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Last post Author Topic: Why is so much software cracked?  (Read 54395 times)

f0dder

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2006, 06:03:58 AM »
I think you're missing the point, Cpilot.

Tiered pricing is about actually wanting to pay, but not being able to pay full price (think students, unemployed, low-income workers). Tiered pricing, if it was done (unrealistic, I'm afraid), would enable those people to get a legit version instead of pirating it, ultimately giving the company a larger income.
- carpe noctem

Darwin

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2006, 07:54:39 AM »
I think Cpilot's point is that companies should be free to charge what they want and that they are not repsonsible for making it financially possible for people to use their software legally. If you want to use the software, you pay for it. If you can't afford it, find an alternative or don't use it. I happen not to agree with some of his/her arguments, but can see the logic of his/her argument.

Personally, I've used cracks in the past. Initially, because I hadn't considered the implications of what I was doing, later because I could not afford the software that I was using and latterly to more thoroughly test shareware that come with very crippled demos (like many here, I can't see paying more than $20 for something that I haven't been able to test thoroughly - I like to know that the features that I'm going to fork out my hard earned cash for actually work!). Over the last year, though, I've stopped using cracks altogether, mostly because I realised that I was stealing. I have purchased many of the software titles that I used to run cracked/pirated and use regularly (Office Pro and Endnote come to mind) or I have installed cheaper/opensource alternatives. I feel better about myself and am happier with the stability of my system.

I have read this thread thoroughly and really think that Cpilot has missed the spirit of many of the comments here - this seems to me to be a discussion of what motivates people to crack/pirate software and how this practice might be minimised, rather than an attempt to justifiy the practice. And lest my discussion of my own experience using cracks be misinterpreted as "justification", I view myself as an average user and offer my "story" as one more illustration of how piracy occurs in the wild.

It is tempting, perhaps, to take an absolutely moral stand on this issue but doing so does nothing to address the problem. If we don't *think* about and discuss these issues and their ramifications, how will they ever be resolved? Discussion leads to change and this discussion is about finding solutions to this particular problem that will result in positive changes for all concerned, not a rationalisation for theft.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 01:34:49 AM by Darwin »

Edvard

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2006, 10:00:02 AM »
I don't think anybody's debating whether the programmer should make money from their efforts or not. What is being debated is that a smart programmer should look for the best sales strategy in order to, indeed, be paid and paid well especially if their effort is useful and ongoing. The authors of large commercial packages have done quite a bit to enhance the lives and work of many who use their products, of course they should be paid.
But...
we are talking about 'Software'.
Most of which is not a static thing that can come off the shelf at a store and used by a certain number of individuals at a time (licenses notwithstanding). Only one person at a time can feasibly use, say, a vacuum cleaner last time I checked. No, we have these wonderful things called computers which are not only the medium for consumption of the product, but the means by which it magically gets reproduced, often en masse to the detriment of the software authors pocketbook. If I could purchase one vacuum cleaner which I could then reproduce at will either to use in different rooms in my house or give away to a neighbor or charity, the manufacturer has lost those as sales. Because we can't reproduce a vacuum at our convenience and destroy the copies as we see fit, nor can we demand a lower price for an "upgrade", but we can with Software, we have such sticky things as EULAs and Dongles and Product Activation to ensure that Software, in it's consumption, behaves at least a little bit like a vacuum cleaner or toaster or other essential appliance than a trifle that can be thrown in the Star Trek replicator to be popped out as we please.
The point is Software, as a product, needs some sort of sales strategy that will ensure the author gets paid without inspiring the less scrupled among us to make copies distribute them simply because they can.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #53 on: May 31, 2006, 11:49:22 AM »
Suppose a vacuum cleaner cost $5000 - then very few people could buy one and maybe (as in the 1920s) you would find people hiring rather than buying and some people would carry on using a brush. It makes economic sense for the manufacturer to make and sell 75 vacuum cleaners for $200 each because then everyone will buy one and he will make far more than $5000 in the process. If I do buy a vacuum cleaner I can lend it to my family and friends.

