Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
GNU is Not Unix

Venezuela Goes Open Source 340

Odinson sent in this news blurb from LinuxToday, reporting that Venezuela has adopted a policy for the use of Open Source software in government wherever possible. Apparently they have practical rather than philosophical motivations: keeping cash in the country and promoting local software development.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Venezuela Goes Open Source

Comments Filter:
  • by Aexia ( 517457 )
    Has that argument been tried in other states, like California?

    "Why should we send our money to *gasp* Redmond when we can get an equally capable system for substantially less?"

    Of course, you could make the same argument about whatever city Red Hat is in. Maybe it's something only people outside the US can make.
    • I take it you missed the news about our State (Cal.) and our Licencing of Oracle. We over paid for the package big time, but it took someone else to notice what had been done before anyone took action to correct the problem.

      So even though our state saving money sounds good to us tax payers, it's not always what's on the minds of the IT managers of our local governments apparently.
    • Has that argument been tried in other states, like California?
      "Why should we send our money to *gasp* Redmond when we can get an equally capable system for substantially less?"


      California is at least in the same part of the world as Microsoft. Maybe a better example would be Florida...
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 )
      Has that argument been tried in other states, like California? [...]

      Of course, you could make the same argument about whatever city Red Hat is in. Maybe it's something only people outside the US can make.


      When a Venezuelan can move to the United States as easilly as a Californian can move to Redmond, and visa versa, then the comparison (or its inverse sarcastic corallary) will hold water. Until then, the flow of wealth across international boarders will have a decidedly different economic implication that the flow of wealth across American state lines.

      That having been said, the flow of wealth into the pockets of a monopoly is never a good thing, but that has nothing to do with state (or international) boundries.
  • Tsunami (Score:2, Insightful)

    When there's an earthquake in the deep ocean it is seen as only a ripple on the surface.

    But as it approaches shallower waters that little ripple can become hundreds of feet tall, decimating everything that stands against it in its path.

    I do believe we have seen the first ripples of a slow moving wave....

    *grin*
  • Hugo Chavez thought he had a tenacious enemy when he crossed Big Oil (tm) :-)
    • 30 Aug 2002: Venezuela switches to open source.

      31 Aug 2002: Venezuela explodes in utter chaos as Microsoft (and Microsoft's lackey, Apple) shuts down every computer running Windows or MacOS, remotely.

      1 Sept 2002: Bloodless CIA-backed coup overthrows Venezuelan government, establishes military dictatorship. Computers "myseriously" work again.

      2 Sept 2002: Open source advocates in Venezuela government "disappear." Pro-Microsoft death squads hunt down and execute their first Linux users. Penguinistas counter with violent reprisals, distribute Linux boxes to peasants, natives.

      Hey, it would fit the historical pattern.

  • There are computers in Venezuela? J/K, but it is nice to see linux reaching futher into the MS Empire, though not a very big account for MS I bet, but still one that's news worth I guess.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mr_Huber ( 160160 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:54PM (#4173402) Homepage
      Big account, small account. It doesn't matter. Microsoft cannot have any country pass one of these laws and have it work. Fear of change is what keeps these governments coming back to Microsoft. Having a working example with real numbers on cost savings will devastate this argument.

      Their fear is a good old 50's style domino effect. First Venezuela, then Costa Rica, then Mexico. Pretty soon, Peru ignore's Bill's gift horse and converts as well. Before you know it, all of Latin America will be running Linux. I don't think this will happen, but I bet Microsoft thinks it could.
      • Their fear is a good old 50's style domino effect. First Venezuela, then Costa Rica, then Mexico. Pretty soon, Peru ignore's Bill's gift horse and converts as well. Before you know it, all of Latin America will be running Linux. I don't think this will happen, but I bet Microsoft thinks it could.
        Double-huh? Why do you not think this will happen? At what point does it stop making sense that you should convert to the OS that:
        1. Costs Less
        2. Is Better
        3. Is under your control
        Let me give you a hint. It doesn't stop making sense. Linux will take over South America as the OS of choice. GPL alternatives to other licensed products will take over South America as the products of choice. The sheer numbers of people working on GPL products will become more sheer (to make up a term).

        Linux will dominate. Windows will be relegated to the trash heap, which is exactly what it deserves.

        BSD-licensed stuff will be around for a long time, but it will always be a small player for the simple fact that developers have no guarantee that those benefitting from the code have to give back.

