The Agnostic Pirates of the Seven Seas

One of the strengths of the English language is one can speak very poorly but still be understood. Another is the ease at which words are created or existing words have their meaning changed.

Arrrr! I’ll make copies of yer cargo!

For example, software piracy. Piracy is “robbery on the high seas”. Not too many pirates in history made copies of their ill-gotten booty. The correct term is software theft.  A privateer was a semi-legitimate pirate.  They received a letter of marque that allowed them to plunder ships of other nations without fear of prosecution from their home country (the other nations are a different story).  So are software pirates in countries that do not pursue them (maybe even encourage them) really software privateers?Another term is solutions that are technologically agnostic. Agnostic means to doubt in the existence of God; to not commit one way or the other if God exists. Does that mean your technical solution doubts in the existence of technology? The correct term is technologically neutral.

Of course, this begs the question, what if one pirates technologically agnostic software. Are you an agnostic pirate – do you doubt you stole it?

Many words change over time, but it used to take a lot longer. With the age of instant communications, one not only must keep up with changes in technology tools, but changes in language.  Will dialects develop where the meaning of words depend upon when you learned them? The rapid fluidity of meaning will be an interesting phenomenon to watch.

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