A pet hate is eBooks - I made the mistake o buying some in the early days - I can no longer read them now because Amazon (where I bought them from) no longer stock the titels so I can't reauthorise them at all. If I buy books I can read them where and when I like, lend them to friends - underline bit - cut out my favourite bits and frame them if I like, or sell it in a secondhand bookshop. My ebook ... I can't even read them!

One of the things I particularly hate about software companies is product activation - and it is becoming a growing issue even with small shareware companies. Having just reinstalled windows on my system from scratch I have had to email numerous companies around the world to be allowed to use the software I purchased. The only company that has any sense in this matter is Adobe because a single menu click allows me to deactivate the products instantly and a second click allows me to activate it again on another computer or after a reinstall. Effectively I can use Adobe products legitmately on as many computers as I like - but only one at a time which is fine.

All the other companies treat me like a criminal - I had to phone Microsoft twice (because Windows and Office refused to activate automatically and there is no way to deactivate the product) to explain that no I hadn't installed my software on another computer and yes I was reinstalling after formatting my hard disk. The only people who don't suffer in this way are the cracked software users who never have to bother.

At least with large companies they are likely to be there when you need to reactivate - but small companies come and go all the time and software may or may not be sold on. What do you do then when you have a legitmately bought piece of software that you can't use. In my vacuum cleaner analogy it is equivalent to the manufacturer having to OK its use every time you plug it in.

Cpilot

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2006, 12:36:05 PM »
Quote
i hope there's still room in this world for reasonable people to seek a reasonable middle ground.  those of us who recognize we have to make some money to live but who have desires that are more important than profit, like doing something we enjoy that doesn't make the world a worse place.
Oh Geez.
You know one is not exclusive from the other. The idea that only "altruistic" motivations are the only ones that are "pure" is absolute bunk.
I'll give you an example. Everyone here seems to absolutely bleed for the down trodden and poor around the world. Famine and disease are of course a bane to humanity and a scourge to some nations around the world.
So the first thing everyone does is demand that the government, usually the United States government, do something!!!
And we do, as a nation the U.S. itself has contributed hundreds of billions in food aid in the last 50 years. And yet famine around the world still occurs on a regular basis.
So guess what folks ...altruism doesn't work, because the easy thing to do for everyone is to demand that governments give money and individuals give to charities and go to "relief concerts" and there ya go....we fixed the problem.
Ha
The solution to this problem goes way deeper than slogans and U2 concerts.

Economist Blames Aid for Africa Famine

As a matter of fact all these "feel good" remedies actually do more damage than good and makes the world a worse place. By creating dependent societies on foreign aid. There is also the corruption of local governments, little or no infrastructure to move supplies, civil wars and warlords seizing then hording supplies for their private armies.
No one wants to address these problems, so the food is there but never gets to the starving.
Altruism in this case is a dismal failure.
Even economists of the affected countries see the folly of excessive foreign aid as detrimental to their countries.
The real solution to the problems in these countries is, instead of reacting to each "crisis" as it comes along, slow and steady investment in the infrastructure and economies of the affected nations and encouraging political stability. That would save more lives in the long run. But these are profit driven goals and basically frowned upon. So millions continue to die.
There is a limit to "touchy feely" solutions to problems in the world. Like it or not profit is the leading innovation for just about anything. Computers wouldn't exist if it were not for the search for profit.
Software is no different, companies employ people, not out of the goodness of their hearts but in search of profit. Employees work for said company to receive a paycheck to support their families and buy goods from other companies and around it goes.

It's easy to sit in a air conditioned home drinking a latte, with the TV on CNN and gripe about the cost of software on a computer hooked up to a high speed connection.
Yeah, we can afford all that and yet begrudge someone a fair profit for their product. :tellme:

f0dder

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2006, 12:54:34 PM »
Quote from: Carol Haynes
One of the things I particularly hate about software companies is product activation - and it is becoming a growing issue even with small shareware companies.
Amen to that!

