Brazil Makes Move to Open Source Software - can Ohio be far behind?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 02/01/2005 - 04:17.

The pace of adoption of open source software is accelerating at astounding rates, as we see entire nations officially dumping Microsoft and going free. Recently, Venezuela switched to open source, and plan a university to develop programmers... now, read two great postings about Brazil - developing countries are wising up... developing Ohio is wising up too, as you'll see...

Brazil Makes Move to Open Source Software

Listen to this story... by Alex Goldmark - NPR

 

Morning Edition, January 31, 2005 ·
The government of Brazil says it will switch 300,000 government
computers from Microsoft's Windows operating system to open source
software like Linux. Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants to meet with
Brazil's president to discuss the change. Brazil is dropping all
proprietary software.

Activists Urge Free Open Source Software

Monday, January 31, 2005

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Activists at a leftist gathering where Microsoft (search) is viewed as a corporate bogeyman urged developing nations Saturday to leap into the information age with free open source software (search).

John
Barlow, a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, told a gathering inside a
packed warehouse that poor nations can't solve their problems unless
they stop paying expensive software licensing fees.

Open
source software includes programs that are not controlled by a single
company. The software can be developed by anyone, with few
restrictions. The best known such software is the Linux operating
system, which can be downloaded free from the Internet.

"Already,
Brazil spends more in licensing fees on proprietary software than it
spends on hunger," said Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a cyberspace civil liberties group.

The
session was one of several at the World Social Forum, which has drawn
tens of thousands of people to an annual protest against the World
Economic Forum, a gathering of world leaders now underway in Davos,
Switzerland.

The activists
in Brazil are generally united in their oppositon to what many call
unbridled capitalism and the policies of the Bush administration. They
are also promoting hundreds of causes, ranging from opposition to
genetically modified crops to free distribution of land to poor farmers.

Barlow said Brazil is trying to wean itself from Microsoft with a
campaign to persuade Brazilians to shift from costly Windows products
to applications that run on the Linux operating system.

Microsoft contends open-source software can be more expensive than Windows programs when service costs are factored in.

How
much people spend on Microsoft products is unclear because the company
often provides discounts when it senses it may lose business. However,
competition from open-source software has prompted Microsoft to offer
those discounts.

Brazil
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's administration says the
open-source policy makes sense for a developing country where a mere 10
percent of the 182 million people have computers at home, and where the
debt-laden government is the nation's biggest computer buyer.

China,
France, Germany, Japan and South Korea (news - web sites) also are
pursuing open-source alternatives. In a partial response to the
open-source threat and to piracy, Microsoft last year launched
stripped-down, cheap versions of Windows in Indonesia, Malaysia and
Thailand. Similar products are on the way for India and Russia.

Joining
Barlow on Saturday were Brazilian pop superstar Gilberto Gil, who is
Brazil's minister of culture, and Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University
law professor and chairman of Creative Commons, a nonprofit
organization devoted to sharing creative material online.

All
the social forum's 800 computers are running on open-source software,
but the loosely organized event ran into an embarrassing glitch
Saturday when two big screens betrayed the fact that the computer was
running on Windows, with the operating system's toolbar visible at the
bottom of the screens.

Lessig noticed and the computer was quickly disconnected and replaced with a laptop running on open-source software.