In Soviet Russia, software pirates you!

Microsoft et al apparently has a bias toward proud and boastful Eastern bloc pirates: it has tossed a face full of law at a Russian school teacher.

Alexander Ponosov: Miffed.

Officials representing Microsoft filed a suit against Alexander Ponosov a Russian high school teacher for installing pirated copies of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office on twelve school computers.

The software was already installed on the computers when they were bought but Microsoft apparently overlooked this.

Ponosov has his supporters however.

The last leader of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev published an open letter to Bill Gates to drop the charges. Gorbachev said Ponosov along with many other Russian teachers were “… liable to imprisonment in the Siberian camps.”

Microsoft replied saying it was none of its business.

Fast forward to now and the case is closed and the charges dropped. According to CNews the Judge presiding over the case said that the financial damage to Microsoft was insignificant.

As a result the guy gets off scot-free as opposed to the alternative which was imprisonment for five years. Intriguingly Ponosov will appeal the decision.

Now Linux and other open source software is making its way into Russian schools as the preferred choice.

Two weeks ago we reported on a certain Romanian president who thanked Microsoft and Bill Gates for piracy while Gates grinned as he sat alongside the rowdy figure.

Romanians and their anonymous pirate cronies from abroad praised the president’s lubberly words in the APC article’s comments. Although one denied they voted for the bloke.

Without piracy says our favourite pirate president his country would lack a lot of loot. Additionally the pirate lubbers wouldn’t otherwise be privy to their flashy new Microsoft technical support centre.

Who knows in a few years Linux may well see a technical support centre in Russia. Presumably the OSS community won’t get its knickers in a knot over a bit of well-meaning software copying.