Letters to the editor

Re: Maritime provinces awash with software piracy (Oct. 16)

I found your article on CAAST and software piracy to be quite interesting. I would have liked to see a poll or more focused

investigating on why people and organizations pirate software. I think the unnamed gentleman was exactly right when he stated that cost was the prime factor. Software is too expensive. What small company or individual is able to spend or justify spending $600 on MS Office when all they want is a widely accepted word processor? The computer manufacturers and software writers keep changing their products so the $600 invested on Office now will not work well with the hardware/software platforms to come over the next 24 months. Software companies’ marketing muscle allows them to do what they want and consumers rebel by doing what they think is fair — taking what they can get. Many people see software as Microsoft and feel that the company and its principals are wealthy enough. They are, aren’t they?

I think piracy tends to be more common in more remote areas because salaries are lower, there is less competition among vendors so prices stay high and people in tight financial circumstances resent the high cost of a CD, fancy packaging and a few bits of paper. There is no penalty except a vague sense of guilt for depriving a faceless corporation of some profit. The near invisibility of “”the software police”” allows people to see piracy as victimless . . . and really who are the victims?

I believe that students, particularly students of information technology, learn piracy in college. They must copy and trade software because they cannot afford to purchase it or prefer to spend their money elsewhere. The graduates take these attitudes and habits out into the workplace.

Geoff Kearley

Re: Police investigation stalls Toronto leasing inquiry (Oct. 8)

While I empathize (to a degree) with the city, its problems could have been avoided if they had applied some discipline to defining their requirements up front.

It is a fact that up to 84 per cent of IT projects fail or are severely challenged due to poor requirements definition. People can only shake their heads and wonder why business and IT management continue to place little emphasis on identifying the ‘What’ of the requirement (identifying accurate, complete business specifications) before making decisions with disastrous consequences.

In the city’s case, it is apparent that it allowed the vendors to steward its business decisions. Because the city was unable to identify its business requirements in a manner that put them in control, it is now just another statistic for poor requirements analysis, judgement and execution.

When proven methods of requirements analysis exist in the marketplace, situations experienced by the City of Toronto should not happen. If I was a taxpayer I’d be really incensed!

Bill Haughton
Senior partner, corporate client services
PowerPlus Systems Corp.

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