Software Licensing

Thursday, 2006-December-07 at 22:38

Licensing matters , Phil Ringnalda once said.  Mark Pilgrim also discussed licensing.  I said it again recently , but not nearly as well.

Someone
has discovered a way to violate the licensing on Microsoft's new
Windows Vista, essentially a way to install a single-licensed copy of
Vista on multiple computers.  This unlicensed copy then hit the download sites
Let's be clear about this.  If you are using software outside of
the terms of its license, except for certain narrowly-defined
exceptions, you are a thief.  Not a pirate.  Pirates kill,
rape, rob, pillage, and burn in order to steal from others. 
Software thieves use a variety of technological means to use or
distribute software outside of the limitations allowed by its license.

Creating
software, like creating cars, creating music, or creating educated
youth, is something that costs someone time and effort and other
resources.  Why should they not be compensated for their
work?  I understand voluntarily providing zero-price software
("freeware", which is often quite different from "free software"), just
as I understand doing some volunteer tutoring or working on your
neighbor's car for free.  However, if software has a price, either
pay the price or use something else.  For almost any task
imaginable, there are multiple low-price or zero-price alternatives,
some of which also come with licenses that protect the user's freedom.

Matt points out that most software licenses are "gross and nasty".  Personally, I prefer software with one of a comparatively few licenses that are approved by the Free Software Foundation or the Open Source Initiative
Reading a few of these licenses, and then reading a standard nasty EULA
could make you swear off commercial (proprietary licensed) software for
life.

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Entry filed under: Computers, Society, Software. Tags: .

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