About 1990 I was the member of a pirate software club which met monthly near where I lived.
Imagine a large public hall with lines of tables running down the length of it, and electrical cords snaking their way across the floor and along the tables.
Add to that picture more than 600 computers set up on the tables, plugged into those snaking electrical cords, and all working.
There were laptops, desktops, towers, SVGA screens, CGA screens, green screens, orange screens everything from XTs to 486s (who would ever need the power of a 486DX-66?).
Beside each computer was a disk box or boxes filled with software (hard disks were generally 80MB to 120MB those days, with many 40MB or less). An operator sat in front of many of those computers.
People would wander around, flicking through the titles on the disks in the boxes (if the owner was there), looking through directories on hard drives with XTree Gold or similar. The wanderer would often ask questions: Whats this program like?, Any good games?, Im looking for such-and-such a program.
If there was something that the wanderer wanted, blank floppies would be produced and the program copied. I remember one meeting where the big thing was to get a copy of the MS-DOS 5 beta to replace the horrid MS-DOS 4.01 we were using those days.
The only real limitation on your copying was the
number of floppy disks you could afford!
All this time the hall was humming with the chatter of a thousand voices while swaps were made and stories told and re-told. It was exciting to be among the 'action', hearing the latest gossip and checking out the new software releases.
When the wanderer had filled his floppies, wanted to look at his new acquisitions, or just wanted to sit down and have a cup of coffee, he or she (yes, there were plenty of women and children there too) would return to their computer and others would wander over.
Often programs just acquired would be copied for other people before they were tested, loaded, or even had an anti-virus check done on them! Not all the wanderers had a computer setup in the hall, but it was considered bad manners if you were there just to take and not to give.
The only real limitation on your copying was the number of floppy disks you could afford!
It didn't take me long to build a huge collection of top quality commercial programs and soon I had one of the better places to stop for a look. With my hard drive holding only 80MB, I had quite a few diskboxes full of every imaginable program 95 percent of which I would never use.
I became a software collector.
I finally stopped going to that club (the software industry started prosecuting pirates and I was worried about it being raided) and sometime later embraced the Christian faith, becoming convinced that it was wrong to have these pirated programs. I then destroyed my collection. The newer disks I just erased, the older ones (mainly 360kB and 720kB floppies) I burnt. It was a big fire!
After the destruction of my collection I was left with legal copies of MS-DOS 5, Windows 3.1 and a horrible word processor my daughter had won at school. Some collection!!!
I honestly believe that if I hadn't given up my pirated software
when I did then none of these doors would have opened for me
And then things started to happen. A friend from my dim dark past when I was a magazine editor turned up on my front door with a bag literally overflowing with commercial software. He is a journalist in the computer field and the offerings were from software he had reviewed (he was using Windows 95, I was still stuck on Windows 3.1).
Being interested in computers, but having a limited budget, I started to check out the cover disks on computer magazines, getting many freeware applications from them. A modem gave me access to the local BBSs and, again, more freeware. When I went on to the Internet I suddenly had offered more freeware than I could imagine!
The CFS site was born out of that desire to collect good quality free software and to get away from the frustration of downloading so-called free programs to find that they were really shareware. I was back collecting software but this time I insisted on it being legal as well as free.
For a time I returned to freelance journalism and wrote software reviews for a major Australian newspaper. This provided me with not just an additional income, but also some excellent commercial software which has been helpful for web authoring. Many of these programs have no real equivalent amongst the ranks of freeware and are outside my budget (eating is still necessary!).
I honestly believe that if I hadn't given up my pirated software when I did then none of these doors would have opened for me and I would not be receiving the benefits I am now. It was a matter of obedience.
Jesus once said: If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love. The Bible says: The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground... Guess that includes software too!
Authors who sell their programs should not
have them stolen by otherwise honest folk
The benefits I have received have not stopped at software. I purchased a 530MB hard disk a couple of years ago when they were all that was needed but finances have been hard since and I have been unable to replace it with a larger one. Of course, 530MB is much too small specially for my current collection of freeware and my prosperity has included being given three more hard drives, two 600MB and another 530MB all for nothing! I was also offered a free CD-ROM drive but, as it had to be connected to one of the four IDE ports, I had to go back to using my old 2x one which connects to the sound card. One day I will get a 4GB hard drive and will then be able to free up an IDE port so I can get a faster CD-ROM. I will also purchase another 64MB of RAM.
[Note: this was written in 1997 and does not reflect my current computer configuration. Since I wrote that I have had an amazing run of various co-incidences (unexpected inheritence, etc) which have kept my computers now plural very much technically up-to-date.]
When I first started on the Internet (in 1996) I had an aging 14.4k modem which finally died and put me off-line. A friend who works at a PC hardware distribution company got me 33.6k voice/data/fax modem to keep me going, saying that I could have it for the wholesale price and that the invoice would follow. I am still waiting for the invoice...
So that is the reason for the Completely FREE Software site, and the reason why it only has completely free and legal software.
No free downloads with the dont worry, it doesn't have a nag screen and it doesnt stop working after a certain time attitude we find so prevalent on many sites. Authors who sell their programs should not have them stolen by otherwise honest folk.
If you are interested in learning more about why I gave up pirated software and what the Christian faith can do for you, then please e-mail me now. You might also want to click on the key below. The life you save will be your own!