Geekdom is more than a little bit like Bizarro world -- or maybe Italy -- where familiar notions of right and wrong are twisted to fit the culture and the facts. (Just kidding, Italy. I tease because I love.) To get an idea of what I'm talking about, consider the following:

If I steal a car from under the rainbow tent at Fred's Pontiac, how many of you think that Fred should upgrade my brake system if a manufacturing error is found? I don't see too many hands.

Now, if I steal a computer operating system, how many of you think that I should get free upgrades and security patches? Still not too many hands? Well, in Geekdom you'd see a lot more arms waving in the air, because, as the argument goes, by patching the pirate systems, you decrease the danger to legitimate users.

This is an issue that's been simmering in the tech news for the past month or so ever since Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) group product manager Barry Goffe made comments indicating that Service Pack 2 (SP2), a much-awaited upgrade to Windows XP, would not specifically exclude well-known pirated product keys. This position, a reversal from the policy for SP1, was welcomed by many IT commentators, who pointed out that it would reduce the possibility of major network disruptions that could otherwise be spawned on the millions of unprotected pirate systems.

But then the other shoe dropped. Word came out of Redmond that, in fact, the 20 most common pirate keys would be shut out from SP2. Microsoft critics wasted no time in venting their spleen. Linux advocates were quick to note that their security fixes (like the OS itself) are available free. But Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fans, who always seem to enjoy watching Microsoft squirm, had less cause for chuckling.

Since OSX, Apple users have had a taste of mainstream-OS agony, enduring pay-to-play service packs like "Jaguar" and "Panther." Late last month, they were treated to a critical security flaw, along with the griping that comes from security professionals when the folks at headquarters don't treat it as seriously as they should. The most severe of the threats was patched only this morning, with little fanfare.

Interested in more Fool tech coverage?

Fool contributor Seth Jayson always loves hearing from brittle Apple fans. He owns no company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.