I consciously choose not to use any pirated software. There are a few reasons why I made this decision:
- I work in software development, so using pirated software is like ‘biting the hand that feeds you‘;
- When you install pirated or ‘cracked’ software on your system, you are potentially opening your system up to all sorts of nasties included in the pirating process; and
- I have found viable free and/or open source alternatives that remove the need to use pirated software in the first place, so I am not really missing out at all.
So what do I use instead? Here’s some commercial software and the free/open source alternatives that I use:
- VMWare -> VirtualBox
- Microsoft Office -> OpenOffice.org
- Nero Burning -> InfraRecorder
- Adobe Illustrator -> InkScape
- Adobe Photoshop -> Gimp
- Symantec Antivirus -> AVG Free
- Windows Media Player/QuickTime -> VLC
- WinZip -> 7Zip
A lot of these alternatives use open standards and formats, which is a good thing to encourage. The more people who use open standards and formats, the more commercial software vendors will feel the need to support them.
The other benefit of using these alternatives is that if you decide to switch operating systems then most of these are cross platform, so you don’t need to change your software that you use.
Which brings me to my final point. The more you start to use these cross platform alternatives, and the more things are done on the web (email, IM etc.), the more you start to question why you need a commercial operating system.
Most of the packages above work on Ubuntu or other flavours of Linux, so there’s no reason not to switch to a non-commercial operating system as well.