Movie pirate ordered to switch to Windows

Ex-software pirate Scott McCausland faces abandoning Ubuntu in favour of Windows

In another victory for the Motion Picture Industry of America, a former movie pirate is being forced to switch from the Linux OS to Windows.

Scott McCausland, who pleaded guilty in September 2006 to the crime of uploading Star Wars: Episode III to the site, was charged with "conspiracy to commit copyright infringement" and "criminal copyright infringement" by the FBI. The charge, which is displayed before all US movie showings, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Pirate can't use Linux

McCausland spent just five months in prison and is currently serving the rest of his term on probation. And while McCausland is pleased to have his freedom back, when his probation officer told him he would have to switch operating systems on his PC, he was taken aback.

"I had a meeting with my probation officer today and he told me that he has to install monitoring software onto my PC. No big deal to me; that is part of my sentence," McCausland explained on his blog. "However, their software doesn't support GNU/Linux (which is what I use). So, he told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on."

The monitoring software is only available for Microsoft Windows and neither Linux or Mac OS X would be an acceptable platform.

Switching to Windows

McCausland explained that he is not a Linux advocate and has no problem switching platforms. That said, he is not sure why the government can force him to switch operating systems, and according to McCausland, his attorney agrees.

McCausland was a site admin on the Elitetorrents site and uploaded the Star Wars movie six hours before it was shown in theaters. Upon its release on Elitetorrents, the movie was downloaded more than 10,000 times in 24 hours.