On License Keys

I’ve been having a second go at installing Quickbooks today. I attempted it last weekend but it failed to install correctly. It appears the key I used for the upgrade from Quickbooks 2002 to 2004 doesn’t actually work. It installed fine, but wouldn’t run. I’ve since verified the correct key (we have a 5 user license) and have attempted
to fix it today. To fix the problem, I apparently have to uninstall the whole thing and start again with an install of Quickbooks 2002. This is crap.

I’ve never been a fan of license keys. I think they place an unfair burden on the people who do actually buy your software. Cracks will inevitably be developed by those who are adamant they don’t want to pay for your software, so you’re not losing any money from
them. They add complexity to the software, which gives it more opportunities to not work. That’s my problem right now. Because of the stupid license key system, it’s taken me approximately 3 hours so far to try install a piece of software that I’ve paid for. I can’t use it yet. If I’d downloaded a cracked copy, or some license keys off the
internet, I wouldn’t be having this problem. The purveyors of this software have created a marketplace where it is more convenient to bypass their poorly implemented copy  prevention scheme than to be a legitimate user of the software.

This is broken. I’m not even going to go into the incredibly frustrating and
stupid idea of having to call someone up on the phone to ‘register’ the software. People will infringe on your copyright. By all means sue them for doing so. Don’t penalise your paying customers in the name of stopping copyright infringers.

If there was actually a competative product in this space (I think MYOB is worse) then I would move right now. In fact, given that we have to submit our taxes every year, and that’s what I use this software to help me do, I think the government should find an Open Source product, maybe Gnucash, that is attempting to compete with it and throw it some
cash in the name of providing an Open standards baseline that everyone can use for free. Let the companies compete on value added features like better, slicker reports or integration into other, proprietary systems.

I also think the Government should release the yearly tax tables for free in a open format since that’s the only thing driving a yearly upgrade as far as I can tell. They’re giving these companies a license to print money by way of forced upgrades because they keep making the tax laws ever more complex and impenetrable. We pay them to change these laws every year, so we should be entitled to an electronic copy of the rebates, discounts and everything else that goes into these
yearly upgrades to Quickbooks, MYOB and whatever else.

Bring on the Open Source Quickbooks killer, I say. Then I can spend less time futzing around with stupid software keys and more time building my business.


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