Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Software privacy in China

There's a lot of talk this week about software piracy in China due to the Chinese leader's visit with Bill Gates.

Once upon a time I saw a graph of the amount of work hours required to afford Windows in a number of countries. In China it was something like 9 months.

How can you expect a country NOT to have rampant piracy when the average person blows 9 months salary on the program! And the program is just an operating system! It's trivial! It's not something specialized. It's not like people are saying, "Gee, wouldn't it be nice if I could run Windows... but I can survive with my PC without it." It's more like people saying, "Damn it, I need Windows Media Player 10 to work with my USB stick, and that only runs on XP, and I have Windows 2000 that I just recently bought, so now I need Windows XP or else all of these things are worthless to me."

Bill Gates wants China to ramp up its enforcement. If you're trying to add enough penalty to convince people to start buying TRIVIAL software, you're going to have to start putting them in prison for ten or twenty years! Maybe even death! Just to line the pockets of MICROSOFT? (a corrupt company to begin with!!)

Piracy is a symptom of a larger problem. It's silly to ramp up enforcement. (this goes for music downloading here in the US too)

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