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Belgium: A Computer in Every Home

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the and-a-chicken-in-every-pot dept.

Microsoft 623

joost writes "In an article published online by Belgian newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad' (sorry only a dutch link), Belgian minister Miss Laurette Onkelinx speaks about her plan to provide every Belgian household with a computer. The minister is (amongst other things) responsible for 'equality' and therefore pushes the plan to provide the less fortunate with a pc. In the same article, she said she already started talking to Compaq for the hardware and Microsoft for the OS. Belgian Linux users are starting a campaign to petition Miss Onkelinx's departement, explaining their concern about the decision, and advising to look towards linux for an alternative.(more on be.comp.os.linux) You too can send an email by clicking here."

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623 comments

a first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821505)

This is my first post, there are many like it.. but this one is mine!

Re:a first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821603)

no it's not you lieing bastard, give it back!

This would be a great success... (1)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821506)

for linux on the desktop, and equality in technology, if only they would use linux.

Re:This would be a great success... (2, Insightful)

DavidJA (323792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821517)

for linux on the desktop, and equality in technology, if only they would use linux.

Don't get me wrong, linux is a great OS, BUT do you seriously think it's ready for deploying on a large scale as a general desktop?

What about apps?

Re:This would be a great success... (2, Interesting)

mlk (18543) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821523)

Linux (or BSD, or...) with say StarOffice full screened would prob. do most ppl. After would it really be anything more than a type writer & web terminal?

mlk, not really sure that Linux is the best choice. AtheOS maybe (in a few years ;)

Re:This would be a great success... (1, Insightful)

chicolindo (302231) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821532)

Equality in technology?
The world is full of inequalities - what makes you think that linux is the key to the balance of power.
There always has been [and probably always will be] inequality. Can you give me an example of a 'balanced' industry?!

Re:This would be a great success... (-1)

adlam.bor (547789) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821575)

you swallow way too much sperm in your free time

Re:This would be a great success... (2, Insightful)

Roto-Rooter Man (520267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821589)

It'd be swell if they used Linux, but only Windows and Mac are really feasible for something like this (and not even Mac so much because of price). Elderly Belgian women using a computer for the first time would receive one under this plan. They need something cheap and easy to use, that does their basic stuff. As much as I dislike Windows, an inexperienced person would be able to pick that up much faster than Linux, and has little need for Linux's power features.

Luckily for those of you who don't want free market share given to MS, socialist plans like this are doomed to failure anyway.

Re:This would be a great success... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821666)

only 1 computer in every home? heheh. we have 4 computers on the wired network and 3 computers on the wireless network. and that's just in our home! (plus, it's 10/100 switched, and the wireless is 11mbps managed AP) all of it is firewalled and shares a fileserver.

Is linux really the right choice? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821510)

Yeah it's free, and a great server OS.
But it's desktop side is not there YET.
Not that I'm suggesting Windows, or MacOS, but Linux?

Re:Is linux really the right choice? (3, Insightful)

DavidJA (323792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821536)

A don't forget the plan is to provide the less fortunate with a pc to me, less fortunate probably means less educated as much as anything (generally speaking); would these people seriously use a linux pc?

Don't get me wrong, I love linux, but it's not for everyone YET

So what about equality? (5, Funny)

Jsprat23 (148634) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821512)

Who's going to pay for all of the O'Reilly Books if they do use linux? And then you bet there'll be a flame war about which distro to use.

EMAD CYBERFAG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821634)

An urgent matter of national security has come to my attention. A devious Iranian twink with an ego to match Rob Malda's is exercising a reign of terror on irc.slashnet.org. In this essay I will detail where Emad El-Haraty ("Emad") came from, how he created his power-base, and what he intends to do with it. Some of the content may shock you. Though used to paranoia, faggotry, and blatant egoism, trolls are not used to dealing with issues of international terrorism. Hopefully this essay will prepare you before it's too late.

