Posts Tagged ‘piracy’

Kim Dotcom and the Megaupload fiasco

I’ll admit to not using MegaUpload much or at all. There were very few times that I’d have to download something from the site, and it could never justify me paying for premium services. That aside, I think what’s happened to Kim Dotcom and his crew at MegaUpload is completely crap. He’s right — he’s an easy target, he’s not a big company, he has been known to be flamboyant, and while he’s immensely rich, he’s not as rich as a BigCo. All that said, I’m glad he’s fighting, and I hope he takes the government to the cleaners.

As I’ve said before, the piracy problem only exists because Hollywood thinks their old models still work. I’m all for finding new ways to entertain folk, and would love to see more indie movies, etc. Kim Dotcom thinks so too:

“If the business model would be one where everyone has access to this content at the same time, you know, you wouldn’t have a piracy problem. So it’s really, in my opinion, the government of the United States protecting an outdated monopolistic business model that doesn’t work anymore in the age of the internet and that’s what it all boils down to.”says Kim Dotcom

This is a couple of weeks old, but I encourage everyone to go watch the first interview with Kim Dotcom on New Zealand TV as soon as he got out. If you don’t have time, read the transcript.

We’re reaching an age where digital rights are going to be very important to defend, and what has happened with MegaUpload and how a business has disappeared overnight is just bad news. It can happen to you. Always remember what Martin Niemöller said:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Software piracy, the BSA, and where’s the opensource love?

Piracy is a big deal in Malaysia. Apparently, piracy is causing greater losses for the software industry, and is a billion ringgit problem. The piracy rate is 59%, which is below the regional average of 61%. Wow!

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) hates piracy. They’ve even setup an informative site, titled B4USurf. Its great to see that they run Apache, on CentOS, and are powered by PHP and CMS Made Simple. They however, don’t at any point in time mention opensource in all their information. Of course I understand why – the BSA themselves shouldn’t like opensource.

However, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry plans to increase public awareness to buying only original software. They’ll also touch on the downside of pirated products. Will they then not talk about opensource software?

Its all fine and dandy to create an open source conference for advocacy purposes, but if we’re still doing advocacy after so many years, something must be amiss. Maybe enlisting help from other ministries, tacking on information campaigns organised by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry might make sense, no?

Seeing ads that tell you to buy original software, just falls on deaf ears. Show them alternatives. Show them that there is no need to buy original software, after all, open source software is free (as in bebas, not necessarily percuma).

Microsoft blackouts… Software Freedom

Are you a user of Microsoft Windows? Are you a user of a non-licensed copy of Microsoft Windows? Does it happen to be Windows XP Professional? Have you seen “blackouts“?

Apparently, from about the end of last month (August 27 2008, to be precise), users of pirated copies of Microsoft Windows XP Professional that also happen to be connected to the Internet will see their screens go black, and have no icons visible.

The esteemed folk at Microsoft Malaysia seem to think that there are 8.6 million users of Windows XP Professional in Malaysia (seems like a huge number, considering the population), and about three million will suffer from these “blackouts”. Only 35% of Windows XP Professional users are pirates?

Its a most interesting tactic. Annoy the user by allowing them to change their background, and 60 minutes later, give them grief again. After all, an original copy of Windows XP Professional only costs RM580. That’s about 227 litres of unleaded petrol, at the current rate of RM2.55/L. Or nearly 6 tanks of petrol, in a more fuel efficient car. No wonder, people prefer paying RM5 for pirated media.

I don’t see why anyone in their right minds will be paying for last generation software, that already reached its end-of-life. Even industry pundits seem to think its a tactic to get people to upgrade to Windows Vista, which amongst corporations seems to have a slow uptake (read: massive failure for Microsoft’s coffers).

Software Freedom Day is this weekend (September 20 2008). Why not tell Microsoft to keep their software (and their “Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)”), and go the open source route? There’s an alternative to almost everything they provide. I think the open source world might only be deficient for hardcore gamers (but even that’s being looked into, thanks to CodeWeavers).

Microsoft Open Source
Windows (operating system) Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSolaris
Outlook Thunderbird
Internet Explorer Firefox
MSN Messenger Pidgin (supports Yahoo!, AIM, GTalk, etc.)

Tiny table of equivalents

That pretty much covers desktop productivity, I think. There are alternatives to IIS (Apache), MS SQL Server (MySQL), Visual Studio .NET (NetBeans, Eclipse), and the list just goes longer and longer. There is really no excuse in today’s world to be bogged down by Microsoft’s “Genuine Advantage”. Don’t even let me get started on open standards (which Microsoft flouts or doesn’t practice, period).

Don’t worry about piracy. Don’t bow down to another corporations silly moves. Think open standards. Think freedom. Just go open source.