First off, product activation should be limited to applications that simply cannot function without being connected to the internet, or at least whose primary operation involves internet use. This could be HTTPDs or FTPDs. Online activation for anything else is plain wrong... I couldn't play HalfLife2 *single player* after moving to a new flat, because I had forgotten to set it to "offline mode", and it took a while before I could afford ADSL.

Then there's the issue of companies going bust - bye bye ability to use software / read ebooks. And it can be an issue even for large companies like Microsoft or Amazon, who says they'll keep their activation servers running for Product X in five years? Carol was obviously already bitten by that wrt. Amazon ebooks.

Quote from: Cpilot
Yeah, we can afford all that and yet begrudge someone a fair profit for their product.
You STILL haven't gotten it, have you? :)
- carpe noctem

Cpilot

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2006, 01:06:07 PM »
Quote
You STILL haven't gotten it, have you?
No I get it, basically the gist is if you decide it costs too much it's ok to steal it.
Your the one not "getting" it.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #57 on: May 31, 2006, 01:14:54 PM »
Quote from: Cpilot
Yeah, we can afford all that and yet begrudge someone a fair profit for their product.
You STILL haven't gotten it, have you? :)

That's what I thought!

Let's try one more time ...

I grow vegetables - they are very good and VERY expensive. Will anybody buy them - bet your life they will! A handful of people with more money than sense will buy them because "xpensive is always best".

The rest of the world can't actually afford them so they don't -- result I don't make much money.

Now then - same veg - affordable price - how many people buy now  ... the world does and I become stinking rich on it!

I am not saying companies shouldn't make a healthy profit - I think I am actually saying that large companies like MS and Adobe should make more money ... and the way to do that is to make the product affordable to the man in the street. Then many more will buy it and you will make more profit. Yes they employ people - but the important thing is how much money they make, not how many CDs the press.

I am also not talking about people in poverty - but someone on average income and 2.4 kids has to think hard to justify spending $700 + $150 every year on upgrades to use Photoshop ... Reducing it to $100 + $50 per upgrade would mean far more people could buy the product easily - Adobe would be quids in - they wouldn't have to spend vast amounts of money on antipiracy but their overheads would be exactly the same ... hey presto everybody wins !!! How can that possibly be an invalid argument???

The only reason Adobe and MS charge so much is because they want their products to appeal to rich businessmen - and they like to have the prestige value of having the most expensive product on the market - not because the price is in anwya justified.

If CPilot thinks this is an invalid argument how about suggesting a realistic solution to the problem rather than just repeating that companies have the right to set fair prices? At the moment so many people world wide think that prices are so unfair that piracy is rampant. I don't agree with piracy but it is a fact of life - and this thread started asking the question why should this be.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2006, 01:17:44 PM by Carol Haynes »

f0dder

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #58 on: May 31, 2006, 01:41:07 PM »
Quote
You STILL haven't gotten it, have you?
No I get it, basically the gist is if you decide it costs too much it's ok to steal it.
Your the one not "getting" it.
That shows you really haven't gotten it.

I don't say it's okay to steal it. I say that a pricing model that allow different social groups to pay different amounts of money would eliminate some (much? little?) piracy, create bigger income for the companies, and allow users to be happy little campers because they don't need to resort to illegal means to get a piece of software.

Try actually reading what people post.
- carpe noctem

Cpilot

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #59 on: May 31, 2006, 01:51:52 PM »
Quote
If CPilot thinks this is an invalid argument how about suggesting a realistic solution to the problem rather than just repeating that companies have the right to set fair prices?
It's not up to me or you to suggest a "solution". The problem isn't  the pricing, the problem is the sense of entitlement that people have to own software that they can't afford.
If you can't afford it that's not the companies/individuals problem. They're interested in the demographics of those who can, not creating a social welfare software system.
The whole argument being advanced is a fallicy from the get go, that being "we are entitled to this software come hook or crook".
Basically it's a "how dare they price it beyond what I can/am willing to pay" and then using that argument as justification for piracy.

