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Brazil's love of Linux
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 28 August 2008 10:53

 Brazil's love of Linux

By Ina Fried
Staff writer, CNET News
August 28, 2008, 4:00 a.m. PDT

SAO PAULO, Brazil--Walk into the Ponto Frio electronics store here, which proudly displays a penguin-shaped logo, and you will find a healthy supply of Linux PCs alongside the usual Windows machines.

The store's Linux love is indicative of Brazil's deep ties to open-source software. Visit the country's universities and you'll hear about many projects using open-source software in new ways. Step into the Brazilian data centers of some of the world's most advanced financial institutions and you will see they depend on the open-source software for many key tasks.

One of the biggest backers of Linux has been Brazil's federal government, which has a stated preference for open-source software and has mandated its use in the program that helps subsidize financing for low-cost PCs.

"What interests the government is to give options, to give alternatives to the proprietary--to the almost monopolistic domain," said Augusto Cesar Gadelha, secretary general of Brazil's ministry of science and technology.

  Many of the country's technology leaders are more pragmatic than ideological.
"Open Source is an interesting way to share knowledge, but 93 or 94 percent of the computers in the world run Microsoft software," says Rodrigo Baggio, the founder of CDI, a group that has established scores of digital inclusion projects in Brazil and a half-dozen other countries.

Although Microsoft is a partner of his, he says he is not preaching Windows either. He just doesn't like the current system in which the federal government meets "in a very beautiful room in the capital and everyone needs to follow their decision."

"I believe in the power of local people to decide what kind of software they will use," Baggio said.

Gadelha said the country's stance is pragmatic.

"There are examples (of) open software which have been quite successful," Gadelha said. "In other areas, we still rely on proprietary software. If we have alternatives that prove themselves to be quite equivalent we give preference to open software model because that would allow for future developments that would allow for future betterment of the software."

And it's not just Brazil's federal government that has adopted Linux.   [C/Net news...]   [Comments...]

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