Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unlicensed Software in Government offices?

I wonder how many government offices and organizations use only licensed software, and nothing else? There is not much data available on this, but when I put this question to a few IT managers in government, they sounded evasive. And when I asked some vendors, who supply hardware and software, or those systems integrators who implement end-to-end projects, the clear answer was that there are lots of illegal software in use in the government.

The reasons might be many, but if the government itself is using unlicensed software, either knowingly or unknowingly, there is not much it will be able to do to stop others. Therefore, it is a serious matter, and must be addressed immediately.
First and foremost, there should be no difference of opinion on whether using pirated software is a crime or not. If organizational heads and CIO’s are yet to convey in no uncertain terms that software piracy is a crime, they must do so immediately. There should be organization-wide campaigns to make people aware of what is pirated software, and why it should not be used. There should be clear guidelines on what is legal and what is not, and preferably, penalties for acquiring illegal software. Of course, for those who resort to this for reasons of cost, recommended options of freeware, and open source will be a big help.

Quite a few crusaders of licensed software, especially those representing the software companies, are now realizing and accepting that promotion of licensed software in Kenya needs motivation rather than coercion and force. Therefore, they are ready and open to suggestions and feedback for working about mutually win-win solutions. Government, being one of the biggest IT users in the country, must actively put its act together on this front and initiate a dialogue with software vendors. I am sure users in the Government can work out some very clear benefits that they except from licensed software, and share that with vendors. As far as my understanding goes, software companies are today ready to consider many of the demands they would have ignored earlier.

It is very important that software piracy should be considered a serious offence at the government level. This will send a strong message across the nation, and Kenya will be seen as a safe place for intellectual property. Secondly, and more important, in the coming years there are going to be lots of IP that Kenyan companies will develop. And if they will have to be protected and valued in Kenya, government or the law enforcer have to take the first step. And then it will not be the MNCs but the Kenyan entrepreneurs and Kenyan economy that will lose.


1 comment:

  1. Ну и почему бы тебе не сделать ливневую канализацию ? почему ты предпочитаешь постоянно утопать, и потом на блоге жаловаться остальным?