Personal Background

Emad was born in a donkey stable in Mustfuq, Iran, in 1982, shortly after the beginning of the heated Iran-Iraq war. His parents were lowly dung farmers, and Emad was destined to inherit his father's trade. However, six years later the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on a tour of the nation celebrating the Iranian "victory" over Iraq, took a liking to six year old Emad. The Ayatollah demanded that the child become a page in his entourage.

Apparently being a page in the Ayatollah's entourage meant lots and lots of gay sex with his Holiness, and Emad was soon introduced to Iranian faggotry. Six year old Emad was forced to stroke the Ayatollah's beard and jack him off while whispering "I love you, Holy Grandfather," in the Ayatollah's ear. Upon ejaculation Emad would to lick the Ayatollah's seed from the ground and snowball it into the Ayatollah's mouth.

When, in 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini passed into the next world, Emad was shattered. Being only seven he couldn't understand why the love of his life had left him. Emad became depressed and left the holy court in an attempt to quench his faggot thirst for beards and hard uncircumcised cocks.

Technology Beckons

In 1993, after years of hard life on the streets of Iran's dirtiest cities and whoring his hairless young body at the drop of a sheckle, eleven year old Emad met up with a group of Iranian hackers. Being fat and smelling typically like armpits, these hackers hadn't had sex in years. Young Emad, his smooth body full of promise, seemed to be the answer. They offered him room and board so long as he would feed any sexual urges the hackers had.

Emad picked up computer skills alongside the scat parties held by the lonely hackers. Between sucking farts and eating spicy Iranian turds directly from the hackers' asses, Emad learned Linux userland utilities. For every time Emad's anus was stretched and his rectum torn by eager gay faggot Iranian hacker cock, he learned a new Linux kernel compile option. Every quart of semen that found its way to Emad's stomach cooresponded to a deluge of Linux lingo and elitist thought. And by the time 1997 rolled around, Emad was virtually one of the hackers, save that he could take the largest of dark meat in his ass with nary a gasp or twitch. It was then that Emad was told the Iranian Secret.

The Great Satan

America, Emad was told by the Iranian Linux hackers, was the Great Satan, the enemy of all the virtues and truths and graces of the Muslim religion. It was a Jihad, Emad was further told, to destroy America and all it stood for. This was the reason why Linux was created, and this was the reason why the Iranians had adopted it as their OS of choice and trained legions of hackers. Emad's eyes grew wide and lit up as the truth washed over him. Years of taking dick in every orifice available finally meant more than just the pleasure he gained from it. Emad knew he could destroy America through its own faggot underground and the Linux skills he had learned.

Emad was on a plane days later, ready to take on America and make its hackers pay.

Enter Slashdot

By 1999, the Year of the Beast, Emad had been living in squalor in Long Island, in the midst of Jews. He had been trying to hook himself up with the anti-American faggot hacker underground, but so far had just been successful in luring men, mostly Jews, back to his economy apartment for round after round of scat sex. The turds weren't as spicy in America, as they always said, but the lack of pork grease in the Jewish brownmeat was a welcome change from what he knew. And then one day, while cleaning up his diarhea-splattered walls and piss-soaked sheets and pillows, he found a piece of paper that had fallen out of his partner's pocket. It contained only the web address http://slashdot.org/.

Minutes later Emad was logged in and turned on. He had found his means to take down America; he had found America's gay homosexual cock-lusting faggot hacker culture.

irc.slashnet.org

After posting frequently to Slashdot, Emad became aquainted with its Rogues' Gallery of editors: Rob Malda, Editor-in-Chief, terrible speller, and Faggot Supreme; Hemos, the bitchboy of Open Source and Free Software leaders; Emmet, the fat, sweaty Steve Jobs wannabe; Timothy, gullible Timothy, who made it feel alright to buy the hype; and Michael Sims, faggot Nazi editor / censorer and minion of ESR. Emad was elated! He could fit right into this circle-jerk of talentless ego and maniacal homosexuality! A few emails later, he and Rob Malda had worked out a plan. Something was brewing at the Geek Compound, and Emad seemed to be the right man for the job. Slashdot was launching its own IRC network. And IRC networks need IRC Operators, supreme authorities of the chat servers.

