A connection has been found between the software piracy and the adoption of Linux systems, according to a study published at the University of Oslo.
Some studies only reveal stuff that is way too obvious or that seems to be related to common sense. For example, this latest study titled “Software Piracy and Linux Adoption” published at the University of Oslo, by Arne Rogde Gramstad, shows that there might be a connection between software piracy and the rate of adoption for Linux systems.
This kind of information now seems obvious in retrospect, but this is why we have proper studies made so that we base our common sense decision on hard data. Granted, it will take more than just one study to show that the connection is real.
Take the example of the film and music industry. No matter how many studies reveal that the piracy actual has a beneficial effect, they will refuse to hear it. In the case of the “Software Piracy and Linux Adoption” study, the same thing will probably happen.
Software Piracy and Linux Adoption
To account for the Windows piracy numbers, the researchers used the data from BSA ((Business Software Alliance) from 2012 and from 104 countries. Depending on the country and on the level of development, the rate of piracy varies between 40% and 90%.
The researcher has found three possible reasons why pirating the Windows operating system may deter the adoption of Linux (in any form).
1. Illegal copies of Windows are cheap and almost perfect substitutes to the original;
2. Competition from piracy is likely to cause lower prices of legal copies of Windows;
3. Adoption of operating systems are associated with network externalities, and piracy of Windows may therefore cause increasing differences in the benefit of using Windows compared to Linux.
The research paper puts the overall Linux adoption at about 2% (for the desktop flavor), but we have to say that it’s an optimistic number. A safer bet would be somewhere between 1 and 2%.
The conclusion of the study, which can be read in its entirety on the Social Science Research Network website, is a country’s piracy rate by 1% is expected to reduce the Linux user share by 0.5-0.65%. In other words, in a world without software piracy, the Linux adoption rate should be somewhere between 20 and 40%.