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Last post Author Topic: RANT: High Software Prices!  (Read 34705 times)

JeffK

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2007, 04:34:18 AM »
Ah yes, I would love to see a baseball game (and gridiron).  I'd have to go to Washington to see some history wouldn't I?

I didn't realise that there were so few intra continental passenger trains.  Gas over here is about $US0.8 to $US1 for unleaded fuel, slightly higher for distillate.

Back OT.  How do forum members cope when software is dearer than they want to pay but has some features they really like, and a whole heap of functionality and power which is superfluous?  Might be a subject for a new thread but what eg are the substitutes for eg Photoshop.






Nudel

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2007, 04:42:10 AM »
I bought Photoshop a few years ago. I had been using a pirate copy like most other people who used Photoshop at home for non-business stuff. I think PS was the last piece of pirate software I used and that was because of the price. So I thought.

(I couldn't have used something cheaper because all the alternatives to Photoshop were garbage back then. Whether that's still true I don't know.)

One day I was out buying a new digital camera to take with me on holiday. At the time digital cameras were expensive -- about the same price as Photoshop -- but I wanted one and I bought one. It then occurred to me that I'd use the camera while on holiday and only occasionally afterwards but Photoshop was something I used almost every week, sometimes quite intensely.

Clearly Photoshop is more valuable to me than a digital camera, but why would I pay for one and not the other when the cost was (back then) about the same?

Was it because one was a physical device and that made it seem worth more then something that was "just software"? No, that wasn't there reason. As a programmer I knew that good, powerful software like Photoshop was as difficult and time consuming to make as digital camera.

The reason I hadn't bought Photoshop until then, but had bought things like digital cameras, was simple and wrong: Photoshop was easy to steal and digital cameras were difficult to steal. Once I realised that I realised I had no excuse whatsoever. I went over the road from the camera shop to a software shop and I bought Photoshop 6.

Since then I've upgraded to Photoshop 7. I skipped CS1 as it didn't add much that interested me. I upgraded to CS2. Now CS3 is out and Adobe are charging UK customers 230% of the price they charge US customers. I've written them a note that that is ridiculous and that I refuse to support them any more until they treat their different customers fairly. (It's not clear if the US update will work on a UK version/licence or if they have to match. Either way, Adobe are now taking the piss out of their UK customers and I don't want to support that.)

Piracy isn't something I'm going to resort to if Adobe never equalise the UK price of CS3, though. I'll investigate the current alternatives, or just stick with CS2 and get on with it. Or I'll get drunk one night and think, "dammit, I want that new feature," and spend the money before I know what I've done. But it's a lot of money and I am insulted that I have to pay 230% of what someone in the US has to pay. That 230% is AFTER converting the GBP price to USD, too (I'm not being an idiot and complaining about the exchange rate):

Quote from: The Register
An upgrade to Creative Suite 3 Design Premium from CS2.3 costs an American $471.90 with Californian sales tax. The exact same upgrade in the UK costs £546.38, equivalent to $1080.31 as of going to press. That's a markup of almost 130%, significantly beyond the usual price-doubling that Brits have reluctantly come to expect.
http://www.theregist.../pay_twice_you_wish/

Will me not buying Photoshop influence Adobe? I seriously doubt it. They're not aiming the product at me. It's for businesses, where paying that much for some software is a non-issue and where they have to have not only the best software but the standard software that they know will be understood by everyone they hire. All the same, I bet some of the smaller companies will be just as annoyed as home users like myself when they realise how much the UK are getting screwed.

Quote
Due to the wife's career, I work in Missouri, but actually live in Chicago, a 7.5-hour drive. No train service. I'll go back and forth four times in the next 11 days.
I don't know how you can cope with that commute. (I've heard of worse commutes but that's definitely up there!) Anything over 45mins drives me crazy after six months.

If you have to live in Missouri and there are no other jobs out there, why not write software for a living? You can do that at home and try out the idea of giving away your life's work for free and earning a living purely from donations. You could be a pioneer of a new software model that, with any luck, changes the rest of the world, too. One day there won't be test-drives at car lots; people will simply go to the lot and drive off with one of the cars, perfectly legally, and a few months later when we think "yeah this car isn't bad!" some of them might drive by the lot and leave $100 for the owner. I say go for it! I'm as sick as capitalism as the next guy.

