I've always regarded piracy as an unofficial "try before you buy" none of the big packages would have their marketshare & reputation today without it. Just think: how many home users would have & know photoshop without an illicit copy?..
exactly! I learned using a "borrowed" copy of Photoshop, took a few classes, and because I was able to display proficiency to my employer in PS, they bought me a copy of CS2. After a few more classes I was able to show them I could use Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premiere and After Effects, and then they shelled out another $2000 to upgrade me to CS3 Master Suite. Since then I've trained a few other employees on Dreamweaver, and we've bought 5 more copies, and also upgraded several users to newer versions of Acrobat (v7+) so they could use the LiveCycle dynamic forms I've created.
All in all my "piracy" has given them over $4000+ in sales they never would have gotten... and if ever I branch out on my own and start doing freelance jobs, I'll use that initial money from the first few jobs to get my own legit copy of CS3/4 Master Suite.
As for windows, I refuse to pay for a 2nd copy of software that came with my machine just because the PC manf. decided a recovery partition was an acceptable alternative to an actual recovery disk!
I would gladly buy a legal copy of OSX if Apple would revise their EULA...