Microsoft for free


#1

The National Teachers’ Association (全國教師&#26371 demanded that the US-based software company Microsoft make its products available to educational establishments for free. It’s a joke to me. Any comments?


#2

I think Microsoft has intenionally turned a blind eye to pirate use of its products in Taiwan for years to get people addicted. Now that Microsoft is demanding payment, people are paying up because they are not aware of any alternative. Of course Microsoft have the right to demand payment for their products. The problem is that their monopoly position allows them to charge very high prices for products that are not necessarily the best. For example, IBM’s OS/2 seems to have disappeared, and the company that made BeOS has gone into liquidation and sold its operating system to Palm. (You can still download BeOS for free from BeBits.

The Teacher’s Association’s demand is quite hopeless. What they should really be doing is looking for alternatives to Microsoft. I am sure some contributors to this forum will have something to say about the merits of Linux, but what people will really be looking for is a functioning Chinese-language office suite. I believe there is one available for Linux from Caldera - not free, just reasonably priced. There are also some other nascent alternative operating systems like Petros from Trumpet Software in Australia.


#3

I completely agree with you Juba. my brother-inlaw is a computer science graduate (3 years ago) who works at the largest notebook manufacturer in Taiwan. He has never used any flavor of Unix and had never heard of it until he watched me do an install of Mandrake a couple of years ago. M$ is very smart, if CS students here never learn about Unix (or any other non-M$ operating system), they sure aren’t going to be able to support them when they go to work with an IT company. I 've been dealing with a motherboard manufacturer recently and they claim their new board supports “Linux 8”. Huh???

About a free Chinese office replacement…OpenOffice 1.0 has just been released for Windows, Linux and Solaris:

http://www.openoffice.org

So far only the English version has been released but many different language versions (including Chinese) are due to be released soon.
BTW, I still use OS/2, Be and QNX…it’s soooo nice not having to worry all the time about Microsoft virii.


#4

Personally I can’t stand Linux. I gave it a chance. 2 actually, since we used it at work a lot. I prefer Windows. Although if you are using some system you put together yourself for like $300 then its not worth putting Windows on there. And it doesn’t hurt to have a dual startup even if using Windows. But Linux has never come across as a viable alternative to me.


#5

I hate MS Products, not only the operating system. Everytime they promise you the latest version - which you must purchase at a high price - is better, improved. Anyone actually realize that this happens since Windows 2.11 (don’t know what was before that)?
So much money has been paid and you still get an inferior product.
Under Win95/98 my PC kept on crashing and usually ended up with a blue screen a few times a week. And guess what crashed? - MS Applications, specifically the Explorer. Thank you very much, Billy Boy!

Yes, I do use them because I have no choice since it’s a company PC and those are the applications everybody is using.
Years ago when I had my own PC I installed Linux (beside Windows 3.11 which was ‘the latest’ at the time) and must say it was difficult to install, never managed to get the Windows-like GUI to work due to problems with the adaptation of my graphics card.
It’s surely for people who are deeper into the subject though I hear that lately things are getting easier and offer an viable alternative to Windows, as well when it comes to (small?) company networks since Linux is more reliable and higher resiliant to Viruses. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

It’s time that companies and governments start to opt for alternatives.
I remember to read a few weeks ago that China has choosen to do so. If they make this happen I congratulate them to that wise decision.


#6
quote:
Originally posted by Rascal: Under Win95/98 my PC kept on crashing and usually ended up with a blue screen a few times a week. And guess what crashed? - MS Applications, specifically the Explorer. Thank you very much, Billy Boy!

That’s ok… I had Windows ME installed on my notebook last year. It literally crashed every 20 minutes or so. I finally pinpointed what the problem was… I was using a Microsoft mouse!!! I went out and bought a non-Microsoft mouse (logitech, I think), and it stopped crashing. (well, crashed much less at least)


#7

If you’re running Linux, there is an Office alternative in Chinese available. Hancom Office (available in Taiwan) comes in Japanese, Chinese GB, Chinese Big5, Korean, Arabic and English.

http://en.hancom.com/


#8

Microsoft has announced that it will donate NT$100 million in software to local non-profit organizations.
www.taiwanheadlines.com/20020508/20020508b3.html


#9

Microsoft doesn’t “force” students to pirate M$ software…that’s like saying Porche forces me to steal 911s because they are so expensive. Students pirate M$ software because they want to and because there are no penalties.
If they want good software and they are sooooo “poor”, they can go to:

http://www.distrowatch.com/

and download all the software they can use. Otherwise, they should shut up.


#10

Taipei Times, Thursday, May 9, 2002:
“Vice Minister of education Wu Tieh-hsiung 吳鐵雄 said that his ministry would welcome the de-criminalization of the breaking of copyright laws on campus.”

A while ago there was this discussion about photocopying text books. Several copy shops were raided by the police. Saw a politician (don’t remember his name) on tv speaking out against photocopying text books. He did say that in his time at university he did photocopy text books himself but that due to Taiwan’s increased wealth this is no longer necessary. If photocopying of books is illegal why then is making illegal copies of software OK?

Often hear the argument that Microsoft products are too expensive. Taiwan (Traditional Chinese) is a relatively small market. Translating and adapting their products from English to Traditional Chinese costs money. Their market is made even smaller by the large amount of illegal copies that are available. Several software companies have already stopped producing translated versions of their products because of rampant piracy in Asia…


#11
quote:
Originally posted by Came_to_dig_Tawulun_gold: Several software companies have already stopped producing translated versions of their products because of rampant piracy in Asia...