"Well people can't afford it so guess what? they steal it!!" Well I guess that just makes it OK then?
"Piracy is happening all the time". So that makes it the software vendors fault that people are stealing it. No one else has an obligation to be moral about it, because the software companies bring it on themselves.
"Well we're only talking about something intangible here,software it's not like stealing a car!".....huh? So plagiarism isn't like stealing either? After all they're only ideas.

Bunk.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #60 on: May 31, 2006, 03:28:05 PM »
Basically it's a "how dare they price it beyond what I can/am willing to pay" and then using that argument as justification for piracy.

OK I give up - you obviously can't read what I wrote because I said precisely the opposite to what you are accusing me of ... I have tried to have a discussion in this thread about what you are saying but all you do is make negative and personal comments without putting forward any constructive ideas. What's the point?

Cpilot

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #61 on: May 31, 2006, 03:55:12 PM »
The only acceptable constructive "ideas" here in this thread are basically this.
"Someone else has to accommodate us/me, my/our rights to what I/we deem to be entitled to supercede anyone else's rights to set a fair market price for their product. And in setting fair market price beyond what I/we think is reasonable cheats me out of what I/we feel entitled to."

Companies who sell this stuff don't just pick a figure out of the air and then charge what they want. They determine fair market value based on several factors. One being what their target market base will bear. Just like prices are determined with any other commodity.
You don't want constructive dialog, you just want everyone to agree with your assessment of entitlement.

Software is cracked so much for the same reason that shoplifters shoplift and people rob liquor stores. I know it ain't as sexy as "because it's a revolutionary statement against capitalism" or "we're really putting it to the man" but that's the way it is.

Just because you don't like hearing it don't make it untrue.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2006, 03:59:31 PM by Cpilot »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #62 on: May 31, 2006, 04:37:12 PM »
The only acceptable constructive "ideas" here in this thread are basically this.
"Someone else has to accommodate us/me, my/our rights to what I/we deem to be entitled to supercede anyone else's rights to set a fair market price for their product. And in setting fair market price beyond what I/we think is reasonable cheats me out of what I/we feel entitled to."

All the software I have talked about I have purchased at market price. I am not arguing for myself.

Quote
Companies who sell this stuff don't just pick a figure out of the air and then charge what they want. They determine fair market value based on several factors.

Utter rubbish - companies base their prices on how much they can screw out of users - some companies like the prestige of extremely high prices because it implies their product is best. It has absolutely nothing to do with fair market value - otherwise why does MS charge more than a third of the cost of a PC for Windows - which is already included with 99% of PCs ??

Quote
You don't want constructive dialog, you just want everyone to agree with your assessment of entitlement.

How many constructive comments have you made to the discussion?

How many times have I accused people of supporting piracy without any grounds (even people, like me who have clearly stated that tjhey don't support piracy repeatedly)?

I've had enough - this is my last comment on this.

Cpilot

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #63 on: May 31, 2006, 05:27:03 PM »
Quote
otherwise why does MS charge more than a third of the cost of a PC for Windows
Yeah you see this indicates that you don't understand market dynamics.
Because they can get it, that's why. A corporation has to answer to it's stockholders, they invest their money and rightfully expect a return on their investment. If I owned MS stock I would expect them to charge whatever the market would bear to maximaze the return on my investment.
If people turn away from MS and buy other OS systems then the market will drive the price down.
Ever heard of Lindows?
If it were a viable alternative there would already be inroads into the MS market and would by virtue of reasonable competition cause market pressure to lower the price.
But it's not a viable alternative is it?
Apparently neither is Linux.

I hate to break it to everyone but MS will remain dominant until there is another company that comes along with a commercially viable, translation(profitable), alternative.
Quote
How many constructive comments have you made to the discussion?
Well apparently you consider anything disagreeing with your position to not be constructive. Is it your intent to stifle arguments that are not in agreement with your own?
That the only valid comments are ones that agree with your position?
A discussion requires 2 sides. As I said it seems no one wants to hear anyone with an opposing view, just for everyone to agree with the assessment of entitlement.


tsaint

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #64 on: May 31, 2006, 06:00:46 PM »
I'm against pirated/stolen software.
I sort of believe that most companies must be intelligent enough to do their sums to calculate pricing to maximize their profit (profit including monetary, prestige, market share etc) and so if prices are high for some product, there must be a logical reason.