        Oh, and by the way, this domination won't stop at South America, I'm just keeping the argument in the same scope as you're making it. I think GPL OSes and software will dominate the entire planet before the decade is out.

      • Fear of change is what keeps these governments coming back to Microsoft.
        As opposed to the change people went through from DOS to win31? Or from win31 to win95? And so on. I don't think changing to a Unix system running KDE or GNOME with Evolution and OpenOffice will be much bigger of a change as what they have been going through in the past.
  • by jukal ( 523582 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:38PM (#4173297) Journal
    "Open source whenever possible, propietary software only when necesary."

    Similar kind of opinions have been heard here in scandinavia, apparently atleast in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. If you understand finnish, here's the article [digitoday.fi].

  • GPL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phantros ( 597923 )
    The announcement, made on Wednesday, stated that from now on, all software developed for the government must be licenced under the GPL.
    I wonder if this will be revised to allow other OS licenses.
    • Re:GPL (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jukal ( 523582 )
      > licenced under the GPL

      I wonder why they wanted to limit it just to GPL? That's what the article clearly says anyway. Considering they are planning to for example make commercial closed source and open source systems co-exist, I see some practical reasons why something the original BSD license or atleast LGPL would be much more suitable in some cases. So, WHY did they name only GPL and not for example the whole OSI [opensource.org] suite - - - or does the article contain rotten details :)

      • Re:GPL (Score:4, Informative)

        by bigjocker ( 113512 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @05:19PM (#4173553) Homepage
        The idea is that all the new developments must be released under the GPL. That stops the "Kerberos disease". Nobody can "embrace and extend" the software developed for the government.
        • At best, the GPL inconveniences "embrace and extend" tactics, since you can't re-use the source, but there's nothing whatsoever to prevent someone re-implementing the program and performing embrace and extend on that. In fact, this is what happened with the "Kerberos" instance you cite: to the best of my understanding, Microsoft re-implemented the Kerberos software from scratch, rather than re-using existing code, despite the fact that it was developed under a "defensive" license ("do anything but sue us", or similar). If the Kerberos code had been licensed under the GPL instead, it would have made no difference whatsoever.

          The GPL mostly prevents "free rider syndrome", where people use code in their own programs without contributing anything to the original authors. It only does this to a fairly limited extent, and the LGPL is even more limited (by design), but they both place more obligations on re-users of the code than the purely defensive licenses.

          No truly "open source" license can defend against the tactic of "reimplement, embrace, and extend" though, which is what Microsoft did to Kerberos.

    • I wonder if this will be revised to allow other OS licenses.

      They will have too.
      Otherwise then can't even use GNULIBC (it is licensed under Lesser GPL).
      :)

      • Re:GPL (Score:3, Informative)

        by Micah ( 278 )
        LGPL software can be relicensed under the GPL at any time. No problem.
  • I have installed Linux on 3 computers in my LAN.
  • Venezuela? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dirvish ( 574948 )
    Is there enough open source software development going on in Venezuela to keep the govt going? I would think they will have to look outside their borders for the majority of their needs.
    • Which takes money of the country How?

      I think the idea is more in the way of customization and extension of existing open source apps to the unique needs of Venezuela government contracts. So, if mySQL lacked a certain feature, you could spend the equivilant cost of buying MS SQL, or Oracle on local software companies to make SQL fit the project. Or at least that is how I would implement it.

      A nation's cashflow balanc is very important, if money stays in the country it will stimulate the local exonomy, if it goes to microsoft, it will stimulate whatever MS investments decides to buy to store its enormous cash reserves. Of course the US has a masive trade debt, and depends on foriegn capital investment to make it up, Venezuela is unlikely to attract such massive capital investments.
  • Why GPL only? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kenneth Stephen ( 1950 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:40PM (#4173315) Journal

    It is surprising that this decision seems to exclude other free licenses such as the BSD. Does this mean that they wont use things like Mozilla (isnt it the NPL?) and FreeBSD? What did they find objectionable about the other licenses?

    • Re:Why GPL only? (Score:2, Informative)

      by JanneM ( 7445 )
      I believe Mozilla is dual-licenced; you can use it under the GPL if you want. As for the BSD license, all you need to do is take ythe code, relicense it as GPL and use.

      /Janne

      • As for the BSD license, all you need to do is take ythe code, relicense it as GPL and use.