EXACTLY! M$ has refused to produce Indonesian versions of any of it’s software because of piracy (Indonesia has a population of more than 200 million). As a result, Linux and FreeBSD are rapidly gaining ground. And of course, nationalism rears it head here. Why use an American product from a BAD American company when you can support a local product and local company?

Note, the latest copy of LINUXER magazine has Mandrake Linux 8.2, CDs 1&2.


#12

As this thread is about schools and software, why can’t the rich technologically superior Taiwanese educators and students simply copy the poor rustic Spanish?

http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,51994,00.html

It would make alot more sense and save alot of money…and reduce all the whining for handouts!


#13

Linux is basically for free and lot’s of applications are available, most of them for free, too.

Piracy is a problem and as I said I wouldn’t want to shell out my money for an upgrade and end up with the same sh… I had before, requiring more RAM, a faster processor and a new harddisk.
Since I use my company’s PC only I dont’ worry too much about that but do not support piracy either.

I honestly give a sh… how much MS needs to pay for a translation, but it has been a rip-off all the way - IMHO.

It’s time people (including schools) realize there are (even cheaper) alternatives to MS!


#14
quote[quote]As a result, Linux and FreeBSD are rapidly gaining ground. And of course, nationalism rears it head here. Why use an American product from a BAD American company when you can support a local product and local company?[/quote]

Watching the tech news, you’ll notice that several European, Asian and South American poloticians have talked about replacing government with Linux. However, this is easier said than done. And most likely it is said to get votes, and as the writer above suggests, to fuel nationalism.

In Taiwan’s case it is simply a PR stunt. Taiwan may go back on the United State’s Section 301 List soon for gross violation of intellectual property rights. As most of you know, starting this last May 1st, Taiwan is supposedly cracking down on companies that sell or use bootleg software (until it’s back to business as usual). Therefore, Taiwan also needs a way to deflect a lot of this negative PR onto a natural scapegoat like Microsoft. And Taiwan wouldn’t have been the first to do it …

China also made these sort of announcements recently. They wanted an operating system that was “Chinese,” “homegrown” by the “Chinese People.” OK, well, excuse me, but the foundations of Linux and the GPL that goes along with it is fundamentally not a Chinese-culture based technology. Again, this is PR hype. When it comes to China actually following the rules of the GPL, then we’ll see China’s true colors.


#15
quote:
Originally posted by Mai Longdong: I 've been dealing with a motherboard manufacturer recently and they claim their new board supports "Linux 8". Huh???
Of course, there is that "American Linux", something red in the name, but here in Taiwan you will of course need a chinese version, which is provided exclusively by Linpus (Bai Ci in Chinese, which could easily be mistaken with the word for idiot...). Of course, the higher the number, the better the product. Look at that american crap at seven something... Tsss... Only bad I can't remember having seen any Linpus version five or earlier, but probably I'm only getting old...
quote:
About a free Chinese office replacement....OpenOffice 1.0 has just been released for Windows, Linux and Solaris:

Yeah... I've been using Staroffice (which it is based on) for quite a number of years - and not without reason...
quote:
So far only the English version has been released but many different language versions (including Chinese) are due to be released soon.

Actually, a few other languages are out too and for Chinese you can still use the last beta (641) which is (at least I was just told so) stable. A few days ago a first pre-alpha for Mac OS was released, so even Apple fans may have some more choice soon...

#16
quote:
Originally posted by Olaf: Of course, there is that "American Linux", something red in the name, but here in Taiwan you will of course need a chinese version, which is provided exclusively by Linpus (Bai Ci in Chinese

Well, you can go over to T-Zone and get a boxed copy of Red Flag Linux from the PRC or the very first Chinese language distro Turbolinux. I would advise against Red Flag however. I downloaded the most recent version and it’s a piece of crap.
As far as the USA’s Red Hat being at 7.3 now…Germany’s Suse stands at 8.0, France’s Mandrake at 8.2, Brazil’s Conectiva at 8.0 (a sweet distro!) and Sweden’s Crux Linux at…0.9.3!


#17

Anyone notice the opinion piece in today’s Taipei Times?

http://taipeitimes.com/news/2002/05/10/story/0000135467

I especially liked this:

“Taiwan’s IT hardware industry has been highly successful, yet we still have to rely on operating systems and office management software provided by foreign software companies.”


#18

As I think.The open source system is a good idea for us.and I think if Linux/FreeBSD GUI can more closer for use and more applications support that M$ system would be loose their users.Because Linus/FreeBSD is free and open but M$ is need to pay and upgrade each times.


#19

Sorry MLD, I forgot to set the irony flag…:wink: I just tried to reflect opinions I’m encountering quite often. Even on Windows there are programs available for free (and I don’t mean a Shareware like ACDSee), but seldom in Chinese. Almost every time I tell someone “You don’t need to use that (illegal) software, there is free software, being even better.” I will know the response in advance: “Is it in Chinese? No? Well then…” Linpus became so “successful” because they made a distribution tailored for the avarage taiwanese Windows user, who can now replace one chinese GUI with another.
The funny thing here is, although Linpus is based on Redhat (afaik), they are using higher version numbers just to look more “advanced” than their “supplier”. And another funny thing: While SuSE and Redhat have been on the Linux market for a while and have started their version numbers somewhere down at “one” (SuSE had a different system in the beginning, don’t know about RedHat), Linpus must have started right with six or something close.
But to return to the Teachers Associations demand: Aren’t teachers expected to be somehow intelligent? This demand looks to me like they were sitting on a road demanding a bakery in the next village should give them free bread because they are hungry - while there are fruits on all trees on both sides of the road…


#20
quote:
Originally posted by jeremy: Watching the tech news, you'll notice that several European, Asian and South American poloticians have talked about replacing government with Linux.

Sounds like an interesting experiment…