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GNU is Not Unix Software

Brazilian Government Continues Push For Free Software 295

Posted by timothy
from the and-a-one-and-a-two-and-a dept.
rmello writes "The 'Legislative Free Software Week' in Brazil ended last week, drawing 2,000 people, including 3 ministers and presidents of congress and senate. Computerworld reports (in Portuguese, translation by submitter), among other things, that 1) House of Representatives will NOT renew MS-Office licenses, but is looking at free software alternatives, 2) The free software parliamentary front was announced in congress, 3) The e-mail system of the house of representatives is being replaced by a free software one, 4) The federal government is looking at concrete measures to stimulate free software as means of saving money and stimulating the national software industry. Looks like free software is here to stay in Brazil. Kudos to the many Brazilian free software groups working to make such victories a reality."
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Brazilian Government Continues Push For Free Software

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  • by westyvw (653833) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @01:17AM (#6802542)
    OK heres about brazil:

    Rich and poor, very defined. Kids huffing gas, and police squads killing kids.

    Big celebrations and they are fun.

    Free software supporting.

    Hospitals going defunct, and leaving medical equipment that is radioactive on the streets up for grabs. No one knowing any better putting stuff in thier mouths cause it looks cool.

    Free software supporting.

    Hmm. I hope it saves them some money, then I hope they help thier people.

    Anyone from Brazil please weigh in on this.

  • by Gherald (682277) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @01:19AM (#6802553) Journal
    Actually it is allowed. They can use 2000/XP indefinately.
  • Re:not renewing... (Score:4, Informative)

    by penguin7of9 (697383) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @01:20AM (#6802554)
    Its interesting that it says "not renewing" in regards to the MS office licenses..

    That's the standard term. What else are they supposed to say?

    does that mean that until they decide to go with open source alternatives (or not), that they will be illegally using the software?

    No. Existing licenses don't expire prematurely just because someone publicly announces that they won't be renewing.

    I think it's pretty clear what they are saying: they aren't going to give Microsoft any more money, and they intend to be using an open source before the issue comes up.
  • Pics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @01:50AM (#6802644)
    Some pics from the event:
    http://www.gulms.org/fotos/SL_congresso/ [gulms.org].
  • by yuri82 (236251) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @02:14AM (#6802734) Homepage Journal
    the country has widespread corruption, the rich people pretty much have owned it since the discovery days.

    they buy the lawmakers who pass laws that help them get richer and richer.

    in my opinion and experience the country doesnt grow because of the catholic church and what it does to poor people...

    i am from brazil btw...
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Informative)

    by caranha (680518) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @02:20AM (#6802755)
    So... all M$ would have to do would be to distribute free copies of their software to the Brazilian government in order to solve this, correct?

    Actually no. The issue of FS in Brazil, altough being shown to the media as "cutting costs", is also largely political.

    Until recently, Brazil's politics scenario was largely dominated by right-wing parties, with the only significant left wing party, the "Worker's Party" (PT), housing all kinds of people who wanted to protest against "the system" in one way or another. Altought there were obviously a lot of radicals in the bunch, since the party itself was quite open to new ideas, the FS folks (specially those with other political worries in their agendas) found a nice niche to stay on.

    Even before Lula made it to the presidency we could see, in recent years, states ruled by PT's governors to support pro-FS laws and projects. Most notably RS (Rio Grande do Sul). Seing those efforts on a federal scale now that PT attained presidency is not that surprising. (Well, actually, for me it kinda is, for they had to make lots of strange alliances to make it there. But I disgress).

    Claus
  • by segment (695309) <sil@politr i x . o rg> on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @02:46AM (#6802833) Homepage Journal
    Let's say you worked for a company that made a product that you exported. How happy would you be when that country decided to make their own?

    No one would be happy, but the tone sounds as if you would like to have something of a monopoly on a product. Let's change this to cars for a second. We all like cars and some of us depend on it for livelihood. You see car A that does everything you want, has been loyal to you for years, etc. You stick with it. Even if car B suddenly comes out touting the same trustworthiness would you be quick to dump car A for car B? I would hope not. Now supposing car B is better, it's cheaper, more efficient, would you keep throwing your money away? I would hope not.

    Would you jump up and down in sheer happiness for them before that trip to the umnemployment office? Or would the grim reality of just losing a customer set in? Then how would you feel when Brazil starting importing THEIR products here?

