Russia Realizes That Free Software Beats Sending Principals To Siberia For Piracy

from the good-job,-Microsoft dept

You may recall the story last year of a Russian school principal who was arrested for buying computers for his school that had counterfeit versions of Windows. Even though he had no idea that the software was not authorized, he was threatened with being sent to a Siberian prison (seriously), leading to some international outrage. Even Mikhail Gorbachev got involved, begging Microsoft to drop the case (unfortunately, Microsoft wasn’t actually involved in the case and couldn’t do anything). While the original case was dropped, many were surprised when the charges were refiled and the guy was found guilty. While he wasn’t sentenced to a Siberian jail, he was fined over one-month’s salary.

Of course, if Microsoft and the BSA thought that these sorts of moves would help deter piracy, they might want to adjust their thinking.

What happened instead, of course, was that many schools started looking into alternatives, such as Linux and other open source offerings, that came with a much lower likelihood of having them dragged into court and threatened with Siberian exile. And, the latest news (found via Slashdot) is that Russia has now made it official policy that all schools should use free software. If they want to use proprietary software, they can’t use gov’t funds to buy it.

It seems that all that “cracking down” on piracy worked wonders, huh? It sent the entire Russian school system directly into the hands of the competition. Good work.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “Russia Realizes That Free Software Beats Sending Principals To Siberia For Piracy”

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JB says:

Re: Copyright is Toxic

The more dangerous copyright becomes the longer the barge poles people touch it with.

I must have missed something; was that supposed to be English? Perhaps it was supposed to read, “The more dangerous copyright becomes, the longer the barge poles people use to touch it become.” Even here the wording is just wrong; I can’t begin to imagine how it should be fixed. You are on your own.

Me says:

Re: Re: Copyright is Toxic

I had to read it twice to figure it out. In my opinion, though, the comma that you added after “becomes” was enough to clarify it. If you really want it 1800’s-style grammatically correct, I think this MIGHT work:

“The more dangerous copyright becomes, the longer the barge poles with which people touch it.”

I consider the blog response environment about two steps above phone texting, so if I can understand it, I don’t quibble much over grammar.

reed says:

Unstoppable movement

Honestly if it wasn’t for Microsoft’s strong arm tactics I don’t think open source would have ever taken off. Microsoft literally left those in the computer world with no choice but to pursue an entirely different course than they were on.

Why? ‘Cause Microsoft won’t play nicely with anyone. Like Techdirt has pointed out, Microsoft prescribes to the big (pointy) stick methodology. They don’t have partners, they have prisoners. You can never cooperate with them because they are just waiting to stab you in the back.

I applaud Russia and ever other country that steps forward and says that computers are more than just Windows. They see a real future away from the proprietary world where everything is designed to squeeze that much more money out of the customer.

Windows, however prevalent and useful, has been detrimental to the future of personal computers as a whole. The spam generated by “botted” and “zombied” Windows based computers costs almost $20 billion a year to fight alone.

There is no excuse for the lack of security built into Windows. This is the true legacy of Microsoft. Through externalizing these costs they have managed to turn a profit, but at what cost to everyone else?

Alex says:

Microsoft was a part of big lobby group that pushed US government to push on Russia to crack down on piracy. Maybe in the case of the teacher they had nothing to do, but in the whole picture….. Hey, if you drop a small snowball on a top of the mountain and it causes an avalanche…. You still guilty, even if you didn’t know of the consequences.

Anonymous Coward says:

RE: Slightly Confused

Yea the end of this article made me go “buaaah?” as suddenly an insane line is drawn between two points. I personally would love to convert the office I work for all to open source programs so I don’t have to worry about keeping track of licenses, keeping the software locked up, transferring licenses to other machines… All of this would be a non issue if I could copy and distribute without a care in the world! But no, I’m going to be one of the first logs in the fire if there is some licensing issue.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Go Linux

Where I work, we are getting hit with the yea olde budget short fall lamentations with the usual appeals to cut costs. The irony, we are getting an enterprise license from Microsoft for Office 2007. For 90% of us Open Office would work just fine. Its free!!!!

