back to article Microsoft and pals: Save the global economy by NOT ripping us off

Ditching dodgy software can rescue not just the UK from its financial worries, but the entire world, or so says the latest study from the Business Software Alliance. The BSA, comprising vendors including Microsoft, CA, Adobe, Apple and others, commissioned biz school INSEAD (once known as the Institut Européen d'Administration …

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Donations

In the spirit of this report I just donated some more money to http://www.documentfoundation.org/ as I use LibreOffice.

Will this improve the economy?

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Linux

"Using properly licensed software reduces the risk and creates operating efficiencies that go direct to the bottom line for business," said Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing at the BSA EMEA.

-- I am properly licensed, I use Open Source software thanks. No serials, registration or activation required.

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DJO
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Holmes

Move along please, nothing to see here

To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies: They would say that, wouldn't they.

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Anonymous Coward

BSA

A long time ago, I actually reported my employer to the BSA (well, my country's equivalent anyway), as I was being forced to use around $40k worth of pirated software on my work computer to do my job. As this was a large multinational with very full covers that they filled by charging 6 or 7 times my salary to clients and who would buckle like a wild bronco at the idea of giving us poor foot soldiers a 2% pay rise. I figured it was only fair for them to actually pay for the software.

And it wasn't just me, it was everyone in the team, so around 20 people.

The reaction? Absolutly nothing. We kept having to use said pirated software until I left and for all I know they still use it today. Perhaps they should spend less time preasuring gouvs and more time checking the inbox.

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Happy

Re: BSA

...unless you already have SOME of their software. In which case you have probably signed an agreement to the effect that they can turn up at any time to perform an audit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BSA

They have no legal right to enter your premises, without a warrant, but there is a type of warrant that can be issued to civilians with a court order. I can't remember it's actual name and it's usually accompanied by Police anyway, but they can enter your premises with this.

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Re: BSA

But they won't have one of these warrants in hand when they come. You can call their bluff and have everything cleaned up if they show up again, escorted by real police officers.

Personally, to be "squeaky clean" I would just have to dd a few virtual machines (I'm not PAYING for unwanted Windows versions just for testing a few things for support purposes) and everything else I use for work computers is Linux and free software. (I also have a legit Windows 7 install on one rig that I use only for games, with no other commercial software in it)

They'd look pretty silly if they ever came here and I would not make it easy for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BSA

Indeed it could be a term in the purchase/licence for the software that BSA are the software company's agent for enforcing the terms.

And if you've agreed to an audit but don't let them snout around, they might think you've got something to hide and start with legal letters etc.

Ultimately it probably comes down to contract law. And in contract law, the bigger-funded company often has the edge. And companies don't get the same protection from unfair terms as retail purchaser. You're expected to have the sense to check any contract and negotiate as necessary. (I know that doesn't happen but I think that's the laws assumption)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BSA

I belive that following a court order, a Warrant of Execution can be obtained. Baliffs can then use that authority to break into commercial properties (but not a person's home) to take property in lieu of the debt. There are also High Court writs....

And the utility companies can use something similar to cut you off if you haven't paid.

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Holmes

So. Linux then.

Natch.

All those licensing savings will be good for the economy, yes?

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Re: So. Linux then.

Not necessarily,

Yes you may save on a license cost.

But:

1. Training users for the new system, most are not beardy sys admins well versed in the inner workings of Linux.

2. System effectiveness, effectively the cost of doing the task.

3. System reliability. Cost of downtime.

There are others.

I'm not stating one is better than the other, but there are other costs to consider.

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Re: So. Linux then.

"1. Training users for the new system"

Someone should have warned Redmond this might be an issue for businesses before Windows 8.

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WTF?

Re: So. Linux then.

The Munich migration was a complete debacle and it took nearly 10 years from project start to complete migration of just 13,000 PC's. Even now true cost savings in the aftermath are a subject of much debate. No business could have withstood the mass failure of that migration.

The Munich migration is a great case study in project management and a great example of how Linux isn't magic. Arguably it proves that only über geeks can make it work easily enough (IBM, Google, NASA) to justify the switch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So. Linux then.

