Let me start off quoting a newspaper article:
The value of unlicensed softwares installed on personal computers in Bangladesh reached a record $137 million in 2010, a study revealed. The Global Software Piracy Study 2010 by Business Software Alliance (BSA), which evaluates the global state of software piracy, found that 90 percent of the softwares installed on PCs in Bangladesh are pirated.
The Independent [link]
If you have a few minutes, I would highly suggest you to take some time to read the entire article published in the newspaper. Now that you have read the news, you know how popular pirated software is in Bangladesh.
The question is, why pirated software are so widely used among general people in Bangladesh? Is it because most people can’t afford to buy the software they need to use or there are other obstacles? Well, the first one is true. Most people actually can’t afford to pay for Windows operating system, then Office suite, then Adobe Creative Suite and the software list goes on and on. But here, let’s talk about the operating system — the base of the computer.
There’s still a debate going on about Windows vs Mac vs Linux. The answer will always be unresolved because the answer depends on who asks it. But when it comes to software piracy, Linux is a perfect choice for most people in home computing (and often business computing as well). Let’s find out what a typical user does on computers.
A typical user will play songs and movies, browse the internet, read the newspapers and watch YouTube videos, do simple photo editing before uploading his photos to Facebook and minor video editing if he wants to upload to YouTube, productivity tools such as Document writing, ebooks reading, creating presentations and that’s about it. Guess what, all of these can be perfectly done on Linux. As a bonus, you can be 99% sure that your computer will never catch a virus as long as you’re on Linux.
Majority of computer users in Bangladesh don’t really know about Linux. But there are still numerous people who know about Linux and spread the word simply because they hate to remember that we are often termed as thieves in major international medias because of extremely wide range of software piracy.
The obstacle with Internet Connectivity
There are a number of obstacles that will hold you back even if you take a divine decision of throwing away pirated version of Windows and step into Linux. There are a few problems that many Linux users around the world are facing such as software incompatibility, e.g., Photoshop. I won’t talk about it. What I will say is the obstacles we face here in Bangladesh.
As of today, I see that the number one obstacle in using Linux in Bangladesh is the internet connection. We have two WiMAX Internet service providers here in Bangladesh. Both of them provide a little USB modem for portability for those using laptop. But none of them support Linux. So, if you are dying to leave pirated software (Windows) and move on to Linux, you will face the first obstacle that your favorite Qubee (WiMAX provider) or Banglalion (WiMAX provider, too) USB modem won’t work. A person will sure not love to use 2.5G Internet on Linux (GPRS/EDGE connectivity) when the country has 4G capability in Windows and Mac, right?
So, you see that we are literally hand-tied to pirated version of Windows.
Step into any software training center in Bangladesh and you’ll see that they are teaching Microsoft Office suite (no doubt their copy of MS Office is pirated as well). My question is, why? When you know that your country’s general mass is unable to buy MS Office Suite, why don’t you just move on to a free productivity suite? There are a number of office suites available today. From IBM Lotus Symphony to OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice, everything is perfect. If you take one of these for general use and start using it on most offices, our country would lose the tag that majority of its computer users use pirated MS office.
But this isn’t happening in Bangladesh. And I noticed that there’s a formatting problem between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org. A highly formatted document created on OpenOffice.org is very likely to be broken on MS Word. So, we here again are bound to use pirated MS Word.
Where I’m suffering
Yes, I have been suffering, too. I don’t really feel good to be using pirated ‘Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate’ despite the fact that I have a 100% legal copy of Ubuntu (Linux) installed on my computer. Why can’t I use? I’m suffering mainly about the Internet connection problem. I don’t need to make research papers or highly formatted documents for my work, that’s why it’s okay for me with LibreOffice. But on my laptop, I suffer for an Internet connection as none of the two WiMAX USB modems work on Linux.
Having no alternative I am forced to use pirated Windows. I know how to use Ubuntu. I’d define myself as intermediate level user of Ubuntu/Linux. And I love this neat operating system that gives me a working environment. I have written about this suffering so that next time you see or hear about a Bangladeshi using pirated Windows, you don’t blame him. We are tied. If you have read the texts above, you will understand the situation.
Can WiMAX Providers do anything?
Seriously yes. Only if they develop and release a driver for Linux that will enable their USB modems to work on Linux, they will be credited as providing a great support in both upholding the country’s prestige and honor as well as playing a great role in fighting software piracy in Bangladesh.
I really pray and hope that those two WiMAX ISPs will soon think about developing a Linux driver for their USB modems considering the fact that we should start using genuine software or at least move on to a legal one.
Dear QUBEE and Banglalion authorities, are you listening? This is a national issue. A question about the country’s prestige. Will you let us leave pirated software and use legal stuff?
Are you A sufferer?
Do you use Banglalion/Qubee USB Modem and therefore can’t use Linux? Please Like the following page and share this link with your friends so that we can finally draw attention of the concerned authorities.
This post was later published on Express Bloggers.