But I do have trouble with this:
Quote
They determine fair market value
and this
Quote
Because they can get it, that's why.
These seem rather contradictory to me. Also, I have a great deal of trouble understanding "fair market value" - Is it touchy feely code in business circles for "what we can get away with" or fair for everyone or fair for whom?
What is fair anyway?
I don't think "fairness" enters into 50% of the coporate world's thinking really, only a "protect our own interests" thinking, which I can understand, whether I like it or not
« Last Edit: May 31, 2006, 06:45:27 PM by tsaint »

mouser

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #65 on: May 31, 2006, 06:06:45 PM »
cpilot, i really don't understand why you are arguing with carol - she is proposing solutions that she is arguing could increase profits for the company at the same time as being better for customers (i listed these points above).

you should really be focusing the anger on people like me who are advocating for an approach to software that does not make profit the primary the primary justification and motivation for all decisions.

JavaJones

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #66 on: May 31, 2006, 08:14:39 PM »
I think "fair market value" means, in theory, "the amount of money that equates to the highest profits due to the ratio of license cost and number of licenses sold". "Fair" is not necessarily used in the traditional sense, or rather the sense most people take it, but it works.

In any case what I find amazing Cpilot is that you're refusing to even consider the proposed solutions that people are suggesting might make *more* money. You simply blindly assume that "companies know best" and that they *must* be pricing their software with good research and logic, so our suggestions must therefore be wrong. Well, history will tell you that is blatantly false. It is filled with companies charging too much (or not enough) for their product and failing because of it. There are also numerous studies done showing the apparent *illogic* of markets, which make pricing stategies very resistant to logical, researched conclusions. For example a study was done showing that a low regular rate for a service was preferable by customers to a seemingly high flat rate, even when the seemingly lower rate actually equated to a higher monthly bill. That seems counterintuitive yet there it is. The market is not always logical, or at least not on the surface, and most companies are really not spending millions on studies of their target market to determine pricing. Maybe MS is, but they're special. :D

Ultimately your approach sounds great in theory Cpilot, as long as you *could* make people do what's "right". Here's the thing: you *can't* make people stop piracy. As long as it is possible - and it will be as long as we are living in the land of the free and home of the brave (I hope you wouldn't suggest infringing our fundamental rights just to stop piracy?) - then people will be pirating. There is no such thing as unbreakable protection, period. The people doing the cracking are generally smarter *and* more numerous than those coming up with the protection schemes. They also have the luxury of time. So sooner or later all protection will fail, and once that happens piracy happens.

Thus what you are proposing is that companies operate with a blind eye toward reality. Create copy protection, even though it doesn't work. Price as if your copy protection worked, even though it doesn't. Essentially the success of your approach relies on the ludicrous concept that people will be more law abiding than they ever have been in history. And you insist on this apparently on the sole basis that companies have the "right" to charge what they want. Well no one is denying them that, so you can stop insisting that they are. What we are saying is that it just might be in a company's best interest to look at the *market reality* - that includes piracy as a *simple fact that cannot be eliminated* - and then price and react accordingly. Piracy exists and will continue to exist, so companies might as well figure out how to work *with* it, how to strike the best balance between minimizing it and not alienating their users. So far they're not doing a great job - see Sony, RIAA lawsuits, etc.

It's amusing to look at the great corporate blunders of history. Most recently I find great amusement in the fact that record companies were afraid of their profits being cut into by piracy, so they paid lots of money to copy protection specialists who created schemes that (surprise!) didn't work, and then they paid lots of money for litigation to stop people from pirating, and *then* they just pissed off their customers. Actually embracing the download of music seemed out of the question. I mean no one *really* wants to download all their music.. do they?

