Friday, September 19, 2008

FOSS. By force

Some time back I walked into my favourite cyber and found something strange. Couldn't tell at first what it was. They've changed their "cyber software" I thought. That's why this interface looks a bit strange. No. There's something else. Opened up the browser. Even that looked different. So I stopped to investigate. That's when I noticed that I was in fact using mozilla, and not firefox. And the PC was running some flavour of linux. Can't remember which. Didn't matter. I'd read/heard around that time that Microsoft was cracking down on cybers, and the use of illegal/unlicensed software. Ha. Their luck had run out. I always found that Windows 2006 they used to run suspect. It's the only place I'd seen that OS. So they must have freaked out and worked some serious overtime to overhaul their PCs. Felt for the kawaida wananchi around me who were used to IE and probably think that *nix is a curse word. If I found things a bit strange, they must have felt like they were in another planet.

But it's the way things are looking. Apparently new comps can come without software. I've heard some "wazees" being quoted as saying as much. It's no longer the case that the guys selling you the comp will stuff it with Office, Acrobat, Photoshop and a host of other stuff which they happen to have [illegal] copies of. Some guys sell comps with linux. I hope they don't dupe guys and sell these to guys who know what they're getting into. Then there's this freedos thing which I'd not heard of. That mzee who was complaining that he was sold a comp without software got one with freedos. Can't blame him. Then there are those that come with Vista, and a 60 day trial version of Office. Lure a guy into getting used to a product then take it away. I never touch trial versions.

So with licensing/anti piracy measures getting tighter, with things like mandatory web activation and the like, what is a guy to do. A guy who thinks he can't afford to buy software. [Apparently there's an offer from Microsoft - Office for 7K]. I thought software costs gazillions of dollars. I wonder how much Visual Studio 2008 would cost. Or Vista if one had to buy it. Probably less than a visit to the dentist. I started gravitating towards FOSS some time back. Used to trawl sourceforge for interesting projects. Remember the excitement at using Miranda in Jan/Feb 2004. They were alternatives then. Now they are default.

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