Microsoft seems to be turning a blind eye to cloning of Windows In Ghana since I have not heard of legal action against anyone in Ghana for cloning windows. In fact I emailed Microsoft's office in Nigeria (which also covers Ghana) , mentioned I ran a small internet cafe in Ghana & offered to arrest anyone who walked into the cafe with a laptop having cloned windows; I got a muted response.

In countries such as Indonesia they take a much more pro-active response against the breach of copy-write/theft whatever you want to call the cloning of Windows.

Its a known fact that police used to actually raid internet cafe to check the computers to see if they had genuine or cloned versions of Windows, with possible imprisonment for perpetrators of cloning. This action lead to a large uptake of Zenwalk's Zencafe linux distro.

Herein lies the problem for Microsoft, if they are not careful they will turn people to Linux. I guess they can retain more brand loyalty by turning a blind eye to cloning rather than getting heavy handed. It has even been suggested that it is their deliberate policy to turn a blind eye for sum time ,to allow those using cloned version to get them hooked to the system .They can later turn the screw though litigation to get revenue.

It has been reported that the influx of XO laptops from (O.L.P.C) the One Laptop per Child programme did not go unnoticed by Microsoft and caused some concern for them. They realised that children who previously had no experience of any Operating system if given an XO using sugar interface on a Fedora core Linux base could result in long term familiarity and loyalty for Linux.

Personally I find the situation where my observations are that over 90% of computers seem to have cloned version of windows a bit of a paradox. On the one hand Ghanaians seem to take theft and crime very seriously .

I not so long ago witnessed how Ghanaian's deal with physical theft; a youth of 15 stole food from our restaurant and got a serious beating. My English mentality kicked in at the point where the youth was started to be hit over the head with a kitchen, thick wood chopping board; at that point I stood in between the thief and the perpetrator of the punishment. Lets say I was relived when the police arrived and took over. I then heard more whacks on the thief by the police !

So I find it hard to understand how so many people can breach the copy-write by cloning windows, Microsoft never gave permission for copying so it is theft. With cloning because Microsoft is tightening up , if you try to get updates it first checks to see if the Windows is genuine, to cut a long story short you will not get security updates meaning that a cloned version is not working 100% and is open to security breaches, your data on the hard drive is nit secure, so an operating system consisting of cloned windows is a less then satisfactory solution .

Are there other problems for Ghana as a whole in people using cloned windows ?
How about schools or institutions using cloned windows; how could you ask American volunteers to come and help in the advancement of ICT if you have stolen from an American owned company ? In other words in how many ways is the widespread use of cloning blocking the progress of I.C.T in Ghana.

Its more perplexing when you realise that there is an alternative operating system in the main totally free and in some cases can be purchased for a small donation called Linux.

The system if installed is 100% genuine and updates or specific packages can be downloaded as required. Linux Distros such as Zenwalk based on Slackware are user friendly and have alternative applications that do everything windows can do.

For instance Open office Writer is equivalent to Microsoft word and is a very competent word processor, you can even save documents with a .doc extension say onto a pen drive, so that the document can be opened with Windows if so required. Gimp is a sophisticated photo editing application that comes as standard with Zenwalk and is equivalent to photoshop.

Let me end by saying that as an Englishman I talk very direct, but listen to this- there are problems in Ghana. To fix a problem you must face up and correctly identify a problem before you can fix it.

I wouldn't want to offend anyone by what I writing here ,I would much prefer people to face what I saying is true because nothing written here is second hand, its only from my experience. What I would like Ghanaians to do is to be open to perfectly viable alternatives.

I guess the real question is what's stopping people up taking Linux and what can be done to help promote Linux. Only Ghanaians can answer this question, for my part I in discussion with Ghanaians in Accra to set up a L.U.G ( Linux user group) to help with the installation of Linux and support