One of the most common questions we hear from potential customers who come to buy PC's or Laptop's is whether we will be installing Windows XP on the computers we assemble. Our answer has been the same - "Yes we will, if you pay for it". We would like to clarify our policy regarding piracy. We understand that piracy is illegal and we will not be doing anything to promote piracy.
People have been accustomed to computer assemblers installing Windows XP or Windows 98 on assembled as well as the branded PC's (that come without the Microsoft OSes preloaded) that there is a notion in the market that the software comes as part of the computer. A lot of people do not even realize that Microsoft Office that comes pre-installed in such systems are neither a part of the Windows OS nor is free. Some are even under the impression that these software are free.
It is not that there is no alternative to pirating software or paying high prices for the software required. There are thousands of free software out there that can perfectly replace any and all (almost) the software that a common PC user needs to use(except games for gamers). Piracy is illegal. So for those who would like to not do anything illegal there is a simple solution - embrace the FLOSS software out there. We will be more than happy to provide you with whatever kind of technical support that you would need in such a switch.
As an aside let us take a look at the economics behind piracy. People who pirate wouldn't probably have otherwise bought the software. They also would tend to become dependent on the software they pirate as they probably would not be trying out alternatives. Companies don't really loose anything with each pirated copy of their software. They will instead get free promotion of their software through such copies and their users.
At some point of time in the future, with stronger DRM protections, companies will be able to put a stop on piracy. When such a thing happens these companies will be able to make the people who pirate, and who are solely dependent on the pirated software, pay through their noses for these software. Ultimately it is these people who pirate, stand to loose anything and not the software companies. Promoters of FLOSS software should understand this issue and should pledge to never pirate at all and should contribute their efforts to spread the awareness about this danger.
We, as a company do not support piracy and at the same time we do not approve of the Software Vendor's policy of charging exorbitant rates for these software. We have had potential customers walk out on us because we stood to our stand that we will not pirate - no matter what. But our policy remains. However if people pirate, we will not do anything to stop them, because we don't have to. We will not force people to buy high-priced software, we will be trying our best to promote alternatives and we will not install pirated software for you.