Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...

Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...
From: J. Simon van der Walt (
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 08:08:47 EST

Owen Green wrote;

> Absolutely - as far as software is concerned, open-source is invaribly
> the better way, both ethically and pragmatically.

I agree in principle, but not necessarily in practice; in terms of
functionality, ease-of-use, documentation and stability. I can get stuff
done in Max/MSP, and my students can figger it out just by hacking around.
pd is rocket science with a blunt penknife by comparison.

Kevin Austin wrote;

> Call it theft and get on with it.

'Theft' - well, the argument would be of course that if you copy something
and do not deprive the other person of the use of it, then it ain't exactly
the same thing as theft.

'Theft' - don't you sometimes feel that the entire entertainment industry
works by robbing of us of our creativity and selling it back to us?

Pragmatism. *Of course* my students are going to download and use crack
software. I don't help or advise them with getting cracks, nor do I pretend
the cracks don't exist. I point out that cracks are often unstable and
always unsupported, and that morally they have to think about whether they
should really be using stuff they haven't bought. I've installed a lot of
free and open-source stuff on our college machines, which I advocate quite

Refusing to accept assignments done using crack software? Hard to police,
and even counterproductive in my view. My priority as a teacher is
encouraging the students in their passion to create music. If one of my
students rushes in on Monday morning really excited with the first project
she's managed to do at home in her (crack) copy of SX3, my first priority as
a teacher is the enthusiasm. If I encourage her now, one day maybe she'll go
on to build a professional career as a creative musician - and pay for her

J. Simon van der Walt    -----     Composer

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