Well, Apple thought they did, and by god they were right. They're making all the record companies look foolish and taking money off the top of every transaction for music they never had anything to do with. They're merely providing a service, and one that the record companies *could* have been providing themselves if they'd had the ability to see beyond their rapidly antiquating business model. But they didn't, because they thought they had the "right" to profits, and that they could do whatever they wanted, whatever was necessary, to ensure that. The market responded and now iTunes is rapidly becoming the single most popular way to get music. Imagine having a single company, formerly unrelated to music at all, suddenly at the top, king of the toll plaza of digital distribution. And it all could have been avoided had music companies taken their heads out their arses and looked around a bit. This story will repeat itself...

- Oshyan

Cpilot

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #67 on: May 31, 2006, 09:14:50 PM »
Yeah,
Ya know what? I've said my piece, vented my spleen and made my position known.
Therefore my interest in this topic is over.

Have fun.

zridling

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #68 on: May 31, 2006, 11:58:11 PM »
Quote
[cpilot]:...the problem is the sense of entitlement that people have to own software that they can't afford.

Cpilot steered the discussion tangentially toward the evil of piracy. However, cracking is not piracy. It's only piracy when I download, install, and use the software illegally. As mouser stated, Adobe or AutoDesk can set the price their products to any amount, high, moderate, or low. But what others have argued is that companies must be aware that if they charge €700 for a program, then the likelihood of it being cracked increases exponentially.

Therefore, companies and developers can discourage piracy — though not necessarily cracking — by sensible product pricing. Microsoft has already done this by producing a lite version of Windows and Office and selling it for next to nothing in Asia and India. I could care less who uses what software. The fact is that OpenOffice wouldn't be so popular if Microsoft had listened to its customers, had sold Office cheaper over the last fifteen years, and opened its file formats. Microsoft made that choice and they made with their eyes wide open.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 12:16:55 AM by zridling »

mouser

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #69 on: June 01, 2006, 12:10:54 AM »
this thread is getting way too combatitive and political.
i guess it's not so surprising given the mixture of people we have on this forum.

can i remind people that we have an explicit policy on this forum to avoid political talk?  there are plenty of other places to argue politics on the web.  i realize that when the issue of capitalism and business and illegal software comes up, it's hard to avoid talking politics.. and perhaps i am guilty as well of slipping into it.

but please let's try to keep the discussion civil and respectful of each others ideas, and avoid getting into arguments over political parties.

zridling

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #70 on: June 01, 2006, 12:16:25 AM »
Agreed. I've edited my remarks.

zridling

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #71 on: June 01, 2006, 06:45:07 AM »
One more note. A common sign-off you see on many cracks is something like this:

           SUPPORT THE COMPANIES THAT PRODUCE QUALITY SOFTWARE!
 IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PRODUCT, BUY IT!  SOFTWARE AUTHORS DESERVE SUPPORT!

So that answers one question for me.

f0dder

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #72 on: June 01, 2006, 10:57:41 AM »
I've always found those notes rather hypocritic, zridling - but they're right, of course :)

- carpe noctem

Josh

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #73 on: June 01, 2006, 11:01:33 AM »
If it wasnt for cracked software, and piracy, I wouldnt have just purchased Doom 3, Doom 3 ROE, and Quake 4 (Which are set to deliver today!). They let me try out the regular versions of the games, and then, since I NEED online play, I bought all three. So yes, I followed that line and supported these great developers.

Mark0

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Re: Why is so much software cracked?
« Reply #74 on: June 01, 2006, 02:28:16 PM »
I second that.
One time, on the Amiga, I had played a non-original (*) version of "War Head" (anyone remember that? fantastic space game, with a deep atmosphere, IMHO). Fast forward some years. When I saw on a shop on my way to work a certain "I-War", from the same author (Glyn Williams), I bought it straight away. Some thing happened some times after, for the sequel.

(*) I don't like the terms pirate, pirating, pirated, used to refer to software copying.
It's a word waaay to strong, IMHO. It reming to armed thief, murder, rape and some other outrageous crimes. It's totally offscale. And it's not a case that some groups started from day one to use that term, IMHO.

Bye!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 02:30:35 PM by Mark0 »