I’ve been asked numerous times about how to obtain Operating System (OS) software for free. Here’s how:
Be forewarned, we are treading on morally and/or legally questionable ground here and taking advantage of this particular technology has the propensity to infect your machine with all kinds of ugly little beasts if you’re not careful.
In a classic application of the “Good News/Bad News” cliche, let’s explore…
The Good News
You’ll be able to download, install and enjoy almost any software, movie, music or other digital property for free. With few exceptions, I’ve found every application I could ever use, for Windows and Macintosh, and thousands upon thousands of movie titles, music albums, audio books, photographs, etc.
The good news is easy, next;
The Bad News
The nature of this type of technology is questionable. Many, namely the major movie studios, record companies and software distributors, consider it illegal.
The technology is peer-to-peer (P2P) and started with applications like Napster, Kazaa, Morpheus and Limewire. Bittorrent is considered the 3rd generation of P2P and is not only more efficient, but also more elusive from a legal standpoint.
Without getting into too much detail, when you install a bittorrent client, like Vuze, you enable the bittorrent protocol which allows you to download very large files from multiple sources simultaneously. The source of those files do not reside on a server, which would be copyright infringement, but rather on a network consisting of millions of personal computers.
When you initiate a download of a particular file, the protocol searches through the network of computers, locates the file, then downloads the file a small piece at a time from each computer in the network and reassembles them in order after the download has completed. The ambiguous nature of the download presents a challenge, legally, and while there are efforts to close this gap in the law, as of this writing nothing with teeth has come about.
(Please also keep in mind that much of the software downloaded requires serial numbers and activation. Very often the tools required to activate the software are provided with the files. Serial numbers and activation codes can be generated by programs called “Keygens” and files or programs called “Cracks” are also used to make the software fully functional.)
On the face it would seem obvious that downloading a movie you didn’t buy is wrong. But what about software and movies that you have purchased?
There was a time when Microsoft included full-install disks when you bought a computer with Windows installed. With Windows 95 you could install that OS on as many machines as you wanted. As greed and time progressed, less features were offered by the software behemoth, and now if you’re hard drive fails and you only want to replace that, you conceivably are forced to purchase another OS disk from Microsoft.
So the morality of P2P is subjective, and many industry techies not only endorse using it, many use it themselves.
Virus, Trojans, Questionable Material
The last caveat is the sites where torrents are available. They are often cluttered with ads for pornography and a good percentage of the files themselves are either infected with little nasties or are fake downloads to begin with.
Should you decide to try this out, Demonoid is the safest place to do it. In the beginning you could only register on Fridays, but this seems to have loosened up a bit. Demonoid does not allow pornography, nor does it advertise pornographic sites or products. One really great feature about Demonoid is the comments sections.
Before you embark on a torrent download, read the comments section to see if it works, and whether or not there are any virus’ or trojans associated with the files.
Pirate Bay, Isohunt, Btjunkie
Pirate Bay has a rich history of scoffing at legal threats from the largest corporations in the world. Go HERE to read through the letters and responses, very funny stuff. Pirate Bay has lost some of it’s luster since the original owners sold the company to a Swedish software firm, but at least you don’t have to pay for the service.
Isohunt, Btjunkie and hundreds of other tracker sites is where you’re exposed to porno ads and a higher probability of infecting your machine with above mentioned nasties. To add insult to injury, many of these sites want you to buy a subscription so that essentially you are paying for what they got for free.
If I bought a computer with Windows installed on it and something happened that required I reinstall the Operating System, I am not given the proper tools to correct the problem. As we Windows users are well aware, updates, patches and security fixes are a regular part of our computing experience. It is also well known that the Windows OS gets messed up after regular use.
Since Microsoft admits, by insisting on constant updates, that their product is flawed, why do they not include a full install disk with your purchase?
The simple answer is that they don’t have to, because they monopolize the market. They force us to either re-purchase the OS or seek other means to obtain it. Installing Vuze and downloading the OS from Demonoid is one other way to obtain it.