Opensource: The cure to Software Piracy

Software Piracy, as defined by Wikipedia refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer software.
There is an unspoken consensus, especially in this part of the world, regarding Software Piracy. For computer users to be productive, certain tools must be present on their computers. This includes, but is not restricted to, an Office Suite, browser, Media Player, etc. Some of these tools are already present with the Preinstalled Operating System that comes with your computer, however, some others are not, most notably, the Office Suite.
The first impulse for most honest individuals would be to go to the markets to purchase a copy of that particular software they need. However, on getting there, they are hard pressed to find an original copy, and even when they do, it is so expensive, that most average folk can’t afford it.
The last resort is therefore to buy that 200 Naira recordable CD containing a pirated copy of that software we so desparately need, install and get some work done. Others more conversant with technology will take to the torrent and file sharing sites, search for, and download the appropriate file.

This scenario I have painted above obviously does not mirror the collective behaviour of software pirates. Some of them have decided not to buy any software ever in their lives, even if it is brought right to their doorsteps.

However, for those of us that get a guilty conscience when we copy that executable file from our friends, or download that software from torrent sites, there might be redemption for you yet.

Over the last couple of years, I have began a slow but steady migration from Proprietary software over to free and opensource Software. It all started with dualbooting my computer with Ubuntu Linux.

I know some readers might not be as impulsive or do not want to dive into something completely unfamiliar. Luckily, most Opensource software are also available for windows (some are even exclusively built for windows).

With opensource software, you don’t have to feel guilty when copying that file from a friend or downloading it online, because, that is what you are expected to do. It is even stated in the Licence for most Open source software. It your right.

There is a reoccuring argument that Opensource software is always substandard and not on par with their Proprietary alternative. However, as you will soon realise, this is not the case most of the time. For example, I am typing this post in Writer, An equivalent to Microsoft word, and all the features I have found invaluable on MSWord are right here, and even more, such as the “export to PDF function”.

Most Opensource software is developed by volunteers in their spare time or non governmental (not for profit) organisations. Therefore, they mostly only require donations from those that can give.

Since Opensource software is free to download and share, there is really no harm in trying them out and one might be pleasantly surprised how good they are. You might even already be using one or two opensource software without realising it.

Below, is a list some of the most popular Opensource Software and their Proprietary (and mosttimes more well known counterparts)

1. Mozilla Firefox (Internet Explorer Alternative)
2. (Microsoft Office Alternative)
3. The Gimp (Photoshop Alternative)
4. (MSPaint or even Photoshop Alternative)
5. Blender (3D Max or Maya Alternative)
6. VLC Media Player
7. Dia (Microsoft Visio Alternative), etc.

The list is limitless. To find an appropriate opensource alternative to any proprietary software you might be using, the best place to go is

As we see free and legal alternatives to Proprietary software that offer the same, and even sometimes better functionality, I hope that we will begin to cut back on Software piracy in all forms.

NB: If you clone a system, or buy a system without an Operating System, there are always Opensource Operating Systems you can Install.


Website Hosting

A website can be regarded as the face of a business entity or an individual.To a large extent, it can be used to assess the personality of an individual or the nature of the promoters of the business, just like you do with handwriting analysis and the likes. Well, i’m not quoting any theory other than mine but personally, i will never stay a second longer or do any business with a company via a website that is shoddy.

Websites range from just a few pages to thousands of pages with varying technicalities implemented on such sites. But ever wondered where these pages or files reside? It could be as simple as the very PC you are reading my write-up from! So, why can’t i just host my sites myself instead of paying some fancy named company to do so for me? Well, apart from files been hosted on individual PCs for “seeding” on torrent sites and a few other instances, you will need to be tech savvy with a know-how of the technicalities involved in such ventures AND MOST ESPECIALLY,have the resources to dabble into such an expensive venture that is web site hosting, if you are to host your sites from your home or office computers. However, it is by far cheaper to do so with these companies, even when subscribing to more expensive options, no thanks to the inavailabilty and cost of essential basic requirements like stable power supply and internet service.

In this write-up, we will discuss further the concept of web hosting and their basic operational details in simple English, with minimal technicalities.

The most popular form of web hosting is probably SHARED WEB HOSTING because of its relative cheapness. In this form of hosting, a single server, which we can likened to a computer hard drive, is partitioned into hundreds of partitions to house as many websites. All the websites on this server share the system resources like the RAM and the processor. The major limitation of this type of hosting is that resources are limited, websites that require huge bandwidth, CPU usage or a secured environment to function are usually encouraged to subscribed to the more expensive and secured DEDICATED WEB HOSTING where only your websites are hosted.

Some of the most sought after features of shared web hosting services are email accounts (limited to avaiable web space), versatile web site administration interface like cPanel, customer support and server uptimes. Most important considerations are for sizeable web space  and adequate bandwidth at an affordable price. Lately, some companies have been offering Unlimited web space and bandwidth, you will do well if you do not take this seriously. Nothing is unlimited, even their server capacity is limited. Moreso, there are other considerations that will make sure you do not have this unlimited goodies. First is the CPU usage. Being a shared webhosting package, many websites are housed on a single server, each website has a limit to the server resource it can use. Secondly is the issue of inodes or let’s just say the number of files that can be contained on your web server or web site. They are limited but sufficient enough to sustain an average sized website but definitely not all types.

Lastly, not all types of contents are acceptable by web hosts. Most frown at pornography, hacks or cracks. Most also frown at anything that may consume large bandwidths on their servers, especially video and audio files. But if you really have to indulge in any of this, you may have to seriously consider changing to a Dedicated server or hosting your site yourself.

The importance of having a web presence can not be over emphasised, especially for businesses, whether small or large. In this time and age, it is very demarketing for a business concern to use free web pages or free email services like yahoo and gmail.

At the moment, the cost of hosting a site is almost free and quite a number of Nigerian companies are deep into such businesses.

Stay tuned to this site for more details on such companies.


Free Softwares

The allure for free softwares is definitely not a Nigerian thing alone, who doesn’t love a bargain? Free Softwares, as we commonly know them around here, has two broad classifications; FREE SOFTWARE and FREEWARE. There seem to be some ambiguity here but, yes, there is a distinction. Citing Wikipaedia, these two classifications of softwares can be better differentiated with an understanding of the latin words, GRATIS and LIBRE.