    Before I answer this let me just snip this out of your comments: products are just that, products. Capitalism is the selling of products for financial gain. Financial gain is what pays employees You've managed to answer your own thread without even realizing it did you know that. Capitalism sometimes keeps companies on their toes, and searching for the next big thing. Would you rather have innovations spawned or the same old boring deck of cards? Refer to my car example since I think it's as plain as black and white. Now if you want my thoughts on another subject oh say... Buy American? I'll take the bait on that too. It is my money and I will spend it on what works for me. Whether or not people agree with this statement it is my hard earned money, so jumping into the car theme again, if a Japanese car works better than an American one, then I'm all for it.

  • by eliphas_levy (68486) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @03:26AM (#6802935) Homepage
    In portuguese, we have TWO words to mean FREE. Simply the translation doesn't help. The "software livre" and "software gratis".
    That's the catch: the original article has "livre" which means "freedom", as in speech.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @04:04AM (#6803018)
    It's not just a matter of not wasting money on "upgrading". Most open source distros are much easier to maintain than MS-Windows. e.g. SuSe, RedHat, and especially Debian. That's just regular maintenance. You can pretty much say goodbye to wasting hundreds of man-hours per year chasing worms and viruses by dropping MS-Outlook and MS-Windows. Then there's the benefit of fewer user problems because apps are more secure, more stable. i.e. more time working and less time calling support and calming down nerves.

    Anyway, if the software did the job in the first place, why would it need "upgrading"? Obviously it is lacking, so why not look at a different provider?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @04:25AM (#6803066)
    If you pay $1500 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, you sure as hell expect great tech support.

    You may expect it, but your expectations do not dictate reality. When I asked for RHL AS tech support from Red Hat, they sent me on a 3-day goose chase, then told me they wouldn't help me because, in effect, great tech support "doesn't scale". (It *does* scale to only say you give tech support and not deliver, apparently.) This is in a shop with a good number of paid-for copies of Advanced Server.

    I've gotten much better response from mailing lists where I haven't paid a dime than from paying huge fees to Red Hat. *This* is what Brazil can really take advantage of, especially as it builds up its own culture of Free Software, and gets a critical mass of helpful Free Software types.

    BTW, I would expect the RHEL/SLES support to be far superior to the support of proprietary OSen, as it is *the* thing you are asked to pay for, instead of the special privilege of using the OS

    I can't speak for SuSE, who, last I checked *does* in fact have proprietary components, but I've personally received better support from Sun for Solaris, and Veritas for Volume Manager and Cluster Server. Both proprietary, but with good support. I'd even go so far as to call Veritas' support *great* for the products I've called about.

    Of course, there are other proprietary vendors whose support is absolutely dismal, especially considering they're usually under 5-6 figure/year support contracts.

    Anyway, I would suspect Linux Mandrake or Conectiva [conectiva.com.br] to capitalize most in Brazil. Mandrake sent some of their team out to Brazil a while back to demonstrate the distro's capabilities there, to a warm response, and Conectiva is the locally-produced equivalent to Red Hat.

    I can personally vouch for Linux Mandrake's support - I've had excellent experiences with its vibrant community. Their tech support system is also such that you can purchase guaranteed-response incidents from the company itself, or get community support with the option of tipping (in a ticket-tracking-style system)

    That's a truly nice thing about Free Software. If Red Hat decides to operate just as another loser software company with regard to customer care, you have the option of easily migrating over to offerings from someone who offers something more in line with both your expectations and your budget. Or, you can just have your own guru who will help you, and who isn't hobbled by someone else holding all the source code.

    Disclaimer: I'm a System Administrator of Solaris, Linux and *BSD, and am posting this from a Linux Mandrake workstation at home. I haven't been to Brazil. My opinions do not reflect those of my cat. She thinks I should be playing with her or feeding her instead of writing this reply.

