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If a friend ask you: "What is the benefit of using original copy of Windows 7?" (He doesn't care about the law, moral, and so on)

What's the best way to answer that? Is there any significant benefit, especially for software developer?

I never use original copy of Windows 7 (I'm still using RC) so I can't answer.

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and you're wondering whether to follow him to the Dark Side? – pavium Dec 9 '09 at 9:38
@pavium was trying to convince a client to use original copy :) – pistaloper Feb 7 '11 at 10:50
up vote 13 down vote accepted

You are not breaking the law...

You are guaranteed an original copy and no backdoors that may be present in illegal copies. (Not saying all have it).

Apart from that, there isn't really anything technical...

Direct from Microsoft-

Why you should care that your computer is running genuine Windows

In today’s world, you rely on your computer to work for you and to run your business. You store thousands of photos, music collections, and important documents; you make purchases, enter personal information, and search the Web. Imagine what it would be like to lose all your favorite family photos, or have your financial data stolen as a result of malicious or unwanted software running on your computer. Market research firm IDC reported in a recent study (English only) that obtaining and using pirated software can pose a serious security threat to organizations and individuals. Often, counterfeit software is bundled with malicious and unwanted software that can lead to a corrupted system, a loss of data, and even identity theft. The risk of running counterfeit software is real. Windows is the operating system and the brain behind everything you do on your computer; you can help protect your data by installing only genuine Windows.

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You mean he can ignore the gnawing guilt?

How about the constant worry that MS could detect and disable his OS at any time?
Just because they haven't in the past doesn't mean they won't do it in the future, and while it would most likely rely on windows update, turning that off is a whole other bad idea, especially when you're talking about never updating an RTM copy, which will have bugs and security vulnerabilities.

If he REALLY won't pay for the most important piece of software on his PC, point him towards Ubuntu.

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I suppose you mean the RTM version with "original copy"?
The biggest benefit is that is won't expire somewhere beginning 2010 (as opposed to the RC version).

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Is your friend happy to do online banking or, to a lesser extent, purchases (lower risk because of credit card guarantees) using an OS he can't trust? Since the OS is the lowest level that the user chooses, and it has a privileged position to all his data, I'd think very carefully if it was me.

(Open source is different, there's an assumption that backdoors will quickly get spotted by others working on the same source code).

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With open source development, you typically need to earn some credibility before you're given "commit" access to the source code repository for the major projects. – Chris W. Rea Dec 9 '09 at 13:20
Still possible for somebody to rise up the ranks for the purposes of sabotage, though! – Phoshi Dec 9 '09 at 13:22
@Poshi, not really.. its more likely you would run a trojan on Windows, than a compromised unix os... – Jakub Dec 9 '09 at 13:48
I know that, I'm just saying the infrastructure doesn't stop people from introducing back doors, it just makes it incredibly difficult. Trusting your OS completely to protect you from threats is a fool's decision. – Phoshi Dec 9 '09 at 16:28

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