There’s something I need to confess. Even though I’m a hardcore Linux and free software advocate, I have to say that Microsoft, as a company, is not so bad. So, why am I saying this?
I’ve never paid a single euro for any Microsoft product. I was running cracked software like 95% of people in my country. Now this is not a secret at all. My father runs a small company (around 10 of employees) and I was doing some research about how licensing works in my country. I was amazed. As it turns out, the companies are required to have licensed software, but, if the inspection comes, they will look at a specific list of software and they’ll ask you if you have a license for those programs. What I’m trying to say is that a company only needs to have legal operating system, legal office suite and that’s about it. Add some Adobe products if you use them inside of your company and you’re good to go! Now, the situation gets even worse when we focus on personal users. No-one will ever ask you for a license. It’s like this word doesn’t even exist in my country.
Anyway, back to the story. So, I was running cracked Windows software until a year and a half. Then I found out about the world of Linux and I’ve never looked back. But, being a student and using nothing but open source technology is really hard in a country like mine (and practically anywhere else in the world!). So, my first year began and they required more and more of proprietary software for us to have. Most of them are developed by Microsoft. But, we also got a DreamSpark account, so most of the software they required from us were free of charge. That’s how I got my Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Visual Studio and stuff like that, all for nothing. After that, number of unlicensed programs I had from Microsoft was down to two.
As I’ve said earlier in the story, my father is running a small company. After catastrophical floods that hit south-east part of Europe in this year, my father had to start his job all over. So what he did is he bought a new laptop for himself and he needed to buy Microsoft’s Office license. All they had in as store we looked up was a single license for Office 365 Home Plus. He decided to take it. What I’ve found out after that is that this license can be used by five email addresses legally. He used the first one for his laptop, and I used the second for mine. Also got some extra space in OneDrive and some free premium Skype minutes. And now, I’m down to one, and it’s the main one: Microsoft’s Windows 8.1. Not sure how I will get the license for it, but I’m sure I somehow will. The license costs somewhere around 100 euros, which is about the same as the amount of money I spend on food, cigarettes and going out in a month.
Today, while I was downloading Microsoft Visio from my DreamSpark account, I found out something else. I found out that I have a free license for Windows Store in my DreamSpark account. Oh, and also, I got an access to Microsoft Virtual Academy with a lot of courses and I got some books for free as well.
So, to summarize things up, I got a lot of software from Microsoft and I didn’t actually pay anything to use it. I got only a couple of software products without a license for now but I’m working on replacing them with something legal. And I’m still trying to find my Linux alternative to elementary OS. While waiting for Freya, I’m spending most of my time in Windows looking for some alternative I will use until Freya is released. No luck for now.
I trust Microsoft a lot more than I trust Google.