Learning from LiMux

The LiMux project–Linux in Munich–is approaching the finish line.   LiMux was the largest municipal open-source adoption project in the world when it began in 2003, and was widely viewed as a test case for public-sector adoption. But the path proved difficult–the original 5-year transition became 8 (and counting).   Now, some 9000 of the city’s 12-15,000 desktops run Linux, with the remainder scheduled for migration in 2012. Continue reading “Learning from LiMux”

Overinstaller Awareness Day

Among other things, today is BSA Day–the day on which the Business Software Alliance releases its annual Global Software Piracy Study.  This year, like every year, the release involves pronouncements about how much the software industry suffers at the hands of software pirates, especially in the developing world.  Here’s BSA president Robert Holleyman from this year’s press release:

The software industry is being robbed blind,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “Nearly $59 billion worth of products were stolen last year — and the rates of theft are completely out of control in the world’s fastest-growing markets. The irony is people everywhere value intellectual property rights, but in many cases they don’t understand they are getting their software illegally.

Now, continuing the reforms it introduced last year, the BSA calls these numbers theft and piracy, but studiously avoids describing them as ‘losses’ to industry.   Continue reading “Overinstaller Awareness Day”

The Software Enforcement Dance

As Bradford Smith, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, characterized it in 2001: “By the late 1980s every single company abandoned that approach [copy protection] for the simple reason that legitimate customers did not like it. They found that there were times when they needed to make additional copies: they sold the computer and bought a new one and wanted to move their software, or their hard discs crashed and they needed to reinstall it. And even though at the time worldwide piracy rates for software were in excess of 80% the need to take care of the legitimate 20% of the market place took precedence over trying to deal with the rest. And that same bias very much exists today, I see it all the time when these issues are debated inside Microsoft” (quoted in Katz 2005, requoted in MPEE, p.52). Continue reading “The Software Enforcement Dance”

Adobe Logic

(updated: April 6th, 9th)

We’ve argued at some length that piracy is part of the software business model in developing countries because, as Microsoft exec Jeff Raikes put it,

In the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software (Mondok 2007).

In middle and low income countries (or, for that matter, lower-income segments of high income countries), piracy creates that installed base. Continue reading “Adobe Logic”