|Free Software - monday 2003-12-08 2041||last modified 2006-01-29 0328|
|TrackBacks Sent: None|
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.