Business Week 
Business Week Image

Why Linux is Better

Why copy software illegally if you can get it for free?

So, you're perfectly clean, you have *cough* purchased a license for all the software you've ever used *cough*, and nobody can bother you about this? Well, if that's the case, congratulations :)

However, for most people, let's be honest, illegally copied software is very common. Copying Adobe Photoshop instead of buying it probably doesn't let you have nightmares. But are you really confident that you won't ever have trouble for that? Not so sure, huh... Software makers are progressing and finding more and more ways to track down illegal owners, and since more and more people tend to have broadband (permanent) connections, they might add an online functionality on the software that will control and verify your copy each time you launch it.

If you run Linux and install free software, you won't have to worry about this ever again! Most of free (as in free speech) software is free (as in free beer). You can find a free replacement for most of the commercial software out there. They might lack some of the advanced functionality, but they'll be more than enough for most people. Here's a list of some commercial software, and their open source equivalents :

Commercial Open source Exists on Windows?
Adobe Illustrator (~$500) Inkscape Yes
Adobe InDesign (~$700) Scribus Yes
Adobe Photoshop (~$600) The GIMP Yes
Adobe Premiere (~$800) Pitivi, Kino, Cinelerra No
Adobe Reader (free) Evince, Kpdf, GV Yes
Apple iTunes (free) AmaroK, Rhythmbox, Banshee Yes
Autodesk Autocad (~$4000) FreeCad Yes
Autodesk 3ds Max (~$3500) Blender Yes
Autodesk Maya (~$7000) Blender Yes
Bittorrent (free) Transmission Yes
Cubase (~$500) Ardour No
Kazaa (free) aMule, eMule Yes
Microsoft Excel (~$200) LibreOffice Spreadsheet Yes
Microsoft Internet Explorer (free) Firefox, Chrome, Konqueror Yes
Microsoft Office (~$400) LibreOffice Yes
Microsoft Windows Mail (free) Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, Geary Yes
Microsoft Powerpoint (~$200) LibreOffice Presentation Yes
Microsoft Windows Media Player (free) Mplayer, VLC, Totem, Kaffeine, Xine Yes
Microsoft Word (~$200) LibreOffice Word Processor Yes
Microsoft Windows Messenger (free) Pidgin, Kopete, aMSN Yes
Nero (~$100) Brasero, K3b No
Pro Tools (~$600) Ardour No
Quark XPress (~$800) Scribus Yes
QuickTime Player (free) Mplayer, VLC, Totem, Kaffeine, Xine Yes
Winamp (free) AmaroK, Rhythmbox, Banshee No

Drawing by Michel Cambon