Microsoft has been unveiling this week some of the anti-piracy provisions that will be included in Vista and Longhorn. While it’s still early to know the exact impact, there’s been press play on how consumers might react negatively. George Ou over at ZDNet has blogged about how stricter anti-piracy measures in Vista will be good for Linux. Novell has had, and continues to have, strong anti-piracy measures to protect our proprietary products. However, in open source, where the software is free, piracy is much less of a concern. It doesn’t disappear completely, since companies will still want to protect their reputations by ensuring that products advertised as their products are, in fact, their products, but the economic arguments around losing licensing revenue are no longer relevant.
Piracy has to remain an important issue for any industry based on intellectual property rights, including software. But, as it is in so many arenas, open source is changing the rules of the game around piracy. Beyond increased flexibility and lower cost, customers wanting to avoid the hassles of dealing with anti-piracy hurdles in proprietary software will now have one more reason to turn to open source.