        Huh? You can't change licenses willy-nilly. Are you saying that a country, because it's soveriegn, should have this right? Are you saying that the copyright holders should just give up on BSD and adopt the GPL (or dual-license)? I don't understand your point.
        • Huh? You can't change licenses willy-nilly. [...] Are you saying that copyright holders should jsut give up on BSD and adopt the GPL (or dual-license)?


          I think he's saying that the BSD license is very liberal -- as long as you attribute the original authors, you can do whatever you like with the code, including using the code in a GPL'd application. This right extends even to circumstances where the GPL'd application consists of nothing but formerly BSD'd code. So essentially, the BSD license permits re-licensing of the code as GPL (or even closed-source, as Microsoft and others have done).

      • I believe Mozilla is dual-licenced; you can use it under the GPL if you want.
        tri-licensed actually. You can use it under either the GPL, the LGPL or the MPL [mozilla.org].

        Though actually, Mozilla isn't yet completely tri-licensed. There are still a grand total of four missing hackers [mozilla.org] who will need to approve their contributions being relicensed [mozilla.org].

        So if you know David Nebinger, Uncle George (fear the jokes in reply to this), Makoto Kato or Thierry LeBouil - let them get in touch!

      • The situation with Mozillas Relicensing is complicated [mozilla.org].

        They will eventaully have an MPL/NPL/GPL triple licence. All new checkins must conform to this. Unfortunately a lot of their code was submitted by non-Netscape employees before they announced their GPL plans, which means they have to track down everybody and get explicit permission or rewrite that piece of the code.

        The standard Mozilla installer clickwrap says the code you are installing is licenced under the MPL only.
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:51PM (#4173384)
      It is surprising that this decision seems to exclude other free licenses such as the BSD. Does this mean that they wont use things like Mozilla (isnt it the NPL?) and FreeBSD? What did they find objectionable about the other licenses?

      First, you are I think confusing two separate issues.

      1) Open Source software will be used by government wherever possible. This definition includes a superset of free software, and especially includes FreeBSD, Mozilla, the NPL, and other licenses in addition to the GPL.

      2) Software developed for the government must be GPLed. Their reasoning is probably something along the lines that public moneys, funding public projects (like government-written, or government funded software) shouldn't be appropriated for personal gain, especially by foreign monopolies [microsoft.com] that will embrace, extend, and ultimately seek to destroy a competing product.

      Not an unreasonable stance for them to take, actually.

      The article isn't entirely clear, but from my reading it appears that the government will use free software and open source software wherever possible (of whatever licenses they deem appropriate), proprietary software where they must, but any software developed for the government (presumably by contract, perhaps at times even by government personnel) will be GPLed, with its freedom and accessiblity to the public thereby protected for the duration of the copyright. A damn fine idea IMHO.
      • So many posters obviously haven't read the article. As the parent states, the government will use Open Source (be it BSD, GPL, etc license) but software developed by the government will be GPL (according to the article).

        Phillip.
      • Open Source software will be used by government wherever possible. This definition includes a superset of free software, and especially includes FreeBSD, Mozilla, the NPL, and other licenses in addition to the GPL.

        FYI, all of the licenses you mentioned (FreeBSD is not a license, BSD is), are considered Free Software/Software Libre licenses [fsf.org].

    • Reread the article:
      ...all software developed for the government must be licenced under the GPL.
      ...
      Rey also outlined additional details of the plan. Besides the government's GPL requirement, the policy requires that the official accounting application for Venezeula must be a GPL'ed application.


      I read it that any open-source software is fine for use (with the exception of accounting, which I'd agree is weird). GPL is just the development license. That's only a problem in that government programers won't be able to have their changes folded back into non-GPL software.
    • The idea is that all software _must_ be GPL, but it can be dual licensed like mozilla.

      The main idea behind it is that the goverment will provide a sourceforge-like repository to keep and manage all the government systems. That guarantees the continuity of the development (you would be surprised if you knew all the systems that are un-mantained in our governemnt, and cant be because the original contractor ran away).

      It also seems like a fair policy: if the software development is being funded using the contributors money the contributors should have access to the code
  • Makes sense. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:40PM (#4173316)
    Apparently they have practical rather than philosophical motivations: keeping cash in the country and promoting local software development.

    When you're rich, the time and sacrifices needed for philosophy are cheap. When you're poor, the practical rules the roost.

