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

Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...
From: Owen Grant (
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 11:23:35 EST

There is a huge catch 22 here: how does the student -- often on the bread
line -- afford to by their compositional tools? And how does a student learn
to create music without the tools they need to compose?

Although there are free alternatives to many of the big software programs,
they are rarely as easy to use. Many students have enough problems
understanding electro-acoustic music, never mind trying to learn how to
operate non-user-friendly software. Moreover, the lecturers that have
greater experience with music software are often provided with the big-name
software on behalf of their institution. While students, presumably, have to
use less user-friendly software such as PD, so they can work on things
outside the University walls.

J. Simon van der Walt Wrote:

>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.

They are required to learn twice the software -- for home use, and
university use. They are required to put up with inferior software -- way to
go, make things harder for students!

If a student surgeon was told: “Sorry, we can’t afford surgical knives for
student surgeons; you’ll need to make do with that chisel.” there would be a

Why should student musicians accept this double standard? Universities
aren’t supplying what the students’ need, and the capitalists are pricing
out the creation of new art.

I think that a lot of students aren’t as morally bereft as you might think.
In fact, quite the opposite -- I think that a lot of students are
consciously deciding that they think it morally acceptable to use cracked
software. And whether anyone believes me…I actually think that most students
desire to replace cracked software as soon as their financial situation
changes for the better. Students often feel forced into this criminal
activity, and although I have never heard it expressed outright anywhere, I
have a suspicion that students -- if not expected -- are tolerated in engage
in this criminal activity.

The question we should be asking is why aren’t further education
institutions supplying the tools students' need? Why do further education
institutions have these student-lecturer double standards? Should the
software companies be offering almost-free yearly rental of their software
to students?



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