Quote
no matter how fast your system is, Photoshop is guaranteed to bring it to a crawl!
s/Photoshop/any graphics package/

Graphics are big. Especially when you have layers and so on to deal with. Editing them in memory takes a lot of memory. There doesn't exist a graphics program that lets you edit high-resolution images using layers (etc.) that doesn't use a lot of memory because it's physically impossible (unless the program is using a lot of temp files on disk, in which case it and the rest of your system will be even slower). Photoshop also doesn't use much CPU except when it's processing something which usually only takes a few seconds and is quite fast compared to other programs I've tried. Don't get me wrong, Photoshop is a big app, but it's doing a big job so I don't see what there is to complain about and I doubt you'll find anything that is significantly better. (Except, maybe, in terms of start-up time which Adobe seem not to care about improving with their products.)

Having said that, with Photoshop set to its default settings, where it will use at most half of your physical system memory, I haven't noticed PS slow down my PC for literally years. I can leave it running and it doesn't have much effect. Pre-Vista it might all get paged to disk if I don't use it for a while and then it takes a while to load back in when I go back to it, but even that seems fixed in Vista (which has greatly improved things in that area for all programs). Sure, I wouldn't leave PS running when I wanted to play a game since they both want a lot of memory to themselves, but generally I wouldn't think twice about leaving PS running in the background. It doesn't slow down your PC, unless you've got a 486 or something.

Quote from: Nosh
With the open-source/freeware explosion happening these guys are sooner or later going to have to start slashing their prices badly to stay afloat anyway, why not do it right away?
I'm not sure there will ever be a collision between free and commercial software. Free software tends to be very small, simple programs that don't get significantly updated often and only do one or two simple things. That isn't bad, I use and love a lot of those programs and I've written and given away several myself, but when someone wants to make something really good, polished and powerful it soon turns into a full-time job. There's only so much you can do in your spare time. At that point you've got to start earning money from your software or the harsh realities of our capitalist world will swallow you up and spit you out.

(What really does annoy me is when people do try to sell those small, simple, spare-time software products. It seems cheap to me and, even if it's more costly to me personally in terms of my time vs my money, I'd rather write my own version of a small tool than pay someone money for something that only took them a day to write. Usually there's some other tool that'll do the same job for free, and that's alright.)

There are some very good, polished and powerful free programs but they're exceptions, IMO. They're also often funded by large companies with an agenda of killing off other products in the market.

The only way free software can be good, polished and powerful, beyond lots of small utilities, is if lots of people donate their time to a project, but that often doesn't work because people work on only the stuff that interests them, not the stuff that needs to be done to make something work properly or polished for general users, and because it's difficult to manage so many people without the codebase becoming a mess. It's not impossible but I don't think it'll become the norm any time soon.

Personally, I hope that society doesn't stop at a 5-day week. It used to be 7, then 6 and now 5 and we seem to have lost momentum. If everyone wasn't made to waste so much of their lives working on stuff that is usually of no benefit to anyone except the rich megalomaniac on the golf course who owns the company then we'd have more time to create and give away things that make everyone's lives better. Things that people don't seem to value enough to pay enough for that you could write them for a living but that we still want to make and give away because they're cool and because it's fun to make things.

I'm about to take a sabbatical from work because I'm sick of it. My job's okay but I'm sick of having to do something 5 days a week that drains the life out of me and leaves so little energy to get anything done after work or at the weekends (and if I want to get things done I end up not seeing friends and missing out on other things I enjoy like films and games or trying to learn the two musical instruments I bought that are gathering dust). I'm very lucky to be in a position to not "work" for a few months. (I'll still be working, just on stuff that doesn't get me paid.) I think it should be normal, and the law, for everyone to do this regularly, to be honest. If I thought I could earn enough money making interesting/useful software full-time, as my day job, then I'd be doing that right now, but as it is I'd have to take a huge pay cut and I don't know if I could adjust to that. Plus I'd be at the mercy of people who seem to think that "continually" asking for money for full-time work is somehow wrong, as if buying an apple from someone one day entitles you to a pear the next.