  • by hummassa (157160) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @04:33AM (#6803092) Homepage Journal
    1. Rich and poor, very defined.
      Not different from US, UK, Spain...
    2. Kids huffing gas, and police squads killing kids.
      Didn't look up what "huffing gas" means, but it has being some time now since last killing squads (rogue police groups) made a hit on minors here.
    3. Hospitals going defunct, and leaving medical equipment that is radioactive on the streets up for grabs.
      This, like the last one, happened in the 1980's. More care is being taken, now.
    4. No one knowing any better putting stuff in thier mouths cause it looks cool.
      I seriously doubt this would be different in any USian or EUian ghetto and, believe me, I know some pretty hard EU ghettos.
    5. I hope it saves them some money, then I hope they help thier people. (sic)
      Someone else in this thread pointed out: renew licenses Vs. feed people is an easy decision to make, right?
      And it is about feeding the people, cause we are in a deep recession; if you start developing free software, knowledge is formed and stays in the country, the money goes to people that has the knowledge here and pumps the economy up.
    6. in my opinion and experience the country doesnt grow because of the catholic church and what it does to poor people...
      I didn't get quite what you mean, yuri82. What exactly the CC does, that hinders the country growth?
  • by ninjaz (1202) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @05:06AM (#6803210)
    Choosing something like Linux or BSD is a good thing, and choosing Sol for say 64bit machines is also good unless they intend on staying in a 32 bit world forever.

    AMD has been selling their (32 and) 64-bit Opteron for a while now. Linux and BSD are both geared up to support this. Eg., NetBSD already has their amd64 port fully functional, and slated to ship in the next NetBSD release, FreeBSD has it running and supports it as a Tier 2 platform. Some LInux vendors have also promised support. There is even (shipping) support for Intel's 64-bit attempt. Granted, neither really qualfies as prime time today, but I'd bet on it happning quite sooner than when 'forever' rolls around. ;) Especially given the long history of supporting other 64-bit architectures such as Alpha.

    Sun makes sense in certain applications (eg,. the kind which need to be massively vertically scaled), but that's true regardless of whether the desktops and infrastructure are running free or proprietary software.

  • Re:not renewing... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @06:31AM (#6803474)
    Well, you can have the government to write any law so whatever interests the government is automatically legal.

    The question was (and still is): The brazilian government could decide just to use Microsoft software without paying any single license to them. What whould do USA then?

    Hummm... I'd bet next we would hear from Bush is he has lawfull informationg regarding some massive destruction weapons and Bin Laden himself are near Sao Paulo so he commits Brazilian president to resign in favour of one of the "american friends" or marines will go to restore democracy from that comunist and criminal named Lula.
  • by perdelucena (455667) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @06:56AM (#6803585) Homepage
    Sorry, but Brazil I think Brazil is much bigger [latinbusin...onicle.com] than Microsoft [yahoo.com] despite our tragic currency devaluation [latin-focus.com].

    ---
    Yeah, we are almost broke.

  • by Deusy (455433) <charlie@vBLUEexi.org minus berry> on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @07:56AM (#6803880) Homepage
    Even if it costs them twice as much to switch to free software they still come out ahead in the end because the money spent can be spent paying people who are far more likely than Microsoft to buy other Brazillian products and services.

    Moreso than that, they are investing in the education and development of the IT staff, who are part of Brazil's evolving economy.

    They will most likely be boosting the local IT development by educating people to use and to contribute to the free software projects that benefit them. In the long run they will be saving millions of US dollars which can be better spent on Brazil. From a software perspective, the only money they'll be spending will be an investment on their staff and software that they have control over.

    All the high TCO crap that comes out of bogus reports (slightly trollish, but true) has been seen through by the Brazilian politicians, who see this as an opportunity to invest Government money in Brazillian people and hence keep it in Brazil. No more upgrade fees. No more expensive support contracts but instead real computer admins and programmers on site who are part of Brazil's evolving economy.

    Most of us here have long known the realities of TCO and Microsoft. The only big cost with free software is in retraining staff. And retraining can be done for free - give a hungry man a can of food and he'll find a way to open it.

    I guess with all the economic trouble in South America of late, governments such as that of Brazil are being forced to recognise that reality. Microsoft can probably no longer buy their way into Government contracts with 'discounts' and whatever other tactics they might use.

