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.