Carol Haynes

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2007, 05:06:05 AM »
Piracy isn't something I'm going to resort to if Adobe never equalise the UK price of CS3, though. I'll investigate the current alternatives, or just stick with CS2 and get on with it. Or I'll get drunk one night and think, "dammit, I want that new feature," and spend the money before I know what I've done. But it's a lot of money and I am insulted that I have to pay 230% of what someone in the US has to pay. That 230% is AFTER converting the GBP price to USD, too (I'm not being an idiot and complaining about the exchange rate):

Quote from: The Register
An upgrade to Creative Suite 3 Design Premium from CS2.3 costs an American $471.90 with Californian sales tax. The exact same upgrade in the UK costs £546.38, equivalent to $1080.31 as of going to press. That's a markup of almost 130%, significantly beyond the usual price-doubling that Brits have reluctantly come to expect.
http://www.theregist.../pay_twice_you_wish/

Will me not buying Photoshop influence Adobe? I seriously doubt it. They're not aiming the product at me. It's for businesses, where paying that much for some software is a non-issue and where they have to have not only the best software but the standard software that they know will be understood by everyone they hire. All the same, I bet some of the smaller companies will be just as annoyed as home users like myself when they realise how much the UK are getting screwed.

The trouble is that CS2 applications won't work with Vista - in the short term that means not bothering with Vista (which I wasn't planning any way) but in the long term it means stay with Windows XP permanently or shell out for new OS and new Adobe upgrades.

Adobe have already stated in the press (sorry haven't got a link handy) that pre-CS3 software was not designed for Vista and has issues which are not going to be addressed in any future updates.

Personally I tend to go for the "skip alternate version" rule on most big purchases - and then it is cheaper in the UK to enrol for an Open University course (can be less than £100 for their 10 point short courses) and buy the academic version. Plus you have the fun of a course to do too! It is still cheaper than the upgrade pricing!

JeffK

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2007, 05:11:48 AM »
Great and interesting posts gang.  Keep 'em coming!

Nudel

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2007, 05:13:10 AM »
I'm running Vista and I haven't had any problems with Photoshop CS2 (I don't have any other apps in the suite).

There are some very minor things, like sometimes the splash-screen has bits of other windows in it while the program loads, but that's all I've seen. I don't exactly use every part of Photoshop so there might be something bad lurking in there that I haven't come across.

The main thing I want in CS3 is the way it remembers the steps you did and lets you tweak and re-apply them later, as if you had done something different in the past before applying the steps after that. (Like the existing history, but with a "redo after changes" I suppose.) Doesn't seem worth £500, though. :)

BTW, trains in the UK aren't great these days but they're definitely not the worst in the world!

Nudel

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2007, 05:15:11 AM »
Quote from: Me
What really does annoy me is when people do try to sell those small, simple, spare-time software products.
Just to clarify, I mean when people sell them individually for more than a couple of dollars/quid. I wasn't having a dig at the DonationCoder concept which I think is pretty cool.

2stepsback

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2007, 06:56:14 AM »
wow!
This thread is an eye-opener for me.
I'd never thought you guys in America had money problems that actually affected purchase of software :huh: :huh:

as a little modification to what Zaine said ( ~ list of cheap vendors and programs ) I suggest that, on at least one long plain html page, we make a list of all of *our members here* who sell programs, along with the program names.

I don't know how it will affect the ethics or dynamics of the system, but that's mouser's headache ;) ;)

Such a page forms a reference point for members as well as visitors.

With my limited knowledge of Web2.0 and SEO, I think that if we do not set it up here, we could set it up someplace more visible - like pbwiki - which is "buzz"ing. mouser almost wrote a thesis the other day on why digg is messed up - pbwiki is one of the things that has made it to the front page.

Two things happen:
Good: people see dc more, see the list, the prices, start coming and signing up here
Bad: the jerks from alt 2600 start visiting more often - but they won't have work, because it's just a *basic* "nag screen"

Then put up a vote there (maybe referring to this thread  :Thmbsup: ) and ask people whether they would choose to pay for big companies and big names or real people with open ears, ready hands and warm hearts.
(I know I have some scope in literature ;) )

And pray that all the good folks start visiting dc :)

what say folks?

-2stepsback
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app103

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2007, 07:21:03 AM »
as a little modification to what Zaine said ( ~ list of cheap vendors and programs ) I suggest that, on at least one long plain html page, we make a list of all of *our members here* who sell programs, along with the program names.

