefox on Linux for their online banking, etc.

Yes... an earlier poster made the point that it still helps them to use it, and I get that, and have already tried to dramatically reduce my usage of MS products, and will make greater efforts in the future.

But I guess it's time to drag out the dictionary.com:
Boycott: To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion. See Synonyms at blackball.

Not "and dealing," but "or dealing." Abstaining from buying is sufficient, even if you're not abstaining from using.

For that matter, well, DUH! I mean, when we started boycotting GE, it didn't mean we went around the house and changed all our lightbulbs, or threw out any existing GE appliances and replaced them. We just stopped buying new stuff from them. Boycotts are primarily intended to be market pressure.

I take the point that, because of the way the software market works, simply not buying the products may not exert sufficient pressure. But that is another issue, I think. My main point was, if a person is using pirated MS software because they are morally opposed to giving MS money, rather than because they're a cheap SOB, they should pony up the same dough to a worthy cause.

Re:boycott? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852640)

Not to throw rocks, but I think the "abstaining from using, buying, or dealing" is inclusive. In other words, to properly boycott, you can neither use, nor buy, nor deal with.

To put it into context, with your GE example - it doesn't mean throwing out our existing bulbs. It DOES mean, though, that you would avoid using GE's financial arm for any future business leasing, buying any more products with GE brands, or dealing with any GE business unit.

I've been boycotting McDonalds for more than a decade. I don't buy from them. The last time someone brought back a free milkshake from them, I explained that I was boycotting them for their unfair and deceptive marketing practices, and the shake ended up in the garbage (it was a really hot day, so I was tempted, but a boycott IS a boycott). I didn't buy it, but a boycott is meaningless if you subvert it by "technicalities".

I see your point about "ponying up the same dough to a worthy cause", but its not just about money. You can say more by your actions (for example, by taking the time to introduce others to alternatives to Microsoft products and operating systems, and by using those alternatives yourself in your day-to-day activities) than you can say by donating a couple of hundred bucks to a project.

The former is an ongoing process that takes time and committment - the latter a one-shot sop to your conscience. The former course also makes a real impact, long-term.

You'd be surprised at how many people get curious when they notice your desktop isn't Windows. At my new job, everyone has lcd screens, so I asked for two of the old 19" crts that were hanging around instead. Everyone comes by to check out the dual-screen monster - they're amazed at the multiple desktops on each screen, and watching the mouse go from one screen to the other, etc. I explain that I can set up Windows to do the same thing for the multiple monitors, but the multiple desktops under windows has comparatively limited, and very uneven, support (all the ymmmv, drivers, hardware, software issues you get with Windows).

While I use suse, I've been handing out ubuntu disks, and people have been booting the live cds. Friday, 1 person at work, and one person I met after work, both committed to installing.

THAT is the way to properly boycott a product. Encurage others to use alternatives. Otherwise, you're just the sound of one hand clapping.

You can order a free ubuntu cd 10-pack by going here: shipit,ubuntu.com [slashdot.org] , kubuntu here: https://shipit.kubuntu.com/ [kubuntu.com] , and edubuntu here: https://shipit.edubuntu.com/ [edubuntu.com]

You can get opensuse here: http://en.opensuse.org/Download [opensuse.org]

live cds or dvds are a great way to get the ball rolling. Instead of spending $100 on a project, why not buy $100 worth of blank dvds and envelopes, burn copies, and drop them off at the library, pin them to the bulletin board at work, on the board at the local supermarket, on the counter at the book store, etc.

Better yet, go to your local magazine store, and sticky-paste them into Windows magazines when nobody's looking.

I completely disagree (1)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 7 years ago | (#15848315)

My dad uses XP and MS Office, and the only reason he does this is because he got "free" copies from $random_guy_at_work. I can guarantee that if he had to pay for them, Office would be replaced by OpenOffice instantly. This is pretty much my only reason why I welcome WGA type stuff, "software piracy" is helping MS much more than it is hurting them.

You are part of the problem, not the solution.

Re:I completely disagree (1)

Ironica (124657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15849405)

This is pretty much my only reason why I welcome WGA type stuff, "software piracy" is helping MS much more than it is hurting them.

Now, that's an excellent point. That's a really good reason to try to get my only real presentation client (who happens to be my mother) to run OpenOffice too, and make the presentations in Impress. The only hitch is that she often runs them off of a machine at the location, rather than her own laptop... but with enough advance notice, she can probably get the folks on the other end to install it too.

As it is, I do try to do my part. I use OpenOffice for everything except presentations; I won't visit websites that only work in IE; etc. And I do own actual legal copies of Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, and InDesign, because I think Adobe's a half-decent company. Unfortunately, they're pretty out-of-date, because now Adobe has the same kind of annoying authentication system that XP does, and I just don't want to mess with it. But hey, they work.
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