Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Weebit asks... "What is the total cost of all the software on your computer to date?"

Why? Because we the computer users, are accused of being cheap, free loathing SOB's that would rather steal, or install free software. So the idea I have is to prove them wrong, or right.
I will start by saying my computer cost me $1500 in 2003. It came with purchased software installed. Microsoft Works, and a $79.00 security suite. I do not remember how much I paid for the Works software.
Since then I have bought 2 graphics software totaling about $150.00 two more security software, one was $50.00 and another was $39.00. I bought 4 games totaling about $100.00 plus cd burning software that cost $59.00. I had to purchase this twice, the first time I purchased this the software cost $29.00 or so, the software didn't work, so I ended up purchasing the $59.00 CD burning software.
My Grand total is $506.00 for software running on a computer that is four years old now, and considered low end, the cost about $250-$300 by todays standards for a computer.

I am
applauded at this because I know people that have spent twice and three times as much for the software on their computer. There is nothing as bad as being called cheap, or a free loather, or a thief. Yes someone could argue that this spans over four years. But consider this also. Some of my software I have currently will expire at the end of this year. Thus ends my critical updates etc, for the software. So back to the drawing board I go.

One stance on this is we shouldn't be forced to purchase software for a computer that is not worth the install. Yes you could argue that you should just purchase a new computer. Well, you don't purchase a new home every three years, or neither do you replace a stereo, DVD player, TV, or stove every two to three years. So why should a computer be any different?

Many could also argue that it is a computer so therefore you know you have to update it, and purchase those new licenses. Well, your car has a computer, so how come we don't have to run to the car shop to update that computer twice a year at least, and purchase a new license to operate it once every two years?

Yes that is ludicrous. Could you imagine for a moment going down the freeway at 65mph and all of the sudden you see a warning light on your dash that says, "update now to continue."

So the software industry said "that it is critical to install updates, and to upgrade your software for security reasons". I wont argue with this. Because it's true. But if I have already bought a license then I should at least be able to upgrade at a substantial lower price. I don't mean a 10% discount either. It's not like they change ALL the code in this software. Yes they do occasionally change out the design, the layout, and for security purposes they fix the holes. But isn't this more of a programmer's problem for not making the software more user friendly, and secure in the first place? Is it ethical to put the cost on the consumer just because the programmer(s) screwed up?

Another argument is that personal computers, and business computers are not the same as any other type electronics that you may have. Well it plugs into the wall, and it comes in different flavors just like any type of electronic equipment that you may have. So much for that argument.

In my home, I do not have any other type item that has cost as much as my computer has to upkeep. No
electronic equipment, or appliance has cost as much as my computer has.

My main concern here is the fact that I don't think vendors understand that they are not the only vendors making a buck for their software. The whole picture can be devastating for a family if they are continuously purchasing updates, and licenses. This can add up, so if anything happens within the next ten years it will be the decline of users purchasing computers because they can't afford to upkeep them. Hopefully now you can see why people run for the free or Open Source software when ever they can.

As always I am sure there are many arguments to this story. But, how much have you paid so far for software for the lifetime use of your computer? How much did your computer cost? What is the age of your computer?

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