I think that was almost what mouser was trying to do here:

http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=4406.0


Carol Haynes

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2007, 08:10:32 AM »


At least the Indian's use their trains ;)

rjbull

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2007, 09:24:00 AM »
Now CS3 is out and Adobe are charging UK customers 230% of the price they charge US customers.

In 2005, last time I was with a group of photographers who were keen on Photoshop, they believed the discount price Adobe charged its own UK staff was £40.  I.e., about one tenth or so of the commercial price.  I know that's no justification for software theft, but it seemed to ease their consciences   :o  Adobe were setting themselves up to be seen as rip-off artists.


mouser

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2007, 10:02:22 AM »
This discussion about photoshop has got me thinking more about some of my feelings on these high end programs.  I sometimes work with academic software, which has similar insane pricing schemes (go price matlabl).

Part of what makes people turn to piracy is when a company prices its products for one rich market, and prices it out of range of normal people, for the sole purpose of keeping the people who can afford it from paying less.

In other words, imagine the case of photoshop.  Ideally, as long as they don't have to provide you with support, they aren't negatively effected if 30,000 high schoolers have pirated copies of photoshop and learn how to use it.  In fact it helps them by establishing a more dominant user base and trained users who may eventually buy the program.  But they can't "officially" give out those copies of photoshop or charge $5 for them, because they need to be able to charge the pros $500 for it.  So we are left in this strange situation where companies are officially fighting to keep the program out of the hands of people who can't afford it, just so they can extract high dollars out of the people who can.  This is the kind of thing that makes me long for the day when we can all pay what we think a program is worth to us (i know it's not going to happen im just saying).

in general i guess i evaluate companies and get a feeling for if i think they are trying to jack up their prices and update charges in order to maximize profits with no real "love" of their customers.  i want to support companies which balance making a profit with having happy users.  show me a company trying to bleed their users dry to squeeze the last drop of potential profits, and i'll show you a company whose users are looking for an excuse to jump ship.

tomos

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2007, 11:11:14 AM »
So we are left in this strange situation where companies are officially fighting to keep the program out of the hands of people who can't afford it, just so they can extract high dollars out of the people who can.  This is the kind of thing that makes me long for the day when we can all pay what we think a program is worth to us (i know it's not going to happen im just saying).
I suppose they reckon as well that if they reduce the price the others - "people who can't afford it" still wont buy it - maybe they're right...

in general i guess i evaluate companies and get a feeling for if i think they are trying to jack up their prices and update charges in order to maximize profits with no real "love" of their customers.  i want to support companies which balance making a profit with having happy users.  show me a company trying to bleed their users dry to squeeze the last drop of potential profits, and i'll show you a company whose users are looking for an excuse to jump ship.

nicely put!
I actually think the commercial world isn't so bad that way - just got to wait around sometimes for some other product to catch up  :)
Tom

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2007, 12:01:17 PM »
hi folks,

what do you feel about purchasing expensive software in instalments?

does that help the situation?

It sure will help M$ since they've come up with the micropayments stuff (have an account - much like a pre-paid phone card)

what d'you say?
-2stepsback
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Darwin

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2007, 01:55:44 PM »
hi folks,

what do you feel about purchasing expensive software in instalments?

does that help the situation?

It sure will help M$ since they've come up with the micropayments stuff (have an account - much like a pre-paid phone card)

what d'you say?
-2stepsback

I'd go for it if the software was a "must have" (paying $600 in installments for software that has decent analogues at the $100 point is STILL paying a $500 premium, you just don't fell - doh! - FEEL it as intensely!)... this would at the very least alleviate the PITA of having to pay interest on my credit card (which is a roundabout sort of way of acheiving the same thing - buying somehting that I can't afford!) - which is something I try to avoid.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 01:58:56 PM by Darwin »

nosh

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2007, 03:23:56 PM »
Quote
I'm not sure there will ever be a collision between free and commercial software. Free software tends to be very small, simple programs that don't get significantly updated often and only do one or two simple things. That isn't bad, I use and love a lot of those programs and I've written and given away several myself, but when someone wants to make something really good, polished and powerful it soon turns into a full-time job.

How would you account for Linux then? What about Gimp, Open Office, Azureus, Utorrent? I'm not sure about the open-endedness of some of these but I know for sure they're free.