Soon after, irc.slashnet.org went live, to the jubilation of gays and slashbots everywhere. Now they could interact in real time, while sitting naked and stinky in the safety of their own basements!

Emad's Gang

To Emad, his job was not work. It was joy. He got to kick, ban, devoice, password protect, and kline to his heart's content. He was a regualr in #gay as well as #Slashdot, and (ab)used his power as IRC Operator to hook himself up with new and exciting sexual partners. There was dwiii, the skinny, transparently-skinned faggot who likened himself a tech-elitist. He was hairless save for his genitals and his shoulders sloped near the top: a real twink! XirHo, whose name means "taker of dick in mouth joyously" in Mandarin, and who liked to play gay online email games, was another of Emad's favorites and soon had Emad hooked on trading gay erotica. DrDink was yet another depraved individual who had cleverly invented what is now know as "Chocolate Milk" in gay circles: after sucking off a huge throbbing gay dick, one would retain the semen in his mouth long enough to mix it with several squirts of diarhea happily supplied by a fellow scat-loving donor. Emad was turned on by this and became fast friends with DrDink.

It wasn't long before Emad and his above he-bitches had a stranglehold on Slashnet, as he and Rob Malda had planned, and Slashnet was soon turned to promoting homosexuality. When individuals that fought for freedom and righteousness logged on, they were harassed and eventually banned from the server.

The Banned

Casualties in the war against Emad today include Vladinator, Slashdot enemy and admin of Geekizoid; Trollaxor, labelled subversive due to his attempts to proclaim the truth in public forums; and Error 808, who was considered too dangerous to allow on the server. To this day these heroes are still klined from irc.slashnet.org-- censorship in practice!

Summary

Hopefully you realize the depth of what I have just revealed to you. Emad is a desperate homosexual who has gathered a band of like-minded loser techie faggots and rules irc.slashnet.org with an iron fist in an attempt to undermine American values. His team, along with Slashdot, Open Source, and Free Software are slowly spreading STDs and homosexual thought among the youth of America's hacker culture. Unite before it's too late! You are now armed with the knowledge. Protect yourself and fight for freedom before you, too, become one of the censored!

forget linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821644)

They should try to get an open sourced version of minitel out there. That would roxor.

Re:So what about equality? (4, Funny)

6EQUJ5 (446008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821646)


Let's just hope they don't waffle on the issue. :)

They Can Choose (2)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821655)

Simple, they can choose which Linux they want. Many distros have downloaded versions ready.

As for the books, they can read howtos and probably contact local LUG guys. I know I'm going to be flamed for this, but most of the people needs to use computers just for typing, e-mails and browsing internet. Do you think they'll need books for this? Local LUG can volunteer here.

The aim in using Linux is to save millions so that the govt can relocate the OS budget for something else.

ms vs. linux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821514)

Price just isn't a big as factor as everyone here thinks. I'm in on purchasing for a major university. What we spend on our site license of EVERY MS prodoct per year is a FRACTION (4% to be exact) of what we spend on new hardware for our labs each year...Switching to linux would not save us much at all, and oh the headaches.

Re:ms vs. linux (1)

phoebus1553 (522577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821531)

But site licenses are a different beast entirely, i.e there's no per seat cost on that (if I understand it correctly)

However, I'm sure the minister could swing some kind of deal from MS considering the masses this would affect, and seed, with MS tech (or lack thereof ;) )

Hardware (2, Insightful)

Catskul (323619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821560)

... But Universities buy state of the art hardware. I imagine that the hardware being purchased for this purpose will be "Discount hardware". Im sure they arent intrested in putting a Sparc Station in every home. So in this case Licences will be a much larger portion of the cost. Also, im sure even if you work for a big 10, there are more people to worry about than at your University.

Re:ms vs. linux (1)

camelrider (46141) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821585)

Switching to Linux could save a big chunk on hardware upgrades!

