Relative: Why does my computer lose my wallpaper and give me a black screen every hour?
Me: Ah, that’s just Vista for you. You have to pay Microsoft to get rid of that.
Relative: Why? Why should I have to pay Microsoft? Why doesn’t it just work?
Me: A.) It’s not Linux, so it won’t “just work” no matter what you do, and B.) You didn’t really expect Microsoft to let you use their computer for free, did you?
Relative: Um, I already paid for it…
Me: Yes, you paid for the computer. But you didn’t pay Microsoft. You have to pay Microsoft before you can use it. You own the computer, they own the software.
Relative: So wait – you have to pay for both the computer and Microsoft?
Me: No, I use Linux. I only have to pay for the computer.
Relative: But if I paid Microsoft, I’d own both the computer, and the software, right?
Me: No, you would own just the computer. Microsoft would still own the software.
Relative: But I could move the software to a new computer if I bought the software, right?
Me: No, that’s not how Microsoft works. You pay them, and you get to use the software on that computer. They still own it – you don’t – and you can’t move it from computer to computer.
Relative: So let me get this straight… I pay Microsoft for software, and they still own it?! What kind of shit is that?
Me: Yep, that’s how proprietary software works. You get to use it, but you can’t own it.
Relative: So how is it that you don’t have to pay Microsoft?
Me: I run Linux.
At this point, it starts to sink in that pirating Windows isn’t doing them any favors. As far as I’m concerned, if you want to use proprietary software, you can pay for it.