@Eadon, I think you are carried away a bit. Millions not Billions. But they have indeed been able to cut costs.

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Re: So. Linux then.

I'm interested as to how you get to "complete debacle"?

It was running behind schedule but thats about all I could find.

I was curious and so started to look for anything that could back that up. All I came across was a report by HP (disputed by Munich) that was paid for by Microsoft that Microsoft wont even release to back up its findings

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Re: So. Linux then.

"Munich accounts say that they saved 11 billion and counting. MS "sponsored" research to try to show that the project was a failure, but they retracted the report when Munich insisted that they really had saved 11 billion euros and counting."

As someone said above - they would say that wouldn't they?

I have on my team some German geeks who worked for a sub contractor on this - their story does not match the super slick, beautifully engineered uber alles view you are recounting

EADON SOCIAL CULTURAL - FAIL

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Beards are not compulsory

The gnu from the FSF logo has an excellent beard, but beards are not required to use open source software. Tux does just fine without one. Wilbur holds a paint brush in his mouth, so is better off without a beard. I thought Linus proved this beard requirement stuff was a myth in 2009:

https://www.linux.com/news/galleries/1-linus-torvalds-in-pictures/16

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Re: So. Linux then.

They had three years in just planning then were still behind schedule for years, for relatively few PC's. There are plenty of non sponsored analysis of the project out there and some stories here on El Reg about it. Yes there were many factors involved (like any project) but the fact remains that from a project prospective it was a debacle.

I'm not saying Linux was the failure, I'm saying the project was a failure and citing Munich is probably the worst possible example of a Linux migration. As I said, no normal business could have dealt with this level of awful. It would have killed the business or they would have been forced to reverse course and cancel the project.

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Meh

Re: So. Linux then.

A successful project runs close to schedule and doesn't require last minute scale up of sub contractors for every unforeseen aspect of the project and regular one off expenses. Those one offs are why the actual cost savings are still debated. If you don't count the actual multi departmental one off expenses then yes, some money has been saved in licensing costs.

If you think the Munich project was successful then do project managers everywhere a favor and never get involved in the field. Alternatively you could be a politician, they only see what they want to...

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Linux

Re: So. Linux then.

@Don Jefe. In my experience most problems come from unrealistic schedules made by unrealistic people. Munich was determined enough to make it successful. Ballmer went to Munich at least twice but I think he is realistic enough not to do it again.

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Re: So. Linux then.

There are different tools for different tasks. Choose the right tool, just don't make it an issue of belief.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So. Linux then.

Funny, you mixed up millions and billions a previous time you were going on about Munich as well...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So. Linux then.

@Eadon - 11M Euros over ten years in an organisation which has 13k desktops is pitiful. This is not a good way to big up Linux, were I not already experienced in Linux, I'd look at posts like the ones you make and conclude that people who know about Linux have no idea about business and Enterprise IT.

Fortunately, I know this not to be the case and I know that Munich was a massive cock up of a project, but also that Linux is really rather good.

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Re: So. Linux then.

Umm..Companies needing to train people would mean they are spending money in (you guest it) the economy.

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Re: So. Linux then.

Nah, it only proves that misinformed people are a vector for FUD.

Don't believe everything (anything?) that comes out of Microsoft funded studies. Much of the cost of migration was in having to port specialized applications to the new platform. Those studies also did not differentiate between migration costs and normal maintenance costs that would have occurred had the systems all stayed with Windows, even counting updates as "migrations" to show that Microsoft software incurs less costs. The study also incorrectly attributed IT costs with the migration, for example thousands of IT staff that had other roles besides maintaining systems and would have been overhead anyway. The studies even added in "support contract costs" (based on Canonical's enterprise support fees) that the city did not pay for.

So says the city of Munich.

Also, in my opinion, as long as you have employees that resist the change (empowered by those vocal Microsoft fanboys you'll find in just about any organization that know nothing else... this is often why MIcrosoft wins, over better alternatives) it's going to be more trouble than it should be. I've seen that sort of shit first hand.

