Tuesday, February 01, 2005

On Microsoft Licenses

A week ago (January 25, 2005) ZDnet released a story entitled "Microsoft: Legit Windows or no updates". As the title suggests, Microsoft will start to make it mandatory for people to prove that their copy of windows is legitimate before they allow the user to download updates to the operating system, they will still allow them to download critical updates.

This move by Microsoft thas been critized elsewhere in the sense that not allowing people (even those owning pirated copies), to downlod updates will only increase the number of PC's vulnerable to viruses and hackers and spammers etc.

I leave them to discuss this consequence of the Microsoft decision.

What I want to focus on is the consequence of this decision on the Philippines and our software pirates, which in the near term will be nil to insignificant. As a friend told me when I was discussing this subject with him, Filipinos who own pirated copies of windows does not generally update their software.

But in the long term, as microsoft tightens its grip and makes it impossible to pirate windows, we might see a trend towards the adaption of linux. I am hoping that this will actually happen. In fact I am hoping tht this will start to happen now.

The same day that I read this article on ZDnet, I also read an article from the Asian Wall Street Journal (they do not let you read their archives), a story about how European and other governments are pressuring microsoft to lower its prices on their licenses by threatening to switch to linux. Some governments/local governments have actually switched.

In this day, when we are debating whether to raise taxes to sustain our government, it is criminal that our government officials, whether national or local, are not pursuing this option. Adopting linux as a standard in our government will help reduce government expenses, and we need that today.

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