A 'genuine' question about software

A 'genuine' question about software

I like my cricket and watched my fair share during the summer. The ups and downs of the games aside, I was reminded the other day of a statement one of the commentators came out with.

“That was a genuine half volley,” he remarked.

I remember thinking at the time that this was an odd comment. Not the half volley bit – which essentially is a shot that’s hit immediately after the ball bounces – but rather the description of it as ‘genuine’ ... as opposed to what? A fake half volley? A slightly disguised one?

In fact, the word ‘genuine’ pops up all over the place. In music, Genuine is the debut album of Stacie Orrico. Genuine is a 1920 silent horror film. There’s the Genuine Parts Company, a Fortune 1000 business that was founded in 1928 and supplies car parts, and Genuine Scooters, a Chicago-based scooter manufacturer.

Or how about Genuine Games, a video game company founded in 1998 that specialises in what it terms gender inclusive video gaming development – which I guess means making video gaming more appealing to women.

There’s genuine leather; something can be a genuine antique; and you can offer someone genuine sympathy.

Lately, however, everywhere I look I keep seeing the word used in relation to Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7 … sorry, that should be Genuine Windows 7.

I’ve always thought of the use of the word a little odd at the best of times. Leather’s either leather, or it isn’t leather. To describe it as ‘genuine’ seems a bit redundant. What does genuine mean exactly? Well, “actually possessing the alleged or apparent attribute or character” as puts it. In other words it means real.

So, why the need to describe software as genuine? In reality, an unlicensed copy of Windows 7 is perfectly real. It will have same functionality as a licensed copy. Nevertheless, Microsoft began doing this a couple of years back with its ‘Genuine Software Initiative’. Yet, in reality, the problem isn’t so much that you’re not getting the real thing, simply that the transaction is not legal.

And therein lies the biggest trouble I have with the use of the word. Why should reputable vendors be describing something as genuine? To walk into Dick Smith Electronics and see the word ‘genuine’ on a product is absurd. I should bloody well hope that the software – or any other product for that matter – is genuine. Does it mean if I go next door to Noel Leeming I run the risk of purchasing something that’s not genuine?

I would be genuinely surprised!

Of course, should I nip up to Thailand and surreptitiously acquire a few disks, then I expect it to be a knock-off – even though they will probably have the word genuine stamped all over it (’cos I’m guessing the bad guys won’t delete it).

Then again, getting nabbed with pirated software could simply be a genuine mistake …

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