Kenya gets jiggy on pirated software

You'd think that that Kenya would be one of the last countries in the world to get shirty about pirated software, but it seems that the Kenya Copyright Board - the organisation charged with seeking out and eradicating illegal software in Kenya - has started baring its teeth.

Reports from Africa suggest that the board set a deadline of October 30th for individuals and companies to legalise their pirated software, since when the board has been getting stroppy with cyber-cafes.

Cyber-cafes are immensely popular in Nairobi, it seems, and competition is so fierce that hourly usage rates are reportedly falling through the floor.

Predictably, this means that many of the PCs in the cafes aren't equipped with legal software.

Last week the board is said to have raided several cybercafes and confiscated around 50 computers suspected of running pirated copies of Office 2003 edition.

During the raids, officials says they also impounded copes of Windows 2000 and a counterfeit Microsoft Office 2003 installation disk.

Cyber-cafe owners are said to be up in arms over the way in which Microsoft is trying to legalise the software running on cafe PCs.

Instead of licensing Windows 2000-based PCs, Microsoft is insisting the the cafes move on up to Windows XP - which is more expensive than Windows 2000 - before a license can be offered.

The good news, however, is that Microsoft may well have shot itself in the foot over its handling of the raids, as several cafe owners are reportedly so miffed about being forced to upgrade to Windows XP that they are migrating to Linux-based open source systems.

Not only are these systems better for punters to use, but the software and allied operating system is free of charge. This allows cafe owners to cut their hourly rates.

Cyber-cafe owners 1, Microsoft 0...