That's how I feel today. Months ago, I registered for Imagine Cup. I just thought it was yet another software contest. The front page talked about "valuable downloads". I didn't imagine that meant getting:
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
- Microsoft Vista Business Edition
- Microsoft Office 2007 Standard
May be you are skeptical; Asking me 'Where's the catch?'. It seems there's none. May be they believe they can get a few of us buy future versions of Microsoft software by this. May be they don't want us to surrender to the Linux World Domination efforts. Whatever! I don't actually give a damn what the reason is. Look, I've got a Genuine copy of XP! The validation check actually tells me 'Ok, you're doing fine'... Wow! Did I tell you this feels great? :)
Ok, now, back to reality.. To get a workable system, I need a lot more than just an OS. I decided not to use pirated software anywhere. This can get tough. It means not installing a cracked copy of Zone Alarm Pro or AVG Internet Suite; using AVG free edition and Sygate Personal firewall instead (hoping that they haven't made it too much of a crippleware). It means not getting a keygen for Getright and instead using Free Download Manager. But, let me tell you, it feels wonderful. And I'll bear with anything for this peace of mind...
So now, thanks a lot to Microsoft and all the other software developers who have spent countless hours of work and perhaps sleepless nights in making great software, and then have given it away for free to the public. Whether this was a business tactic or a genuine Good Samaritan-ness, this will be a great service to the public, and thou shalt be rewarded for it. Wish you good luck (do remember me when your lottery ticket wins $76000000 :).