    Pithy comments aside, this only reinforces what I have come to believe in recent months: that the eventual dominance of Linux/open source is an economic inevitability.

    The reasoning behind this is very simple, and has nothing to do with blind zealotry. Capitalism does not tolerate inefficiency. If you can do something better than your competitors, or if you can do the same thing but cheaper, you will have an advantage and the natural selection of the free market will elevate you above the rest.

    Linux is more efficient in economic terms. Right now of course, it's "efficiency" is being held back by the number of rough edges that need polishing, the huge resources needed to overcome Microsoft lockin and so on. However, these are becoming less and less all the time. Eventually (like within a few years) Linux will be as good as Windows, as well as compatible with it thanks to the efforts of the wine/samba/OpenOffice/NTFS crews. At that point, you can be better and cheaper at the same time by using it. The result? Market dominance.

    It has another advantage as well - multiple vendors. History shows that economics favours systems with multiple vendors: witness Macs vs PCs, or VHS vs Betamax.

    • Re:Makes sense. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LinuxWoman ( 127092 )
      Rough edges are to a large extent kind of a catch-22. Not too many office/business types USE linux so there's not much call for quickly polishing the rough edges. My experience has been us techie types don't mind needing to know how to make something work.

      At the same time, office/business types probably won't use linux till they can see at least most of the edges are starting to be polished - they might not require perfection but they will require serious improvement over needing to know linux command line to do basic tasks, whether those tasks are opening an office app, creating files/directories or just system maintenance.
      • You can bet that in Venezuela business types are going to at least standardize on StarOffice/OpenOffice, if not go whole hog and switch to Linux. The reason for this is simple. They will want to be compatible with the folks in the government. After all, when the government asks you for a form in OpenOffice format, MS Word format isn't going to be particularly useful. At least in Venezuela the whole document conversion problem is going to be on the other foot. OpenOffice is going to be the de-facto standard, and everyone else is going to have to emulate it.

        My guess, from my experience living in Chile and Peru, is that the businessfolks in Venezuela will probably run StarOffice on a Windows machine (because they can get the OS for free), but this is still a big start.

      • Well, maybe you can tell us about what rough edges you are talking about?

        Mandrake and SuSE are very polished and EVERYTHING can be done with a GUI.

        But how should you know, you probably have never used any decent and recent Linux distribution like most of the other Linux-bashers.

    • Re: Makes Sense (Score:2, Redundant)

      by pjrc ( 134994 )
      If you can do something better than your competitors, or if you can do the same thing but cheaper, you will have an advantage and the natural selection of the free market will elevate you above the rest.

      Yeah, tell that to Digital (DR-DOS) and dozens of others Microsoft has crushed over the years.

      • This one is different. Software used to be a smaller percentage part of the cost of a PC.

        Today, a PC that is decent for office work is, say $1000 - of which $400 is MS software. Make that almost zero with 90% of the functionality and 99% of the average office workers used functionality and you have an unbeatable deal.

        Secondly DR-DOS presumably cost a considerable fraction of the cost of DOS. Linux / Open Office / Mozilla / Samba on a per seat basis costs say $20 as opposed to $400 - that is 5%. That sort of saving is too great too ignore.

        Finally, Linux and open source tools have thousands of people working on them and despite disputes between KDE and Gnome and whatnot everyone contributes to the strength of Open source and Linux.

        The only thing holding Linux back is network effects from the massive installed Windows base. But that will be overcome with time.

        There have been half a dozen or more of these stories of government and large IT sections adopting Linux in areas with thousands of seats. The tide has turned.

    • In a few years Microsoft right or wrong, is set to drop all backwords compatibility. That means Office X Netscape X and all of your products will no longer work without new versions. Now those of us who have used NAV, Ghost, etc come to expect this from our System utilities. But for the first time MS is planning a complete break with all legacy products and code. Imagine the Mac OS X debute but without the Classic environment. Now imagine when MS takes is 90% desktop market share and does the same thing. Hopefully by then those fucktards in Washington won't have made Linux illegal and ISV's will actually be making software for it. Adobe and Intuit I'm looking at you.
      • They're going to run into a situation like that with Itanium vs. Sledgehammer -- sure, the clean break with the past is nice, and lets you get rid of a lot of stupid cruft, but can you really do it when there's a competitor out there who can keep running the old stuff *and* perform better at the new stuff? Oh, sure, the new way has a longer future, but that's not a bridge one can cross if one never gets to it. By the time Microsoft drops backwards compatibility with Win32, Wine will run most of those apps just fine. Assuming no major disaster for Linux (the legal/patent thing, for example), Microsoft will have no choice but to keep compatibility, just as Intel is going to have to make its "Yamhill" project into reality.
    • Eventually (like within a few years) Linux will be as good as Windows, as well as compatible with it thanks to the efforts of the wine/samba/OpenOffice/NTFS crews.