    When you're poor you gotta stop paying for convenience and doing things for yourself. Why have an automatic dishwasher when you can wash your dishes by hand.
  • by Savago (701928) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:21AM (#6804048)
    Friends Actually, Brazil does have some IT (and high tech) expertise: 1) Lua programming language was developed by PUC's (Catholic University) Rio de Janeiro staff. 2) Marcelo Tosati (programmer who works for Conectiva _ a Linux system based in Red Hat) is the maintainer of Linux kernel 2.4, I guess. 3) We are the first country to run elections in a computerized system. Flame bait: you americans do need some help in this issue? ;-) 4) Spring is a GIS software developed in Inpe (National Institute of Spacial Research - free translation). 5) Mac Donalds in Brazil (yes, it's right!) uses a management system developed by a native soft house. And have plans to export those to foreign countries. 6) Onca (Jaguar) network were the first to sequence a complete bacterium DNA (Xilela fastidiosa) and make it public (probe in Nature or Science magazine, I don't remember). This makes Brazil the first country to sequence completely a bacterium DNA. This is part of Genoma Project developed in Sao Paulo Province. And we are always open to foreign people that wants to develop high tech research in our country. Several of our universities phD researchers come from USA or Europe universities. Best regards (sorry about the poor english) :-(
  • by iksrazal_br (614172) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @08:37AM (#6804181) Homepage
    I'm a programmer for the Brazillian federal government as a contractor. My wife's also a doctor.

    About the hospitals, the public ones have really long lines but give %100 free service. If you have insurance, the better hospitals (fleury and einstein in sao paulo) are on par with anything I've experienced in the states. Extreme cases [nasa.gov] are just that, out of context.

    As for the general issue of free software in brazil, well, java is huge here - open for a closed standard but not exactly free (as in speech). Another important point is that IBM has, if not all, most government contracts for development - I'm actually working for an IBM partner. On the positive side, tomcat/apache, eclipse, linux (even on the desktop) are all essential parts of the picture.

    iksrazal

  • by perdelucena (455667) on Wednesday August 27, 2003 @11:30AM (#6805790) Homepage
    What exactly the CC does, that hinders the country growth?

    I am a MSc in CompSci, not a sociologist but I am a Brazilian and I can explain it pretty clear. Catholic Church as Islam or any intrusive religion creates societies with weird mindsets that accepts reality (corruption, power abuse, etc) as something natural. Acording to CC we should always forgieve. This idea has influenced our laws during many years/centuries and our country reflects nowadays such crazieness. While people do not have education and are unable to free their mind the situation will persist and we should get used to live in this terrible situation with few resources and chances to make a change.

  • A country that uses proprietary, closed-source software is a country that is not free. A country that uses proprietary, closed-source software is partly under control of the seller of the software and of government of the country in which the seller is located.

    Why is it that the government of Brazil is quicker than the government of the United States to realize the necessity of running a government with open source software?

    To understand this, it may help to understand other differences between Brazil and the United States. One country is more primitive in some ways and less developed than the other. For example:

    The United States government has bombed 24 countries in the years since the second world war. The Brazilian government has bombed none.

    The United States government supports culture. It has an organization called the National Endowment for the Arts. Apparently that is the group that puts on those unbelievably boring shows in the U.S. capitol. The Brazilian government supports culture. The culture minister, Gilberto Gil [jsonline.com], is a musician and singer who is famous throughout the world.

    Officials of a large city in one country visited the officials of another country to learn how to run a city in a more humanistic way: Officials of the city of New York visited the officials of Curitiba, Brazil, to learn the mayor's methods for making a city an enjoyable place to live.

    Brazilians are generally slim and good-looking. Americans are the most overweight populace that has ever existed. This seems to be because the Brazilians are more skilled at making themselves happy than Americans. Definitely Americans eat when they are not hungry, and indication of unhappiness.

    The city of Rio de Janeiro has a reputation for violence. The homicide rate is 43 per 100,000 people. The city of Washington, D.C, the capitol of the United States, does not have a reputation for violence. The homicide rate in Washington, D.C. is approximately 77 per 100,000 population, close to double that of Rio.

    The United States government has powerful organizations that operate in an almost completely secret way as a world-wide police force, forcing U.S. government ideas and culture on other countries. For example, there is the NSA, CIA, and FBI, and some agencies whose existence is almost a secret from U.S. citizens. The Brazilian government is far from perfect, but it has nothing comparable.

    The Brazilian culture is far from perfect. For example, Brazilians generally don't like to plan, so things that require planning are often done poorly. But in the areas above and in other areas, things are better in Brazil.

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