Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yo Ho Ho! A Pirate's Life for Me!

If a Christian steals, did he or she sin? What if I told you that many Christians right now are thieves? Would you believe me?

The contention of the software industry remain in echoes - intellectual property needs to be respected for the sake of those who labor in coming up with the solutions brought about by commercial software.

Now what if I told you that more than 89% of the software that you use - to type your homework, to run your computer, to do your yearbook - are pirated software. No matter where you go - AUP, MVC, or the homes of Christians - the source of application software that many of us use are bootlegged (not all, of course). Why is that? Because of the high costs of software compared to the almost eerily cheap pirated sources.

You see, software piracy in itself is just like stealing. We tend to steal the ideas, the revenue, and the ownership of those who did the work honestly (as far as we know, of course). We may easily say that the same people are richer than us anyway, so that they can afford to lose a meager amount. But then, can we really rationalize our way out of this?

Of course, many of us tend to shoo this away and think, "I do what I have to do." That is the case. We do what we have to do. But as Christians, do we just, well, do? It remains imperative that if we want to be truthful to our beliefs, we better do it practically. I may be preaching this knowing that I too might be guilty of this atrocity. Yet I do believe that there is room for change and we can either go ahead and actually buy our software (painful to the pocket) or migrate to Open Source software. Either way, the benefits to our character become a lot better than just hiding within the bounds of, "I do my share as an evangelizing Christian." I bet you segregate your trash too.

Whether you are a computer geek or a computer user, you are not immune from your supposed Christianity. What practical steps do you think should you do as a Christian educator when the fine line is drawn to usability and character? Will you continue to become a thief, or will you change your ways just like your Christianity compels you to? What did you have for dinner tonight?