People tend to get emotional when one mentions software piracy. Whether you take a moderate view and try to justify their behaviour or whether you think they're no better than drug-dealers is not the point here. The fact is this is a huge MAMMOTH untapped market out there and businesses need to find ways to tap into it. I don't know the numbers but the balance between honest and dishonest users is seriously lopsided. Even more so when you talk about countries like India and China. I can go out on the street in Bombay, India and buy any product for less than USD 1.00. Microsoft has the most ineffective anti-piracy campaigns going through the years. They plaster the city with banners urging the public to call the anti-piracy hotlines. Every kid around knows exactly where to find the pirated software but apparently MS with the millions(?) it pumps into anti-piracy doesn't. There are streets filled with shops thriving in piracy, the cops turn a blind eye. Every once in a while some loser who doesn't know how to handle his friendly (read corrupt) neighbourhood officer gets pulled up and gets his face in the papers. Score for Microsoft, except it's business as usual on Lamington Road. This scenario is almost certainly replicated in thousands of cities around the world.

You can hate those who indulge in piracy till kingdom come but the only ones complaining today are the legit users.
All I'm saying is the companies have to get rid of their traditional hard-headed approach and find a smart way to tap this market. Sure, there'll be a lot of people who won't pay even if a product is priced reasonably, but there will be people who will... for that "squishy feeling" or for whatever other reasons. This is one fat pie and if the sw companies can figure out a way to even get a small slice of it it'll go a long way to help everyone on the right side of the ethical line.
Quote
As a programmer I knew that good, powerful software like Photoshop was as difficult and time consuming to make as digital camera.

Maybe much more so depending on the app you're talking about. The only reason I'm willing to pay more for a camera is coz my copy/paste shortcuts don't work too well with it. Nor, unfortunately, do they work for the manufacturer. The day that happens we'll solve all the world's problems. Well almost all - Sanjaya will still deliver cruel and unusual punishment whenever he sings.


 
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 04:13:24 PM by nosh »

Darwin

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2007, 03:55:23 PM »
I hope I haven't come across as hopelessly judgemental? I've been there - I've used PIRATED (Aaar, mateys. Shiver me timbers!) software in the past. I don't feel any particular resentment toward people still running pirated software and I don't feel any superiority over them, either. It's just that, to use Nudel's analogy, I wouldn't walk into a shop and steal a digital camera (or, for that matter the boxed version of downloadable software) even, and here's the point, IF I KNEW WITH CERTAINTY THAT I WOULD GET AWAY WITH IT. Why? Because I've been enculturated since birth not to take what is not mine. If I haven't paid for something that requires payment, then it is not mine. I think Nudel's illustration of how he came to this realisation:

Quote
The reason I hadn't bought Photoshop until then, but had bought things like digital cameras, was simple and wrong: Photoshop was easy to steal and digital cameras were difficult to steal.

is excellent. Few people, if any, that I know would intentionally steal anything. So, I'd take Nudel's point one step further and argue that most people simply don't see software piracy as stealing.

Crap. This is such a hugely complicated issue: how many of us have photocopied more than, what is it, 10% of a printed work at University to avoid paying $100+ for a 150 page book or back in the good old days borrowed an LP from a friend and copied it onto a cassette or recorded a favourite song from FM radio onto a cassette, or in the present borrowed a CD from someone and ripped it to mp3, etc.? So, this isn't a problem that is specific to software at all...

I simply don't have the "brainwidth" (to borrow a phrase from Zaine -like that one a lot) to grapple with these issues of ethics. I'm not advocating the stocks for people caught running illegal software and in fact wish them no ill will whatsoever. All I would suggest is that they consider exactly what it is that they are doing. If they do this and still feel no qualms about running pirated software, fine (but I'm locking up the silver before they come to visit!).
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2007, 04:48:30 PM »
nosh: you mentioned µtorrent, so I'll make a short out-of-topic comment here. µtorrent is probably coming to and end, ludde has stopped developing on it (can't blame him) after the purchase by bittorent inc., so there's no guarantee it'll keep being a decent, lightweight and badware-free program.
- carpe noctem

