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Software Piracy: Going clean in 2013

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Like normal people, sometimes I do not have nightmares – rare as those nights maybe. On those beautiful nights I have dreams about killing my neighbor’s dog and deal with the constantly yapping thing permanently. An ordinary and common enough Freudian experience I know. Once I actually dreamt I could code in Java:

import cookielib
import datetime
import getpass
import gzip
if os.name == 'nt':
 import ctypes .....

Or is it Python, Ruby, Perl, C, C++, C# or is it Euphoria. Well you be the judge.

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I can handle my nightmares: usually these are just bad movies starring my future in laws being difficult like all in laws. All in laws and cousins are supposed to be like that right? No? In a previous installment I alluded to my disappointment at having not to apply a crack patch to a piece of software. Ever since then all my nights have taken a dreadful and unbearable turn for the worst. They all want to kill me in my sleep.

In the quiet of the night they come. Dressed in fiery vestments, demons out of hell, armed with pitchforks. I recognize some of them as my former victims back when I was a pirate. – still am a pirate. Adobe’s sons Photoshop CS and Creator suite (I killed them using keygen); Black XP and Windows 7 Gamers edition (I used the next generation genetic modifying drug on them now they look all fierce and monstrous like a Pitbull and Boxer cross); Office 2010 and 2013 I sent KMS micro-server that midget assassin to deal with them. I hear the voice of Corel Draw and I can see Nero Image Maker holding the firebrand. To be honest I don’t remember what I did to them. There is a sea of faces outside my door all claiming to be software I pirated and demanding justice and “death to the traitor” who was supposed to evaluate them and not abuse his office.

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Suddenly they make for the door with murdering intent burning in their eyes. Their voices silenced in expectation. Scimitars gleaming in the moonlight. Then just as the door gives way, Fortune that mischievous mistress of fate swoops in timeousily and presently I am roused in my own bed. Screaming “I have ngozi! I pirated software!” I am glad I am alive but I know my dark deeds demand expiation. Or the ghostly apparitions will return with the darkness.

So I here confess to my crime your honor: at various times from March 2005 up to sometime in December 2012 I knowingly/ unknowingly and willfully used pirated software and used, multiple times, a copy of Winrar whose license had expired in contradiction of the law, the express and implied wishes of the copyright holders.  But I was not the only one. I blurt out. Through out Zimbabwe there have been man and women who have, since the advent of computers blatantly used pirated software. Shops sell DVDs of pirated software for $3/$5. Typists use pirated versions of Office 2007 and people,I have seen, contemptuously dismiss the Windows is not genuine dialogues. The Office 2010 is not activated dialogue is kicked to the curb.

I am not a rat or a snitch. You all know we were in this together. Only the man in black is a priest, I can see the white collar on his neck. His eyes gleam like a dove’s as he listens, his attention punctuated by nods in understanding. I bare my soul to him: How software is expensive and most Zimbabweans pirate it. How we tell each other it’s okay to use and sell it since the authors are rich foreigners and how we have no choice. Finally I am done and my burden is lightened by sharing.

“God forgives you my son. But your friends have to admit their own wrongs. What software they pirated and when. All of you should go clean in 2013 no more pirating. If you cannot afford it use FOSS. Stealing is wrong my son. Go in peace and sin no more.”

He does sound like Stallman, the priest but I am too excited. For the first time in a while I am glad  to spend the night with my future in laws. But if I am to have any chance of that you have to confess in the comment section what you did. Come on guys do not deny it help a brother out. What software did you pirate, when and what pathetic excuse you told yourself.


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35 thoughts on “Software Piracy: Going clean in 2013

    1. true only the one who are remorseful will confess and i for one am not 🙂 with a sick economy like ours…….. if i could afford to pay for expensive software i would gladly do it to support the developers, adobe or microsoft are not gonna feel the pinch of its software being pirated in zim

    1. I can give you a blunt summary. I used to use pirated software. I have made a new year resolution not to and am asking people who use pirated software as ( am sure you are one of them) to give us a list of pirated software they use and why. I apologize if that is not clear in the article.