      Can somebody point out the areas where Linux isn't yet as good as Windows? Granted, you can't run as many Windows Apps on Linux as you can on Windows, but then different versions of Windows have the same problem. IMHO, 2002 will go down in history as the year Linux ease of use surpassed that of Windows. What else do we still need to fix?

  • by demon93 ( 197176 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:41PM (#4173322) Journal
    Could this be the beginning of the end (of domination) for microsoft? First Peru, then the UK looking at OS solutions, now Venezuala (Did I see something somewhere about an American state going the same way?). The largest avalanches start with but one snowflake...

    These could be examples for others to look to when deciding policy. The more that say no to Microsoft, the more likely that others will also say no.

    The only worry I have is what the response from Microsoft will be...how much money will they throw at Venezuala to persuade them to change their minds?

    • California, Peru, the UK, etc... have all *considered* it without jumping in the water. Venezuela seems to be the first to actually do it.

    • Not an entire state, but the city of Largo, Florida uses Linux and thin clients.

      http://newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=01/08/10/144 12 39&mode=thread&tid=23

    • These countries are mostly insignificant in terms of microsoft sales...
      microsoft cares because if several countries adopt it for government, that means better and better tools will be developed, and that means that eventually it WILL be a real threat to them in the US.
  • MSNBC is reporting that Venezuela's true motives are to save up their money to fund TERRORISM!!! Microsoft has urged the Depts. of Defense and Justice to have a word with the Venezuelan government to strongly suggest that they keep their tax dollars rolling into Redmond, where it will be safe from EVIL-DOERS.
  • Article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by archen ( 447353 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:46PM (#4173362)
    "According to Pérez-Martí, the government and the people of Venezeula were increasingly concerned that over 75 percent of the funds for software licenses went to foreign nations, 20 percent to foreign support agencies, and only 5 percent to Venezuelan programmers. "

    I hope other countries take note of this. While I'm a skittish about requiring GPL, GPL certainly seems like it would be perfect for not-so-wealthy nations. And isn't any other nation concerned that the vast majority of their IT infrastructure is controlled by a power hungry corporation in the United States? If I were in a country like say Germany, I'm not sure I'd be happy having my government using Microsoft products that report who knows what, and gives them total privileges to all the computers in the name of "fixing bugs".
  • by mpawlo ( 260572 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:48PM (#4173373) Homepage
    A GNU GPL law may be interesting, but if introduced it should be a part of a much larger package, defining a new set of rules regulating the protection of computer programs, hence removing them from traditional copyright protection. See my article on lagom copyright [pawlo.com], published by Newsforge.

    Just changing the public procurement like this may prove to be fatal to cost and efficiency. I think proprietary code and open code should compete on the same terms. The license is not the only thing defining the efficiency of a certain solution. If openness is a valid demand from a democracy point of view, openness should be introduced in copyright law to make everyone on the market work on the same terms. I do not find it feasible from an efficiency point of view to mandate only one type of license in public procurement.

    See also my article on open code in public procurement [pawlo.com] published by Newsforge.

    Regards,

    Mikael
    • Perhaps we don't give a damn what you say. They said they would use proprietary solutions if a sutible GPL program does not exist, do essentially your opinion is moot.
      • Why should they not just choose the best program out of a variety of parameters? It does not make sense to use the license as the only parameter. What about total cost of ownership? After all - this is tax money at work. What about the market? What effects will this initiative have on a wider scale?
    • I read your letter. Venezuala specifically allows for commercial if no open source alternative exists; which would cover communication middle ware. For example they could set up a server running word doing word->rtf translation.
  • ...then we'll only need Argentina and Brazil, and
    then we'll have a continent!
    • then we'll only need Argentina and Brazil, and then we'll have a continent!
      Excepting Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana.
      Brazil is interesting, since it is should theoretically be amongst the richest countries on the planet, if not the richest.
  • by bwt ( 68845 )
    The title is misleading. Venezuela is going GPL, not open source. There are presumably a lot of open source apps that cannot be used in Venezuela because they are licenced under terms that are not GPL compatible. I'm assuming that GPL compatible is good enough (I hope).

