You were probably wondering what happened to Bloggy, or Bloggie, the shared help column we advertised here recently.
We were just waiting for you to write. And finally, in the comments thread, a reader known as t-bone did.
"I keep getting email offers for cheap, I mean cheap software. It's always listed as OEM and if you did into the web sites, you find out that it's from some foreign country, usually Eastern Europe. Is this stuff legal?"
"My one word answer would be 'no,'" Paul said.
"So software sourced from other countries isn't legal?" I asked. "That's interesting. Because GPL software is legal no matter where it's sourced from, assuming it's GPL." Of course, if it were GPL it would be free.
"Oh sure, but I think he's only talking about 'cheap OEM software' -meaning the proprietory Microsoft and Adobe stuff we all get daily SPAM asking us to buy for cheap," Paul responded
Exactly, says Bloggie.
The general rule is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The TANSTAAFL rule still applies. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Even free GPL code carries with it an obligation, to share your enhancements. Shareware expects you to buy it eventually, if it's useful. Only the variants of the BSD license really give you something for nothing, and then the something is mainly given to big outfits who can afford to make (and market) enhancements to the open source codebases they use.
So buy your software, somehow, some way. Bloggie says.