THERE is a certain form of piracy which we don’t consider illegal. It’s the piracy of software. Respect of someone’s intellectual property is a hallmark of one’s civic sense. we lag behind in this sense. my daughters go to a renowned missionary school in Karachi. I was astonished to find that they are teaching the use of commercial software to their students in their computer classes. They also expect students to practise the softwares at home. In other words, advocating software piracy.
You can’t expect everyone to have a legal software copy of commercial software at home. I even suspect if the school has legal copies.
Software like Microsoft Windows, MS Word, MS Excel and Photoshop are all commercial and their legal copies cost a substantial amount. there are free alternatives for all software. Windows can be replaced by Linux, Word and Excel with Open Office and Photoshop with GIMP. When we ask a typical school management about the legality of the software they have, they have a number of answers. A few would claim that they have all the licenced software. Ok, you have the licenced software, but how do you expect students to practise at home if they don’t have legal copies of these software. Next comes the question as to why don’t they use Linux and other free stuff.
For it they argue that their IT personnel are not trained to operate and maintain the exotic software. the reply to that is if their IT staff is not capable of learning new technology and techniques, then they have probably hired the wrong persons.
Parents should press the school management to use open source and free software for the computer labs. These software are equally as good as their commercial counterparts and sometimes even better. In this age of easy access to the Internet, it’s just a matter of searching the web for open source alternative to the applications you use often.
Whatever your field of work, there are free alternatives available. from graphic design to databases to software programming aids, free software are easily available. we don’t want our children to learn that piracy is acceptable in any way. Do we? we can start by deleting all the illegal stuff from our home computers and replacing it with open source and free software.
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