I agree with you that using software you did not pay for is a sin and not fit for the life of a disciple. This is also true with movies, and music as well. I bugs me to see that a church has passed out cd's of new music for the church, only to find out they copied a ZOE cd or Jerome Williams cd.
I have used all three OS's and they all have pros and cons. They also tend to loose some in the translation from OpenOffice, to IWork, to Microsoft Office. But there are free options out there that are a much better alternative than stealing.
You can find a lot of Open Source Software from www.sourceforge.net. there have been many times that I have been looking for software for my Treo and went to sourceforge instead of paying $29.99 for the same software.
Yes. I agree about the music, although this is murky in Canada where I come from both to the chagrin of the music/ movie industry and their benefit. Technically you can legally download music from any source here because the industry asked for and got a surcharge on all blank media (CDs/DVDs) which goes back to the industry many years ago. When downloading became an issue the industry took services to court for aiding piracy and the courts threw it back on the industry and said they can't have it both ways by collecting for losses due to downloading and saying you are not being compensated. Right now it is a mess.
I posted this because many people believe that free = bad and they do not know that there are alternatives to paying huge amounts of money or breaking copyright. For example, to produce a PDF document someone might think that need to purchase Adobe Acrobat (full version, not the free player), but you can create such documents directly from OpenOffice, at least in Linux you can. I have several free PDF makers available in Linux and I think that there are a few ones for Windows, too.
I used to spend hundreds of dollars buying software which I no longer have to. That leaves me with more money in my pocket which I can use for other things, including giving. Now all of the software on my computer is FOSS and there is really nothing that I can't do as simply in Linux as in Windows. The only thing that I have to use Windows for is to load my mp3 player which does not have a Linux driver yet (it is a Philips). iPods work fine as do Sans and other players. I am sure that Philips will come around in time.
Most people do not know that many big companies use Linux servers and some of the biggest companies such as eBay, Amazon, IBM and Novell use Linux. Many bulletin boards are on Apache servers using php programs with Linux as the OS. They only see what is on their end which is usually Windows.
I do not wish to dis Windows. It has served me well in the past and it continues to meet most people's needs. Just be aware that it is a big world out there. Lots of choice is good. Community is good, too. This board is a testament to that. Such communities exist online for computer users, too. One of the strengths of Linux is its strong community support. Another is its language support. Internationalization is becoming huge in emerging markets and nations. There are vast user bases in India and China and many use Linux. Linux is big in Europe, too. Gone are the days when we just assumed that everyone used English. People will go where the innovation is.
Competition is good, too. Apple gave us the mouse and icons when Microsoft still had the keyboard and DOS. Certain features built into OS/X Leopard will help Linux and Windows become better operating systems in the future. Microsoft has minimized any effect that Linux has had, but we know that they have reached out to the Linux community through reaching agreements with several companies such as Novell. I for one would not be surprised if the next OS from Microsoft was Linux or based on free BSD like OS/X is. Now Microsoft is even selling SUSE Linux which it has access to through its licensing agreement with Novell and both companies are working toward improved interoperability. The user will be the big beneficiary in all of this.
MS will continue to make buckets of money and Vista will be a success despite its rocky start. Leopard has become bloated like Windows and has some early bugs, but it will be a great success for Apple. Linux is still finding its niche and it will be smaller than either of the other two big OSes for the foreseeable future. The difference is that Apple and Microsoft is a company and Linux is an idea. That is what Microsoft fears the most. You cannot buy Linux because it is not for sale.
The Green party of Canada has just come out to endorse FOSS. It is eco-friendly because it is small, free and available to all. It is a collaborative effort in which everybody has input into making it better. Linux plays its role by breathing new life into old computers. You can run Linux from a floppy, CD, DVD, or usb key. So it will run on just about any hardware. It is also very leading edge for those who want to be on the forefront. When you are being told that you have to upgrade your hardware, you can just change the OS. In contrast to this is the mentality that you are constantly being pushed to larger hard drives, faster equipment and new equipment because the old drivers will not work. This is to say nothing about the cost savings involved.
Pardon my zeal and tree hugging rant, but I think that we can do a lot better if we only know all of the options. We do not have to be sheep (or extreme cases lemmings) when it comes to computers.