    2. I am glad i am not the only who feels that way. Short stories, DIYs etc… TechZim is changing, not just it’s UI apparently

      1. I agree, I think Garikai should have his own site or sub section (column) of techzim, his style is fun but not what we came to techzim for, we came here for Zimbabwe related tech news.

  1. i agree with the article, in that people should move away from piracy…..but with all due respect, i think you’re taking this thespian/artisitic license thing a bit too far mate

    1. Second the artistic prose bit. We get lost in it and can lose attention to a valid issue.

      When I did use pirated software, it was due to price & availability. What I considered vital(which still is) was OS software,which I could not afford as a student and during the initial period of working life. Actually,at my first job, in the IT service industry we pirated. Things got tricky when the Business Software Alliance guys started doing random checks. Industry standard software for graphics & design was also expensive (and at some point hard to find)

      For play, it was games

      But these days for almost every good quality commercial software, you have an equivalently brilliant FOSS alternative.FOSS quality has improved immensely from the hey-days, and today is appealing to even naive users. Not sure if the Ubuntu burning kiosk still exists in Zim, Hre. But today’s tech person is better equipped, if not flooded by options.

  2. Anyhow back to the story AM A PIRATE BECAUSE copyright is broken, last
    week I read an article in one of the main papers about the ZBC not
    paying royalties to artiest since 2009 so I ask myself why should I,
    when the ZBC which is paid by the 12 million zimbos $50 for a receivers
    license which adds up to +500 million. Copyright is meant to protect the
    creator of a work from being ripped off and the ZBC is ripping those
    unemployed youth like Freeman .and am a pirate because of ZBC. Am a
    pirate because of ZBC, and this year is going to be the same .http://techunzipped.co.zw/2012/06/am-a-pirate-because/

    1. Very warped form of justification…”Killing people is wrong! But i shoot people because my Gvt sends the army kill & invade others”

      -10

  3. I use plenty of pirated software. Only because I’m a student and money doesn’t grow on trees. given the opportunity to be able to buy software, i would.

    Oh, and the story thing…It’s not working out.

  4. Please Techzim,tell us interesting stories like New startups,old startups,how they are doing and how profitable they are etc.Even new business opportunities in the IT Sector

    1. Sit tight you will get a look at the realistic chances of establishing a cloud business in Zimbabwe soon and others like it. It will be a blunt, formal and useful article so dont feel neglected.

  5. And later the police will bust this website and fine you all.Live in fear for the rest for your lives.

  6. Software piracy is bad whether it is used as a means of survival or not. This is one of those things that deter development of the ICT sector in the country, as attitude’s towards software are unforgiving, some people say it’s just software it’s not an actual thing so no harm there, which is incorrect, the practice is now a cancer which will take forever to stamp out and needs regulation.

    Personally I’ve used pirated software and where it not for the fact that I’ve had to install on more than one machine I would stop. It’s something that I’m ashamed of as someone with a software background

  7. Let’s be honest here, this is Zimbabwe. intellectual property is not valued here and if it was all those $5 CDs in all those shops around town would not be left to linger around. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally against piracy. I am a developer and know first hand the sweat and tears put into writing code, it’s unfair. But as individuals alone we can’t effect change, there is need for law enforcement to step in and assist. Otherwise media,software and other intellectual property will always be disregarded by society.

    IMHO, the article was very confusing(only began to follow on the third paragraph. Not something you expect to find on a tech blog. I’m sure it’ll be a hit or miss amongst readers(miss for me).

