Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on January 25, 2007 10:46 AM
> I'd just like to make sure I got this straight.
I'm Brazilian, so let's help you here, then.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;-)
> Brazil is implementing FOSS in a poor fashion because:
> They don't care about the philosophy.
I disagree. Many, many times it is about a fanatic who is 100% philosophy and ZERO practical thinking used by a bureaucrat who doesn't get the philosophy but wants to be "in" -- so he cares about it, but for the wrong reasons.
> They just want it for no cost.
Not so. This is important for poor scenarios (like in schools, which never get serious money), but purchasing a private licence means you have to guard it against illegal copy. This is a burden; also, having n+1 versions of Windows times m+1 versions of Office creates an incredible mess of lack of interoperability _among_ M$ products! Free software solves this: good or bad, you can use ONE distro throughout the entire public organization.
> They want to steal the free software.
I don't understand this phrase. I thought the very basic idea of using GPL was to have one's software stolen. That's why you give the source. Did you mean anything else?
> They do poor project planning and roll-outs that are destined to fail.
This one you hit right on the nail. Deploying new apps is intimidating, but we are very skilled in fscking up things.
> Proprietary software companies are telling Brazil to buy their software because its better.
Yes, and a bunch of idiots here bow and obey like they're trained to not question authority -- because this is the way they are trained to think! See the movie "The Pentagon Wars" to see what I mean (specially the finale).
> Corrupt groups are stealing the software and making a profit from it.
That is true only if you're talking about political gains (as in populism); if people really wanted to "profit", proprietary software is a much better venue.
> This is all likely to make FOSS look bad in the eyes of the world.
I'm not sure. There's a saying in marketing that goes like "Praise me or bash me, but do talk about me." In this sense, even if we make a mess, we're helping F/OSS by being pioneers...
> I don't understand why anyone would be surprised. It sounds just like everywhere else to me. The same things are happening in the U.S.A. and Poland and Germany and everywhere else. Boo hoo.
This is your Ballmer side speaking. Don't yield! Resist!<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-P
> What ever happened to the city of Munich? Oh yea, massive failure to live up to announced expectations.
Really? Last articles I read, things were going pretty much smooth technically, after some legal discussions. Maybe there's another Munich, like Paris in Texas?
> Now I just wonder how long it will take the community to get past the fatalistic 'blame it on Microsoft and corruption' argument and start doing something about it. None of the problems listed in the article are Microsoft's doing, they are all failures on the part of FOSS and its advocates.
We really solve nothing by just complaining, action talks louder than words etc. etc. We really should kick those M$ lackeys in their fat butts, but hey, this day will come. Let's work toward this noble goal.
> Kudos to Bruce for writing an article that is grounded in reality rather than the typical breathless and gushing stories of some insignificant prefecture's "adoption of Linux".
Bruce's article is great and it shows he's actually researched a lot, but here are some points I'd like to comment:
- the situation here is not "less hopeful", but advances slower than we Linux users would like... but yes, departments and state-run enterprises are using Linux with crescent adoption.
- corruption unfortunately is widespread and it really prevents Linux progress. But it is not inefficiency the problem, it's pure stubbornness of braindamaged managers who want to derail the free software movement. Be sure it's not unintentional.
- PC Conectado sort of flunked and was replaced by "PC para Todos" (PC for all). PC Conectado (PC Connected) was about giving people cheap bad quality dial-up internet access. Never took off; PC para Todos was about providing tax exemption and special low interest financing to Linux-only (yes, pre-installed!) PCs up to around USD 600. This was such a resounding success that M$ had to come up with its Windows Starter Edition, which sucks (and gets no special government cheap financing). Further yet, people claim those almost 1 million Linux PCs sold (11%+ market share) were converted using pirated Windows (but 27% stayed with Linux, yay!). It so successful that stores are unashamed to sell Linux computers now (they say it sells like hot cakes), and the low-tax/ cheap financing was extended up to USD 2000 just a few days ago. Tipically a Windows Starter Edition PC costs USD 150 more than the same h/w with Linux. For poor people this discount, and the 24 monthly payments instead of paying cash, make a world of difference. About using pirate copies, even if the PC came with genuine Vista, people would put a pirated XP on it. Brazilians love to tinker; the solution which will tremendously help Linux is to extinguish piracy.
- Rio Grande do Sul's government made a serious mistake of mandating an specific solution through law. Brazil has a capitalist economy and laws reflect a need to foster competition, so FLOSS must win on its merits not by decree. This is easy (as the recent EU study proves), but that legal blunder was done. Also, goverments change after elections and the last one wasn't so pro-FLOSS like the former (which did the legal mess).
- Kurumin is based on Knoppix; all modifications are directly made available on its site; other sources come from Debian. They offer to send a CD with sources for a processing fee. I believe this is specifically mentioned in the GPL; the "don't sue us" might be equivalent to a "no warranties", but the writing is really poor and non-specific. It should mention "regarding the software".
- Dual O/S, formerly Freedows, is a confusing beast. For starters, it seems not have non-GPL parts mixed with LGPL ones; like the LGPL stablishes, they can go without revealing their proprietary parts. Not a real Linux, it seems... but they do distribute sources for the free parts. I don't know them more than that. Never looked like the real McCoy for me...
- Regarding GPL compatibility with Brazil law, I personally saw a discussion about this some years ago. We must use other legal mechanisms to accommodate the GPL, but it has been done. Or so I've heard, IANAL.
> "What's being told to the world isn't exactly the real truth"
And it is always so, like a professor of mine would say "They never tell the real reason". Nonetheless, this is a good fight and sooner or later FLOSS will be perceived like a tool it is, to be used by everyone -- and not just as a political weapon.
All in all, a great article, very correct in many points -- including the disappointing government use results, but there are positive results as well.