nosh

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2007, 05:27:47 PM »
Yup, their latest "updates" were buggy at best. I went back to v. 1.6.1 b490 real fast.
Do you think they could disable older clients in the future? Coz that would be a big step back.
A lot of the updates these days *coughVISTA!* don't do much besides hogging up extra resources anyway.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 05:32:39 PM by nosh »

zridling

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2007, 05:30:54 PM »
[mouser]: i want to support companies which balance making a profit with having happy users...
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That's the key: balance. I don't begrudge anyone going to the bank, especially developers. I'm just an end user (Nudel), not a programmer, but in my perfect world, developers are able to make a comfortable living from their work and creations. In the real world, the small developer is killed by piracy. That's why I recommend everyone run out and throw up a PayPal donation link on their software site. Maybe some generous soul will drop by and on impulse transfer a big steaming load of cash in your account to make up for all those lean times.
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My commute is insane (only on weekends, though), however, I've seen too many of my friends lose it all by giving up the stable job only to have their new company be sold to a competitor who promptly lays off all the new hires. And after a certain age, you're not invited to join the club anymore. So when I don't post here for days on end, you'll know I'm in my 12-year old pickup, either singing opera inside or belting out the lyrics to Led Zepp songs (yes, I believe most all the good music was made in the 60s and 70s). ha!!
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Darwin, you make a good point on piracy. However, I figure most folks feel that Microsoft, Adobe, and other big corporate software deserves to be pirated: You're forcing me to steal it! Reminds me of Steve Martin's advice on how to be a millionaire: "First, you get a million dollars...."

Darwin

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2007, 05:46:26 PM »
Quote
Darwin, you make a good point on piracy. However, I figure most folks feel that Microsoft, Adobe, and other big corporate software deserves to be pirated: You're forcing me to steal it! Reminds me of Steve Martin's advice on how to be a millionaire: "First, you get a million dollars...."

I've seen it suggested that Microsoft et al. actually (albeit unofficially) welcome piracy in order to get their products into the hands of users who *might* influence corporate purchases based on what they are familar with. This has been mentioned in this thread before, but I recall reading a fairly detailed discussion about it in the past - probably on Donationcoder!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Carol Haynes

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2007, 05:59:20 PM »
There was a lot of discussion when product activation was introduced in WinXP and OfficeXP. At that time there were numerous 'studies' and articles on how piracy had been condoned in the past to allow market saturation - activation was only introduces when near enough maximum saturation was reached.

It is a very simple philosophy that drug dealers rely on all the time ... get 'em hooked and then screw them for all they are worth. MS are masters of the philosophy (my opinion).

Hirudin

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2007, 07:51:10 PM »
I love reading people's hyperbole when it comes to "stealing" software.

"Stealing is wrong, end of story!" is so ridiculous I feel that explaining why would be insulting to anyone with an IQ over 100.

There are degrees of "wrongness" to stealing. And stealing overpriced software (electronically) from large companies is WAY down there, in my opinion at least. Maybe roughly equal to recording music off the radio... oh wait, that's prefectly legal. OK, maybe roughly equal to... hooking your friend up with your "employee discount".

On a scale from 0 to 9
Click for the scale
0 being perfectly OK, 9 being the same as stealing something of equal price from a store (note: I don't say equal "value" here)

I'd give downloading a copy photoshop from a P2P network, installing it with the supplied serial number, and using it for intermediate personal use a 2.

Photoshop from P2P, supplied serial, but to use it to work from home: 4

Same software, but using it in part of your primary business, say as a graphic designer: 8

Stealing Winamp "pro": 6

Windows Vista, cracked serial number, primary OS on your computer: 7

AnyDVD (a program designed to steal others' work): 3

Using a crack to disable the CD/DVD check on a game that you legitimately own: 0

What would y'all's ratings be?

