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 - 18:36:10 EST

Kenneth wrote:

>This gets more and more interesting. When, as a child, my parents wanted
>us kids to have a direct musical experience they invested in a piano. They
>didn't expect the music school to provide an instrument for free. It was
>simply too expensive. When I decided to learn any musical instrument I
>either bought outright, or, if on a tight budget, found a store with one of
>those lease-to-own programs.

I think this is applicable in a private situation -- I wouldn’t expect a
free instrument either if it were my hobby. Although, in an academic
environment the situation is slightly different: one moves away from an
ideologically capitalist environment of individualism -- where motivation is
provided largely through greed, and the love of money -- and into an
environment that instead thrives through the sharing of ideas,
collaboration, and a shared end product.

I think the problem is the one-fits-all transplantation of capitalism into
an ideologically different environment doesn’t work. That is, without a
serious dose of philanthropy.

Kenneth wrote:

>Ultimately, it seems unreasonable to me that people should expect all of
>this to come for free

>The strategy is not to join the pirates but to beat them at their own game.
> There are good people out there providing the means to create your own
>alternative to the emergent info-culture. Support them and become part of
>a viable alternative. It takes some investment in both financial terms as
>well as ethical and socially conscious means.

This would only work if institutions joined forces and were proactive in
changing their software suppliers. I wish I had faith that such a thing
could happen, but big companies can lean on institutions and governments
harder than a few geeks (I quite like that image though). Not to mention,
institutions would have to take one step back to get two steps forward.



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