    1. Software piracy is all linked to the political environment we are in. I wont go into the affairs of it in detail and this is not about ZPF or MDC but about the climate we live in. Who cares if you pirate? Who cares if you copy Tuku’s new album? Download movies via torrents or some warez site? Really, who cares? The police? The government? BSA? You business partner? Your company? Your boss? With all the amount of corruption and fraud taking place left right and center, do you really believe that software piracy will disappear? I remember reading an article on Iraq during Saddam’s days. As soon as a movie is released in US, a pirated copy is broadcasted on local TV. Harry Porter, Terminator all became daily shows on telly whilst everyone else around the world formed huge queues to watch at their cinemas. The cost of software is high compared to what the consumer can afford to purchase. Asking a school to purchase M$ licenses and you will be laughed at. They will even suggest pirating it before you even submit a quote of the software.i wont touch on the cost of buying Exchange in Zim….:(

      The lack of business ethics and not valuing one’s work has been lost here. Consumer means business means economy which in turn looks at the political climate. And unfortunately, software piracy, like corruption, has now been firmly entrenched in our society.

  8. ndagugula three or four words. shows how much effort needed to understand this article (or maybe shows hu dofo hwangu?)

    1. No man, most people complained to me. I am sure that has been fixed. Now the tone and nature of the language has been changed to a more direct one.

  9. Well i think i have grown up now…the only pirated software on my laptop is AA Logo Designer, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Website Extractor. The rest are fully licensed. 5 years ago that list would be in the upper 50s… LOL

  10. In recent years I have moved to legal software where and when I can get it, it is just not worth the hassle of viruses, pop ups, no patching etc to pirate vital software like Windows, Office, Visual Studio etc. I will still pirate the odd game now and again, but with more and more online focus and the sales on steam and PSN even these are almost always legitimate purchases these days.

    However I am lucky in having decent speed unlimited internet and an international credit card to purchase and download online at reasonable prices. If i had to pay 200+ for windows 8 (instead of the 40 i paid online) or 100+ for a game (instead of the 30 or less you can get things on sale on steam) I would think twice and probably pirate a lot more. It comes down to availability at a reasonable price.

    I think a well run, public PC shop could do well, instead of running out of small back offices in town we need an Incredible Connection type shop where non techy people can browse the isles and purchase what they need without having to phone up and ask for exactly what they want (cos they probably dont know).

  11. An important thing about pirating these days as opposed to heydays: it is more dangerous today! Especially for system software.

    Why?

    Back in the days all you needed were the installation files and the serial. You could get legitimate installation files on floppy,CD, off an HDD then all you needed was the serial key/number. When licensing technology introduced the idea of online activations, cracked/pre-licensed versions became popular choice. These, almost always, have a trojan or malicious code embedded in them.

    At OS level, this is a serious risk as you are totally at the mercy of whomever “thoughtfully & generously” cracked the software for you. And at OS level you are in the most vulnerable position. Cracked software is, potentially, worse than a virus because:

    – chances are that it was cracked by exploiting some vulnerability. Any future,official security update(s) would potentially break the exploitation and deactivate your software. So, naturally you will avoid updating, putting you at risk by not being patched by current software updates. Esposing you to threats associated with currents vulnerabilities

    – you will also likely be exposed to botnets, data & identity theft, keylogging and everything associated with trojans and hidden malicious code. A very malicious person could also intentional destroy your hardware,if they so wished at system level.

    – Antiviruses will not work or will fail to remove or detect any code that is written on the system level as that is the ultimate level of control a programmer can attain

    Thats just off my head.

    More and the same risks also exist with other non-system(application) software.

    These days with superior opensource desktops & other applications, there’s almost no excuse to expose oneself like that.

  12. Getting proper licensed software is right up there in my 5 year plan with buying/building a house and sorting out my retirement fund. Its a huge ambition (from where I’m at now!) In the mean time I’ve managed to stay away from the pro pirate industry and have never bought or sold any illegal software. Its a microscopic step but hopefully I’ll make up for it by rocking all the ‘premium’ and ‘ultimate’ editions someday!

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