I'd speculate that a real business may not have had quite as much of a "failure", because a real business would not have to put up with as much employee nonsense. There is nobody like pencil pushing government employees for entitlement issues and obstruction.

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@annodomini2

> Training users for the new system, most are not beardy sys admins well versed in the inner workings of Linux.

Please explain why it is harder to double click an icon in Linux than Windows

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Re: So. Linux then.

@Eadon: "No forced upgrade path"

Really? Which Linux distro is still providing patches for their 2001 release?

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Re: So. Linux then.

@Eadon, If you'd actually bothered to read my post I stated NO opinion either way.

It was in response to the OP's statement that the cost of a few licenses would save the economy, which is not the entire cost.

You are the one turning this into a Fanboy debate.

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Re: @annodomini2

I never said it was, however most general users are not intuitive, many are trained NOT to be intuitive.

However many of the pro-linux brigade assume everything is simple.

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Megaphone

But only if they promise not to funnel it through Ireland, The Netherlands, and the Cayman Islands.

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Linux

Gone from...

Windows 7 £134.71 Amazon (well ok, free on laptop)

MS Office 2007 £155.00 (bought and paid for disk moved with me onto new systems)

Photoshop & Dreamweaver CS3 £400 (Nice job paid for)

Over to...

Ubuntu 12.04 £20 Paypal donation

Gimp (basic web editing pics only required) &

LibreOfffice (formatting docx and xlsx files fine btw)

Dreamweaver 8 £8.00 off Ebay (just can't find decent Ubuntu alternative)

SME here.

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How much money would be saved if we just made all governmental departments save in open, standardised formats suitable for the task at hand (i.e. not that pseudo-open MS junk they came up with to try to fend off ODF)?

How much money would be made if people didn't HAVE to pay several hundreds pounds for Windows/Office for every single computer in the country, even those not running Windows/Office?

I'm guessing more than MS would ever lose through piracy, intentional or not.

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Anonymous Coward

What a joke...does money grow on trees?

Companies/Individuals currently using counterfeit software are spending the money they 'save' on other things that adds up to the GDP.

If they were to suddenly start paying for software, they would have to stop paying for those other things. Thus this is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

It shouldn't lead to any increase in GDP, as it's simply a redistribution of the same money. But as long as MS, Adobe & Pals have the money, then the above minor details won't matter.

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Re: What a joke...does money grow on trees?

It is possible that the positive effect on the GDP is actually greater when people use unlicensed software and spend their money on products with longer supply chains.

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Re: What a joke...does money grow on trees?

Maybe spent spent locally and not sent off to some offshore cash pile by way of Ireland?

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Devil

More candidates for the B-Ark

I can't wait for it to take off. I can sanitize my phone myself.

Additionally, the easiest way to up the GDP is to have the government write a huge amount of debt on itself, then just print the corresponding money which you then pretend to have "borrowed". Then spend it. The plebs of the B-Ark will say that they "owe it to themselves", the statisticians on the deck 5 will be happy and the inhabitants of bailout promenade will continue to live in luxury, at least until the final landing is applied. No need for licenses and whatever.

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Pay tax, get protection

If a corporation fails to pay reasonable local taxes, surely they should enjoy the protection of the local law!!!

No representation without taxation!!!! to reverse the original Revolutionary rallying call

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Re: Save the Economy - Use Open Source - Keep money in Country!

I was going to go on a rant about how bullionism isn't the answer to the economy and how it's a 16th Century ideal that should be eradicated... then realised who I was replying to and stopped.

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FAIL

"Quid pro quo, paid-for software would deliver £1.6bn in additional economic value to Blighty's fragile economy, "

So instead of spending £1.6 bill on other things it is spent on paid-for software. I make -1.6 +1.6 = 0.

Or is that unpaid 1.6 bill just kept under the mattress?

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"Or is that unpaid 1.6 bill just kept under the mattress?"

It depends. Does it belong to Apple? If so, then yes.

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One thing that always bugs me

One pirated copy != One lost sale. I would be very surprised if the numbers stood up to proper scrutiny.

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