    I usually think in terms of "open source" meaning OSI approved licence. I wonder what the "gaps" are in terms of types of apps that aren't really ready using GPL only. Some of the things that come to mind are: enterprise grade RDBMS, java swing libraries, RDBMS report writer. For that matter, is Apache's licence GPL compatible !? If not, what will they use? Is there an AutoCAD solution? Is there a geocoding solution? What other GPL gaps are out there?
  • The Domino Theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dieMSdie ( 24109 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @05:10PM (#4173508)
    This reminds me of the Domino Theory as the USA applied it to SE Asia in the 1960's, as the main excuse to go into Vietnam.

    Microsoft cannot allow Venezuela to do this. If any country switches to Open Source, and it is a success, Microsoft is in deep shit. Other countries would follow the lead, and soon Microsoft would be forced to implement huge price cuts just to have any chance at all.

    If this is a success in Venezuela, I believe that in the near future the US Govt will be one of the very few running any version of Windows. Billy and Steve will throw however much money it takes at Washington to keep things that way.

    But can they buy off the whole world?

  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @05:19PM (#4173548) Homepage
    FROM: BILLG
    TO: THE TROOPS
    RE: GET MOVING ON VENEZUELA DONATIONS

    Hey kids. Just got my desktop machine working again after that last service pack (what a bitch that was, huh?). And what did I see in my daily Linux Encroachment report? Apparently some piss-ant country that we could buy and sell like it was a stick of bubble gum is mandating open source software in government. How did we miss this one? Peru, Venezulela, I get them all mixed up anyway. But you know what this means! Pack your bags, it's time for a field trip!

    I figure 10,000 brand new PCs for the schools, pre-loaded with Windows XP and Word, plus a nice plaque and a fruit basket, that should be enough to get them to drop this stupid idea.

    And this time, let's be sure that the blue screens start coming up in about 8 months. I think Venezuala will be able to afford the Win2K upgrades we'll offer them to fix the problem.

    Get moving! This one should be even easier than ol' Meheeko was.

    xoxox,

    BillG

  • The LinuxToday article originates in an interview in L@ Red [lared.com.ve] (Spanish only). Nice read.
  • When are they going to send the US Ambassador to have a little... armtwisting^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hdiscussion (yeah, that's the ticket, discussion!) session with Venezuelan honchos?

    And when will MS "donate" a few zillion dollars in licenses to Venezuela?
  • I suspect a big reason why Microsoft grew as fast as it did was folks ran software from work at home. It was easy to take a single copy of Office 6.0-97 and install it everywhere. Compliance happened, but it was because they were 'doing the right thing' rather than forced by the software. I've read speculation that ID's success was due to the enormous number of folks installing, generating a buzz that got the folks who were going to pay to go with the leader rather than those who tried to protect every sale with goofy copy protection that just does not work very well for those who paid.

    Now that XP - Office and OS - make casual copying difficult, I wonder how fast folks will transition. Often stuff gets installed first, legal details second. That seems to be fading... I won't touch XP for my work or personal equipment, and I don't see very much in my dealings with corporate America either. 2K, lots... but little XP. Better chance of finding win95 on the box out there.

    Anyhow, when you do it now, you pay. You have to think about what this thing is going to cost. Less hiding, playing OEM games, and avoiding the $300+/box/year they are going to sock you with. That adds up whether it's a small city department, school, whatever. Of course that one Linux CD will work at home and office. Not perfect, but getting there....
  • I find is curious that people keep making this distinction, as though the two have little relation to one another. Surely the one of the tenets of the philosophy of Free Software is to allow users to have control over the source so they aren't forced to accept the word of one or more unaccountable parties? Is that not practical? Yet it is a philosophy. The more commentators keep making this bizarre seperation, the more people will be led to believe that the GPL is some pipedream license, not applicable in the "real world". It's time to realise that the GPL "is" practical, and that the philosophy is Free Software puts the practicality of using software high in its list of concerns, being inherently linked to the freedom of users.
  • I use some time running the openchallenge [openchallenge.org]. I would like to get city/government organisations utilize it as well - by posting requests for open source based support for some protocols/interfaces they use for example ofcourse at the same time they would publish the specifications of these protocols/interfaces. How should I approach them, any ideas?
  • I personally would dot the i's and cross the t's a bit different, but a pragmatist view of the fight in California by Bruce Perens [sfgate.com]. A good, well thought out read.
  • Fine. A test to see what happens to a country that does this. Smart countries considering such a plan will hold off to "wait and see" what kind of impact this has. Unfortunately, the very nature of long term effects is that they will take... well... a long term to take effect. The short-term impacts (learning curve, etc.) are already well known. However, at least a few years from now we can say "let's look at V and see what people are saying".

