Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on February 11, 2007 12:31 PM
I believe FOSS only can become professional (that is, good) when appropriately impulsed by a commercial force (as Windows is by Microsoft), or by Government force (as we have public education and health, I believe in a notion of 'public software'). FOSS needs to be 'managed'.
But in no place in the world there exists such commercial driving so that FOSS (in general) could really compete with proprietary software. It seems it's the main goal (bug #1) of Ubuntu: to take some significant Windows marketplace. Will Canonical get it?
FOSS software often is not good, not as professional as proprietary one. It's driven by volunteers, that by default have not a strong compromise to satisfy users as in the 'commercial jungle'.
(A noteworthy (and weird) exception from this is Firefox, which is really a good aplication. Although it's not a commercial stuff, it's still professional).
What I mean with all of this? Brazil's Government is trying to use FOSS. In one side, professional but proprietary commercial software, in other, free but unmanaged free software. This is the main problem, and it's related with FOSS in general not strictly with Brazil's scenario.
Personally I believe it could be solved by the Government itself 'adopting' free software, becoming an effective software provider as any commercial company, where the difference is that its software is 'public', which would mean free *and* good, since it's for self (and society) usage. An official and public service, just like education, health, security etc.
But in Brazil FOSS advocates are fragmented, and also, don't understand that FOSS need to be managed both by 'commercial force' or 'government force' (society's organized force). They try to use and implement FOSS without one of these.
We just can't wait FOSS become commercially main-stream, so why there's not that alternative 'government force'? Because as I said FOSS enthusiasts here are often ingenuous and widely fragmented over all territory and departments, and mainly, the central point of that 'utopia', there's no strong leadership. No heads. A kind of Ministery of Software (as there are others), something stronger and most visible than ITI, should exist, with well-prepared heads to organize all this confusion and drive a realist, focused and permanent strategy for the FOSS (and related stuff) in Brazil.
------------------ Renato Silva (computer technician at Rio de Janeiro) renato3110 (at) yahoo.com.br