Let's face it, Microsoft Windows was, still is and maybe will be for the next decade or so, the most popular operating system. However, the steep prices of most of the softwares published by Microsoft, often makes it impossible for people in various spheres of life to go and buy those original packaged stuff. As a result, many people prefer to take the easier way out, i.e. resort to piracy. Personally, I don't blame people who are forced into the realms of piracy by the sometimes so obnoxious attitude of the company. What if someone wants to do something useful to the society and needs a PC with a decent operating system on it?
I know what the stereotyped arguments against what I just said would be. What about the respect a programmer deserves? What about the royalty a company and the programmer deserves? What about the copyright?
Yes, you're absolutely right in asking these questions. The programmers lend every bit of their brilliant minds into making some of the best softwares and operating systems for us and we deserve to pay them their dues. Also, the company which has worked so hard to put together these wonderful minds deserve their share of profits too to survive in this competitive economy.
But are all profit making "free-software" companies bankrupt? Are the employees working in those companies broke? I don't think so.
Let me place an example. Many of you might have guessed which company I'm thinking of. Yes, one of the biggest producers of free softwares and icon when it comes to marketing and making softwares available to the common man...Google.
Can any of us deny the fact that inspite of being a company making some of the intriguing but free softwares, Google has transformed the field of free stuff? I don't think anyone can.
And to be frank, I don't agree with people who say Google makes programs which are not essential for us.Some of the best softwares on offer these days are from Google, and its latest venture, Google Chrome, has already captured the imagination of users with its amazingly futuristic sleek design. Of course, Google is not the only company dealing with free softwares. Mozilla producing arguably the best browser available today, Firefox, offers all its softwares for free. And I'm sure its doing quite well...
So, how does then one pay the programmers if everything is up for free downloads? Well, its simple. Squeeze in some adverts and relevent additional info and if the program become popular, it'll be enough to cater to most of the expenses of the company. It may also provide some premium services as well, to garner some extra bucks.
Coming back to Microsoft, it could sell its older OS for a cheap amount, or if I may dare say so, even for free...
Maybe it could make two versions of its newer operating systems, one with ads priced lower than another version without ads. That way, the company would be able to earn a decent profit and also be of substantial help to the society and it could drastically reduce piracy as well.
The choice lies with us. We only have to recognise it...
(Image source : http://download.cnet.com/i/bto/20070529/linux_windows.jpg)