"Warez" is a corruption of the word "wares." This happened in the late 80's/early 90's and has become a sub-culture in its own right. Thousands of people on IRC are "warezers." Many are also legitimate consumers who like to try before they buy. Many words have been corrupted in such a way such as "phreaking" but most of it is frowned upon by the general community (like AOL). Script kiddies are also frowned upon. Those seeking knowledge and are willing to not act stupid are welcome. The there is #oldwarez on EFnet were you can find old games for free that you would never find otherwise.

Warez, plain and simple, is copyright infringement, and thus theft. Distributing warez is not a crime invented by the software industry - it's the same thing as if you bought a new novel, OCR'ed it into your computer, and then printed off multiple copies for distribution, free or for profit. I welcome open-source developments, which are leading to more freedom in the development and distribution of software, but piracy is theft. If something is bad enough that it's not worth paying real money for, go without. If it's overpriced, say so, or wait for it to come down from budget. Stealing it simply drives up the manufacturer's costs and keeps the price high.

Note: I think that many software licenses go beyond what's fair. If I buy a novel, I can do what the hell I like with it, as long as I don't break copyright. I ought to be allowed to decompile software, as long as I don't use the knowledge so gained to defraud the supplier.
-ware = W = warez d00dz

warez /weirz/ n.

Widely used in cracker subcultures to denote cracked version of commercial software, that is versions from which copy-protection has been stripped. Hackers recognize this term but don't use it themselves. See warez d00dz, courier, leech, elite.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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