In one case, a BSA raid on musical-instrument maker Ernie Ball Inc. cost the company $90,000 in a settlement. Soon after, Microsoft sent other businesses in his region a flyer offering discounts on software licenses, along with a reminder not to wind up like Ernie Ball.
Enraged, CEO Sterling Ball vowed never to use Microsoft software again, even if "we have to buy 10,000 abacuses." He shifted to open-source software, which lacks such legal entanglements because its underlying code is freely distributed.
This is why I have never had a problem with the BSA -- they're doing what the law allows them to do. Don't get angry at them -- they're just a symptom to a much great underlying problem (proprietary software).
It's actually a good thing that happened to Ernie Ball -- open-source software now has a lifelong buddy. ^_^
For many businesses, open-source has seemed technically daunting or unable to match the proprietary programs seen as essential in some industries. These days, however, the march of technology might be changing that.
That's one hope of Michael Gaertner, the architect who worried his BSA encounter would crush his business. Now he wants to rid himself of the Autodesk, Microsoft and Adobe software involved in the case.
"It's not like they have really good software. It's just that it's widespread and it's commonly used," Gaertner said. "It's going to be a while, but eventually, we plan to get completely disengaged from those software vendors that participate in the BSA."
Exactly right. You don't need proprietary software -- open-source software has alternatives for nearly everything.