Oh yeah...
Buying an "academic" version of some software, say photoshop, and using it in a manor completely different than as it's intended: 4
Complaining about other people stealing software while doing the above: 7
« Last Edit: April 18, 2007, 08:11:37 PM by Hirudin »

Darwin

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #47 on: April 18, 2007, 08:49:32 PM »
Trust me, Hirudin, I'd be the first to admit that my intelligence is fair to middling at best. And yet I am pretty confident that I could follow your explaination for why my position on software piracy is "wrong", if you'd deign to explain it to someone so obviously challenged. However, I'm equally confident that I've heard it, even said it myself, all before. I've been there and I've done it. I've made all of the rationalizations and arguments. So I "get" it, but so what? I don't feel that anything that I have posted in this or any other thread on the subject qualifies as "hyperbole" and wouldn't sum up my position as "stealing is wrong, end of story". Software piracy is a complicated issue - you've highlighted some of those complications. *I* choose not to steal software (though I have done so in the past) because I came to realize that it IS theft. All the rationalizations that you can think of don't change that. Ford and GM are manufacture and market mediocre, overpriced and overhyped cars and trucks (in my opinion). Yet it irks me that I can't afford to buy anything in either manufacturer's product line new, off the lot. Does this mean that stealing a 4x4 F-350 Crew Cab to drive my son to and from preschool on flat, paved roads (clearly using the vehicle in a way that significantly underutilizes its power and abilities) is defensible? I'm not willing to test it by "giving it a go". I suspect that I would have a difficult time using the "I can't afford it, but gee whiz I'm not using it for the purpose that it was designed for anyway" argument in a court of law.

I could not care less whether or not you pay for the software that you use - I don't even give a shit if you're using a cracked copy of CS3 to layout, design and edit a magazine - but I care very much about the software that I run on my computer. If you are comfortable stealing software, go for it. I'm not going to look down my nose at you and I'm not going to report you to anyone. This is a individual, personal decision - one that should be taken with some thought as to the ramifications of the course of action that one decides upon. This is turning into one of those "if a bear shits in the woods and no one witnesses it..." arguments. You steal something, no one notices, nothing happens to you, because you never intended to pay for the item in the first place the manufacturer isn't hurt, either because no sale was lost. Does that make it right? If a guy manages to slip a date rape drug into your sister's and she wakes up the next day none the wiser (but a little woozy and sore) does that make it OK because no one witnessed the crime and, provided sis doesn't get pregnant, no one is even harmed by it? Now that, my friend, is hyperbole.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cranioscopical

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #48 on: April 18, 2007, 10:08:25 PM »
It's easy to complain about high prices and monopolistic practices.  There's more than one side to the issue, though.

Because I live where I do I have to buy 'high-speed' internet via satellite for about 6 times the rate of faster, more reliable service in the nearest town.  I don't enjoy paying that but nobody makes me.  If I want it, that's what it costs.

Microsoft doesn't make me use its software, nor does Adobe.  I don't enjoy paying for it and I'd probably find alternatives were it only for private use.
If certain clients require certain formats, however, then it's just part of the cost of doing business.  The software helps me to earn more.
 
OTOH I did hold a virtual monopoly in my field for quite some time and I was neither slow to exploit that nor remorseful about doing so.  How, then, can I complain if others do the same?

zridling

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Re: RANT: High Software Prices!
« Reply #49 on: April 18, 2007, 11:31:12 PM »
[cranioscopical]: I don't enjoy paying that but nobody makes me. If I want it, that's what it costs.

Ah yes, and that's the problem. We say that about medical care, drugs, gasoline, electricity, macaroni & cheese, and just about every necessary commodity these days. I don't have to have those items, but my lifestyle would be radically different. By purchasing their [overpriced] software, I've earned the right to gripe about it! If they don't like hearing it, then sell it cheaper. No one makes them sell Photoshop for $1800, but if they want to, they invite global piracy. It's a karma thing. It makes a very good argument in favor of open source software — use it, support it, evangelize it, pay it forward. Then let the Adobes and the Microsofts spend their time suing each other in court over the patent-infringement-of-the-day.
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[JeffK]: "How do forum members cope when software is dearer than they want to pay but has some features they really like, and a whole heap of functionality and power which is superfluous? Might be a subject for a new thread but what eg are the substitutes for eg Photoshop."

This exactly describes my love/hate relationship with the CorelDRAW suite. Been using it since version 3 (mid-90s/1994?) and have a crapload of files over the years in CDR format that are difficult to convert without losing masks, filters, etc. I now use other software, but whatever I use, it's always missing that one feature I used all the time. The answer is you work like heck to discover workarounds, even if it means using two or more graphics programs to accomplish the same tasks. So between Inkscape, GIMP, and Photofiltre Studio I get just about everything I need done, and in better, more universal formats, which has been a real boon.