On Installing "Licensed Software"

Now, how does that feel ?

Yup … I installed Windows Xp Professional today on my comp … Licensed …

Now, most of the people might say that I am crazy … having spend some thousands on procuring a licensed copy … me still studying and all … but I have my reasons …

Planning to earn some moolah … and thought that I’d better get legal software, if I am going to make any money …

Anyways, that is beyond the topic for this discussion …

This is my experience … first hand …

I have installed Windows Xp … a million times … so much so … that I can guide you through the installation in my sleep …

But this time, it was different ;)

So, in the morning, I backup all my important stuff and put it on another partition … email and bookmarks and address books and stuff …

And once, I am sure, everything will be alright, I go ahead and format my drive …

I tear the Microsoft Packet and extract the CD …

Its a nice, holographic CD … shimmering … nice :)

Anyways, they had already slipstreamed ( integrated ) Service Pack 2 in the installation, so I wouldnt need to install it later …

So, I pop the CD in the tray and boot up …

Somehow, I was expecting this to be different … more cooler … after all, its original you know …

But no such luck …

Anyways, after 45 mins or so, I had my system running …

I also activated the OS … and it wasn’t such a pain, as so many people ( not in India ) have complained … just connect to the internet, and click activate …

Takes 2 seconds and it is done …

Anyways, this was all the good part … then the problems started to emerge …

I installed some bad drivers … and the PC booted about a million times in one minute …

After a lot of installing and uninstalling, I finally managed to get my PC working …

But somehow feel, that my earlier, non original copy was better :p

The problem with all this activation is that next time I need to reinstall, I’ll probably have to call MS … and tell them why I am installing it again …

What these people dont realise is that they make life difficult for the people who buy the real thing …

The earlier installation didnt have anything to do with activation …

Whatever microsoft spends in time and skill, in trying to make their software non-pirate-able, there are thousands of people out there, smarter, who are doing just the opposite …

I have yet to see a software, which cannot be cracked …

There will always be a way …

What I am trying to say with all this is that software companies should realise, that people, home users especially, will never SPEND more than a few hundreds ( in Rs ) on a software … even if they DO spend any money …

Spending 7000 bucks … that too for an OEM license … even for an operating system is very steep …

And piracy in India is just too rampant … so much, that when I asked my computer dealer to give me a licensed copy, it took him 5 mins to realise what I was saying … and then he took the next ten minutes trying to convince me that the pirated copy which he was willing to sell me for 200, worked in exactly the same way …

What software companies should do is this :

1. Any software should be free for non-commercial and home use.

Only when it is being used in an industry, or company which is making some money out of its products, should they pay …

Most of the software that is installed on your comp is copied … and hence free anyways …

The more number of people using the software, the better is it for the manufacturer …

Maya, which sells for lakhs, has a free PLE ( Personal Learning Edition ) which has all the features … only you get a watermark on all the rendered images … fair enough …

2. The other thing they can do is charge a yearly licensing fee for the use of the software …

Something like Rs. 300 – 500 for the OS and maybe Rs. 2000 for a software such as dreamweaver or photoshop which are the tools which are used directly …

Photoshop sells for 38,000 bucks and Dreamweaver for around 16,000

Though their price justifies their products, most of the people who freelance like me, cannot afford these rates …

I would not mind paying even 3000 bucks a year to be able to use Photoshop legally …

In this way, atleast people who dont pay and still use the products for commercial purposes, will, I think, definitely pay …

I settled for a cheaper alternative … Ulead’s Photoimpact …

This sells for around 5,200 … its no photoshop, but I think will get most of my work done …

I think its about time, the software and gaming industry took the path of the Music industry and cut down their prices …

This will allow more people to buy their software … and hence will be easier to recover the costs ….

It is a typical “hen and egg” thing … but they will be the ones who will need to do something …

People will not just start buying software overnight … no matter how much policing …

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