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All your base are belong to them!

Posted 09-14-2010 at 02:47 AM by rich_c

There was an incident at work last night which raised a couple of points that, for me, make it rather baffling that proprietary software is so widely used! The incident was apparently caused by the expiration of a software licence. This leads immediately to my first point of bafflement.

Why are people and organisations willing to put up with the licensing model that basically means you don't own your apps, but merely rent them. Most of the time, this means that if for whatever reason you fail to pay the rent (Make sure your licenses are up to date.) then your software stops working! At best, this will lead to a waste of your time while you rectify the problem. At worst, you'll suffer financial and/or data loss.

The second point was raised while discussing the proprietary licensing model with a colleague. An example we came up with of how an ordinary home user might fall foul of an expired license/subscription is annually renewable anti-malware software. Again as above you might get away with wasting time re-subscribing but at worst you risk a malware infection as your anti-virus application stops working, exposing you to all sorts of nastiness. So in this scenario, not only are you loosing to large corporate greed and incompetence but also to criminal activity. The incompetence I refer to is the relatively poor security record the main proprietary operating system has when compared to open source alternatives. Of course, that's a whole different blog post for that to be examined.

So if you are one of those that insist that open source software is too hard to get to grips with and you would rather stay with familiar proprietary software, you have me completely baffled.
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