Free Software - monday 2003-12-08 2041 last modified 2006-01-29 0328
Categories: Nerdy
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Should you for any reason wish to purchase a license for Microsoft Office XP, it would not be the best idea for you to be an average Ethiopian wage earner. The amount of time it would take for you to accumulate the funds required for a license (a license mind you, not a fully-owned copy) is slightly less than six years, by which time at least one revision of the same Microsoft software will have come and gone. You would fare far better as an average Luxembourger since it would take you a little less than five days to do the same (figures determined from a FirstMonday article).

Commentary on global economic disparity aside, why would you command six years' wages in an economically distressed country for a software license? To be fair, the required infrastructure for running software in an economically distressed country probably isn't present, but still - it's six years.

The world is still stuck on the idea that common software tools are like common gardening tools. The digital world is not the same as the physical world. It isn't worth six years (or five days) of your life to legally use PowerPoint (side note: PowerPoint Makes You Dumb). For those in poorer countries, free and approximately equivalent versions exist. Those countries are going to culturally pick up on open source and free software far faster than western countries. One fine day, the entire world will wake up and realize Microsoft has been pulling the wool over everyone's eyes for far too long.


in the "PowerPoi...
in the "PowerPoint makes you dumb" article, they refer to Ed Tufte and his rantings about PowerPoint. i did a quick web search and found this, which really helps me digest what Tufte is saying in his screed (hah hah hah... funny because Tufte is sort of cocky about this kind of thing).

Matt Libby on December 16, 2003 03:53 PM

Sort of? ...

Sort of?

Aaron (whom you linked to) has quite the Internet presence. He won some place in an ArsDigita prize competition, the first I heard of him. He's since come and played with and left (I think) the W3C semantic web activity. Now he's into law and the Creative Commons. I think he's around 16?

At the age of 16, I... hm, no, let's not make that comparison.

Ryan Lee on December 19, 2003 05:31 AM

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