  • by Lonath ( 249354 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @06:56PM (#4174124)
    From the Associated Press wire:

    August 29, 2002:

    In a stunning move with far-reaching global implications, the Bush Administration added the South American nation of Venezuela to the Axis of Evil. When asked why the sudden change was made, Ari Fleischer responded "As President Bush said, "You're either with us, or you're against us.", and Venezuela has sided with the pirates and terrorists of the world by allowing Weapons of Mass IP Destruction into its governmental computing systems.

    Reports from inside sources are confirming that the decision was made after careful consultation with key members of the IP industry who explained that Venezuela released an IP-destroying Pac-Man virus into its governmental IT infrastructure and now any IP that gets sent to Venezuela is being sucked into a giant vortex of piracy and thievery!

    When asked whether or not the US would invade Venezuela, Fleischer responded "We _were_ concerned about Iraq, and we were going to invade, but Iraq has to be put on the back burner for a while. Iraq's physical weapons like nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons are dangerous and a threat to world security, but they can ONLY destroy all life as we know it! An IP-destroying Pac-Man virus could destroy all of CAPITALISM as we know it! Now what's worse: being dead or having to be a long-haired hippy who has to WORK for a living doing something that's directly beneficial to society. So, to answer your question: Venezuela will be pockmarked with giant glowing craters within the next 72 hours."

    Reports are coming in from Norfolk and Guantanamo Naval Air Station that the ships of the Atlantic fleet are preparing to leave, and three nuclear submarines have passed through the Panama Canal within the last 12 hours, leaving little doubt that a serious military buildup is occuring.
  • by puto ( 533470 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @07:19PM (#4174226) Homepage
    I am a network engineer who by way of circumstance am a Colombian citizen. Grandfather was from Spain and my father was born there. I was born in the US, but have both citizenships.

    I lived in Colombia for the past two years before coming home. And Colombia and Venezuela are both full of computets. All kinds. Though SCO is a pretty popular OS over there. Many old school cobol accounting apps running on it.

    ANYWAY. I do not think MS is too worried about losing Venezuela. When you go to a computer store in either country they give you windows free with the pc. Not a licnesed copy. They give you the cost of the liscense, you can get windows with a liscense or without. Who the fuck is gonna choose to pay more money? Not Latin Americans. They gotta pinch pennies. And if they got the money they will not do it anyway.

    If you buy that liscsense, you better call MS from the store and verify it is valid, cause it is probably hoked up anyway.

    I installed several large networks and ordered Dell PC's for the warranties and I could be sure I was getting the licenses legally. And I did. All windows and my big Red Hat Server.

    You think Chavez would actually pay Gates? With latins get the money up front. You think if Chavez used pirate software, gates could do something about it? NO. Venezuela is an entity for itself.

    This might look like a win for us but is just clever spin from our community.

    Venezuela could care less about its systems. What you got is some good sysadmins whispering free in Politicians ears, makes the Politicians look good, like they were paying for software anyway.

    In those countries software, music piracy is an accepted norm. You can buy burned cd's in shopping centers on the streets. They will chip your playstation while you wait. This announcement will not garner any interest there. People are too worried about food and shelter.

    And yeah there are nice areas. For the privileged few. The top 5 percent. Yeah I two ISDN lines in my apartment. And the montly cost would have fed a family of five.

    Show me where opensource benefits latin america. Medical records, state agencies, but until then this announcement has all the weight of Pam Anderson announcing her new fashion line.

    Puto
  • Naysayers : STFU (Score:3, Informative)

    by small_dick ( 127697 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @07:28PM (#4174259)
    Two arguments against keep getting posted:

    1) Venezuela doesn't matter. Only a few computers; the people know little about technology.

