Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Learn with the free stuff first

How Piracy Opens Doors for Windows
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-micropiracy9apr09,0,414067.story?page=1

The article focuses on how piracy can be used as a tool to gain market share. People may initially pirate the software but they get used to it and in the end, at some stage, they pay for it.
"The first dose is free," said Hal Varian, a professor of information management at UC Berkeley, facetiously comparing Microsoft's anti-piracy policy to street-corner marketing of illicit drugs. "Once you start using a product, you keep using it."
"Once you start using a product, you keep using it."

What does this mean?
  • everyone goes through school
  • schools pay to use propriety software
  • students sort of get addicted
Schools pay the proprietor to create market share for the proprietor.

This sounds a little stupid but this is what happens. Schools pay to use the proprietary packages that students start to use and they keep using it.

Piracy also prevents free, open-source alternatives such as Linux from chipping away at Microsoft's monopolies, especially in developing nations.
At zero cost to Microsoft, piracy enhances network effects by getting Windows out to users who can't or won't pay, without undercutting normal prices.
Schools condemn students
to costly solutions
that may
not be necessary.


I am certainly not against private enterprise and proprietary software. I applaud the quality of most of it. I am not a fan of piracy - fair days work for a fair days pay - everyone deserves fair compensation for their labour.

I just want schools to ensure that all of the players get a fair go and in particular not to condemn our students to costly solutions that may not be necessary. It is all about a 'free and open education for all'.

Thanks to Bill Kerr for alerting me to this via the IT Teachers talk list

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