JD on Cracks

John has been taking the time to flaunt the people arriving at JD on MX through searches for cracks. I can’t help but think he is trying to attract even more attention to his weblog for those kind of searches :-)

2nd of May and 3rd of May:

Of the 100 most recent referrals, 13 are for “macromedia flash mx crack”, 7 are for “macromedia fireworks mx crack”, 1 each for “macromedia coldfusion mx crack” and a generic “macromedia mx crack”, and a whopping 36 for “dreamweaver mx preview release crack” and variants.

John is Google-bombing his visitors to a C|Net article about Code Red. He has a point, installing software on your computer from people you don’t trust is never wise. But, as previous events has showed us, even legal software can expose you to security risks through their bugs and vulnerabilities. The story about the security flaws in revision 23 of the Flash 6 player is a recent example.

Illegal copying of software has never been good, and cracking software is not a commendable feat. When that is said, I don’t think I am alone in thinking that programs such as Adobe Photoshop have grown in popularity thanks to students and youngsters being able to get hold of illegal copies of the program. That was especially true when Adobe didn’t make available trial versions of Adobe Photoshop.

In the case of Macromedia, I think they are justified in their anger towards the illegal copying of their software. For as long as I can remember, Macromedia has made available fully functional time restricted trial-versions of their software. And on top of that, they provide students with the opportunity of buying their software at heavily discounted prices.

However, I don’t think trying to scare people away from using illegal software is the way to go. Scare campaings seldom work. Instead I think Macromedia and the other big software companies that really feel the pain of illegal copying and distribution of their software should focus on showing how the crack weasels make the software so much more expensive for honest users. They should put their efforts into making it unfashionable to be a cracker, or a user of cracked software.

The only problem with such a campaing is that there are some evidence to support that illegal copying of software might actually be positive: A Contribution To The Understanding Of Illegal Copying Of Software: Empirical And Analytical Evidence Against Conventional Wisdom:

By studying the evolution of the illegal user base, and its relationship with the previous variables, the evidence shows that illegal copying of software also generates a positive effect on the development of the software market potential due to the network effects generated by illegal users.

I think it is also important to remember that a lot of people outside the western world isn’t anywhere close to be able to afford the software made in the western world, and that a large part of the illegal copying is done in these markets. Talking about loss of revenue in a market where your software is financially unoptainable for the users of the illegal copies is the equalliant of talking about funny money.

A search on Google gives some interesting reading material about illegal software and the problems sourrounding it.