    2) It's wrong for government to mandate software, it should be freedom of choice.

    First, I have to say I'm stunned that anyone would post such nonsense.

    One, Venezuela has some very, very intellectual and highly intelligent people. They are in no way "backwards" or "technically illiterate". Are theere peasants in Venezuela? Of course. There are also illiterates in the USA, get over it.

    Two, government mandating software is wrong? Are you peope living in the USA? Have you ever HEARD of the USA? The government and military of the USA mandate Microsoft products almost across the board. Nearly any company you could get a job at has strict policies to use Microsoft solutions only. The largest, most powerful government in the world is mandating Microsoft products nearly universally, in both the private and public sectors, and has dragged it's heels on solving the problem through legal means for God knows how many years. So, don't yap when a single country chooses freedom. As an American, it's sickening for me to hear that argument. It's nonsense.

    STFU.
  • As more Governments across the world do this, MS is going to have a quandry on their hands: If they ever hope to win this business back, they're going to have to work to ensure that their products are compatible with the competing products which Governments across the world are starting to use.

    If they don't do that, companies and countries which switch to Open Source software will be able to say, "Huh? Run MS Office? You must be kidding! It can't read most of my documents, and I won't be able to send useful documents to any of my colleagues in other organizations because they can't read MS formats!"

    The thing is, that outcome doesn't need Open Source to completely displace the MS Hegemony to be effective; it only needs enough market share to make the fact that Open Source is harming MS's sales obvious to the press, then the bad PR from MS's incompatibilities will basically force them to play ball.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The slogan doesn't explain everything and, as pointed out by many, leads to confusion. So, here goes what has been stated:
    1. First and foremost. Usage of open, publicly available international standards, with at least one freely (as in speech and beer) available implementation should be mandatory for all government applications that share information with the citizen.
    2. Public information (as in "of general interest" to the citizen) should be stored in such a way that converting it from one form to another can be accomplished without need of propietary software. This condition is a partial consequence of the first one, but needs to be explicitly stated so there cannot be propietary databases holding standard's base information.
    3. Government information should be stored in a system where each and every component can be audited thoroughly by government officials, technically profficient citizens or independant third parties. This is an issue of national security.
    4. Government offices should use free software (licensed with any free software license: GPL, Apache, Artistic, you know the list) for everything possible; non-free software will be used only when there is no alternative.
    5. Government funded/paid for development will be GPL'ed in the interest of sharing the development cost among several state offices and ensuring that issues 1 and 2 hold.
    6. Private businesses may use whatever software they please, develop whatever software they please whether it is open or closed; there is no restriction imposed on them whatsoever. But if their software must communicate with Government applications in any way, they should do it through standards as stated on issue 1; also, if they plan to bid for any Government related development, they must comply with issues 1, 2, 3 and 5.

    How is this good for the country? It is Government's duty to keep public information public and freely accesible, ensure that it's always available, and be able to select service providers instead of "product" providers. Usage of open and free standards combined with open source applications guarantee this, which is a citizen's right. Notice that the Government is acting as a customer, setting the rules for the kind of products it wants to buy or fund; in this case, as a customer, it has a mandate to act in the best interest of the People.

    By funding only GPL software it ensures that information systems are not only State's property, but also long lived and in a constant state of evolution and refinement, as a consequence of the nature of the free software development schema. This also ensures that Government money (that, in the end, comes from its citizens) goes back to the Citizens that are able to program, customize, install, configure, support and/or teach open source/free software.

    Of course that training (for technical and non-technical targets), migration plans from propietary to free software and analysis of the many issues surrounding this decision have been taken into account. And members of academia are also involved as advisors. Many of Mr. Villanueva's ideas have been studied and changed accordingly, in this case it looks like is way past the "proposal" stage.

    Hope I had shed a bit of light on the subject.

    PS: roblimo, I'm the obnoxious venezuelan guy you met on Atlanta two years ago... these were the news I was talking about.
    --
    I'm neither pro-Chavez nor anti-Chavez.
    I'm just pro freedom and anti stupidity, that's why I only use free software.

  • The use of the GPL for all software developed by the Venezuelan government effectively precludes them from using Microsoft .NET.

Sendmail may be safely run set-user-id to root. -- Eric Allman, "Sendmail Installation Guide"

Working...