Since Russia stimulated us to get our space program together, maybe our government can get stimulated to look at free software. Might help our budget deficient.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what this means right?

yay for another world/cold war!
you really think we have anything against russia except for the fact that they don’t like our corporations as much as we do? oh pushing away microsoft means reports of russia attacking its own people or various regions unpromptedly – even if those people are terrorists (relatively speaking, of course, considering how broad the definition of the word is these days) or enemy nations, funded and armed by us, that prompted the violence

Ferris Bueller says:

Re: Re: LEAKED-- Top Secret Leaked Windows 7 Demo

Uh, yeah, the video CLEARLY states it’s Vista’s Aero interface compared to Linux’s Beryl (now Compiz). Windows 7’s interface will be a refresh of Aero. Early (legitimate) beta screenshots are already available, so this is pretty clear.

Really? Who is Mark Shuttleworth?

Simple Mind says:

never in USA

Given the economic state of things this should also be the policy in USA (to mandate schools use free software). But Microsoft probably “owns” enough politicians that this will never happen. Corporations have too much influence on government decisions. The economic problems we have right now are a direct result of this. It isn’t possible to solve problems when you are constantly kowtowing to special interests.

Lonnie E. Holder says:


I have to admit to puzzlement.

o Claiming that Microsoft pressed Russia to improve enforcement and because of that this guy was convicted seems like guilt by association since Microsoft was not involved and even Gorbachev was unable to have any affect. Unless we have a better link between Microsoft and the teacher’s arrest and conviction, Microsoft seems like a relatively innocent bystander.

o Potential customers avoided a costly software alternative for an inexpensive (essentially free) software alternative; raspberries at Microsoft, told you so, etc. Competition works. Ain’t it great? Instead of sitting here claiming that the sun has properly risen in the east, and claiming that is a validation of anything other than the principles of competition, why not encourage that kind of competition? As long as Microsoft has 90% of the market they are not going to feel threatened by open source software. Now, if the world suddenly stampeded to open source software and Microsoft found itself with a 10% share, perhaps Microsoft might learn a new business model.

Kiba (user link) says:

Re: Huh?

Masnick is simply saying that pursuit of said “anti-piracy” measure is dumb and might lead to bad press. As such the company of said “pirated” software get the flak.

Also, he is a blogger, not a venture capitalist. I doubt he have million of dollars to spend on startups. Even if he does, his money would better be invested in his company.

Anonymous Coward says:

IP Blood on our hands

I wonder if Mikhail Gorbachev’s contemporary, let’s say a sane, younger, more alive version of Ronald Regan called Microsoft with the same request Mikhail did, if it would have yielded the same outcome.

Now, some people don’t understand politics outside of the office, which is pure idiocy. “Oh let the BSA do it. We have our hands tied.” they probably yelled. Seriously, who the fuck made these decisions? As acting Counsel for copyright holders, they need to be fired and hung.

If the man who actually carried out the actions of Regan, who said “Tear down this wall” called me or anyone I worked for, I’d say “This guy tore down the Berlin Wall, Shit, this man deserves my undivided attention.”

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this inability to see outside of the walls of 98052 starts questions to the validity of US IP in the world’s eyes.

Dill Nates (user link) says:

You are only warned once!

I have detected that you are using the Linux EULA and/or the GPL.

You must abide by the terms stipulated and “open source” your organization/websites to me.

1. You have to provide the source code on request to any Linux-based technologies used *if* that technology is public facing.
2. You have to provide and “open-source” any patches/modifications made to those technologies, regardless if that technology is used only internally or is public facing.
3. You have to provide the raw source code and database data for all public facing websites running on those technologies.

I now stipulate that you should provide me with all the above and also submit to my GNU/FOSS audit.

Dill Nates

P.S. If you don’t comply you will be sorry!

MS??? says:

Come on...

Why should software be free? I mean people work HARD to develop this stuff and while there is the free alternative it is not as polished as propriety software. Also the free stuff is not generally supported. Say what you like, but most of the world is not stupid and they use MS stuff for good reason. In fact I bet most of the people criticising MS are doing so using MS software. Linux platforms have some advantages (and disadvantages) but they have not unified into a few basic systems and there are too many variants to choose from . As for security… MS stuff is pretty secure if its set up right just like linux systems are. The key is being set up RIGHT from the beginning and not allowing anybody root or admin rights.

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