July 21, 2024

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Software pirating

Author : DAOUDI Samir | Context : MSc Software Engineering – Computer Structure

Professional software may require a lot of work and investment. With great teams of architects, developers, testers …etc software’s companies may spent a lot of money and human efforts on building and providing professional solutions that can make our life easier.
The effort spent for software developing is not only the amount of money and time, but complex formula, Walker Royce presented the effort formula as:

Effort = (Personnel) (Environment) (Quality) (SizeProcess*) [1]
*reflects process effectiveness
This equation captures the following key factors:

  1. Effort: person-months required to complete the project
  2. Personnel: factors considering the abilities of the team
  3. Environment: factors considering tools and techniques
  4. Quality: factors considering the required product quality
  5. Size: number of human-generated source instructions composing the end product

Process: formula based on the effectiveness of the process used to produce the end product [2]

IT companies spent billions of dollars in R&D and the budget is still increasing, but the real benefit may not been in the near future. In the chart bellow we can see the R&D expenditures for IT companies.

Figure 1: R&D Expenditures for tech companies [4].

I think all companies are able to secure their products with strong licensing systems, but  why such protections are not applied? We can imagine that Microsoft is able to strongly secure the enterprise solutions it builds. However, if products are available for us without paying is not due to crackers that create some keygens or crack programs.
I remember that during my earlier ages, I used some non-commercial versions of developing IDEs (Visual studio 6 for example) it was a pirate version but later when I became an IT engineer and I integrated my 1st company, I was asked to provide a list of tools that I need for my daily tasks (developing custom solutions) to be purchased and I understood that this was predictable and planned by Microsoft. Another situation that confirm my opinion is that we had a club at the university called MS Club, its members were also members of the Microsoft BizSpark program which was “a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business.”.
I was member of that club and we got all the Microsoft applications for free, however Microsoft was trying to build IT professionals and make them more familiar and Microsoft solutions lovers. This strategy was a strong marketing approach and I personally have been affected it. This is why I now use mainly MS solutions (SQL Server , C#.net, ASP, SharePoint).
So if users download and use software without paying, some benefits can be taken as creating a biggest community, making advertisement for the product, building solutions upon the product …etc. And later, when the solutions become popular and a lot of other softwares get developed using these solutions, companies can make the licensing strategy more strong and avoid any kind of software cracking.

My personal opinion about pirating computer software is that this should not be done specially by professional IT staff. As they should be aware about the effort done by others to design, build and complete such tools. I personally use for my daily tasks some ‘non-purchased’ applications but these last have not been pirated. In fact, I use a non commercial versions as :
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (Developer Edition): This edition is a complete version with all the tools and features available in the (Enterprise Edition), but is not for commercial or business needs. Microsoft provide such tool to allow us ‘develop, work and try’ the product but it expects us to use the commercial editions (Entreprise, Standard, Web …etc) as final solutions.
This opinion cannot be the same when we talk about music or motion pictures as this content is available for general public (TV, Radio, Internet …etc) without such restrictions.
It’s clear that this will affect the artists but it will be also a sort of advertisement for them.


[1] Walker Royce, Software Project Management: A Unified Framework, Addison-Wesley, 1998.

[2] B. Boehm and K.J. Sullivan, “Software Economics: A Roadmap,” in The Future of Software Engineering, 22nd International Conference on Software Engineering, June 2000.

[3] U. Banerjee, “Technology trend Analysis”.
Available online : http://setandbma.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/1240/

[4] J.Yarow, K.Angelova “CHART OF THE DAY: Microsoft Spends Eight Times As Much On R&D As Apple”, 2010.
Available online http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-rd-for-tech-companies-2010-5