Re:ms vs. linux (2, Interesting)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821608)

At my university, we get our annual dose of Suns dirt cheap. All computer manufacturers give huge disscounts to universitys, it's market segmentation as well as a very positive branding.

To bad Solaris SUCKS for desktop usage. There has been a bug in Suns X-server for ~5 years now that allows you to remotely crash another users X-server if they use Zephyr. There are several other known crash-exploits for this bug as well. The bug is still open. Never existed in XFree86.

Re:ms vs. linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821678)

There has been a bug in Suns X-server for ~5 years now that allows you to remotely crash another users X-server if they use Zephyr.

Uh... Bullshit.

Re:ms vs. linux (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821691)

They probably don't know how to install upgrade patches or configure it properly. So I can crash EVERY sun box made in the last 5 years? Wheee! It would also be nice to hear more reasons why it sucks for desktop use. Whats stopping you from running xf86?

Thoughts... (1)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821519)

It seems likely that Microsoft would jump at a chance to increase its userbase by a significant amount by providing the OS for this program.

My question is, if the Belgians really did go with Linux, who would have the resources to supply it as readily as Microsoft could supply Windows?

A Belgian LUG copies the CD's.... (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821566)

I'm curious, what "resources to supply"? Blank CD's?

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm as much against foisting Linux/BSD/Win/Mac off on anyone as I am for Mac/Win/BSD/Linux. Either way, someone loses.

The problem with this is that government is force. They cannot make everyone happy, and by trying they aren't going to make anyone happy. The biggest decision they're going to make is to standardize the application space, and that very likely means Microsoft Word just because of the theory that "everyone uses it."

Bob-

Re:A Belgian LUG copies the CD's.... (1)

Tickenest (544722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821581)

As far as what resources to supply goes, I'd imagine software, licenses, set-up support, etc.

I can't imagine any single entity being more able to supply those sorts of resources more efficiently than Microsoft. I'm not saying that their product is better, just that their corporation is set up better to tackle such a large project.

You're kidding right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821521)

If you thought Steve Gibson was being a raving lunatic with XP's raw sockets, imagine an entire country's worth of people connected to the Internet with Linux boxes waiting to be exploited (now or later).

Can you imagine (1)

Supa Mentat (415750) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821526)

What Linux developement would look like five to ten years after this was implemented (if she chose Linux). With an entire country's populatioin using it by default the number of good developers we'd get from Belgium would be a great boon. Not to mention Linux would garner a lot of support from hardware and game companies that we lack right now. If this got through, and I've got to say I doubt it will, it could be the turning point in Linux developent on the desktop.

I don't suppose... (1)

Space Coyote (413320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821527)

... There's a newsgroup in belgium called be.os, and that the ng's topic is what I think it should be :) Sorry, had to be said.

Re:I don't suppose... (2, Interesting)

mlk (18543) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821544)

Hmm, BeOS with Gobe would of been great here[1].

mlk
[1] Assuming
a) Be Inc was alive/OpenBeOS had a little more time
b) The Browser Situaltion was looked after
c) BeOS had a better locale kit

Miss Laurette _Onkelinx_ (5, Funny)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821533)


Miss Onkelinx speaks about her plan to provide every Belgian household with a computer


With a name like that, she could even get distro named after her

...if she does the right thing

Linux on the desktop? (1, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821534)

Seriously, how can you propose to take a population as large as Belgium and introduce them to linux, which most reasonable people have already concluded cant match M$ on the desktop. Anyone want to volunteer to do tech support for that?

Distributing Companies (3, Interesting)

Catskul (323619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821595)

I imagine that the Distributing Companies would like to since that is how they make money. Since they dont make money off of licenses, Tech support is their thing : )

Re:Distributing Companies (2)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821633)

That's interesting and I'd give you a mod point if I had any. Which would actually be better? Deploy Windows which "everyone" knows and tech support can easily be had from a neighbour or friend. Or, deploy Linux and provide extensive support for it?

License cost vs. support cost, it'd be a whole lot more interesting to see Linux deployed and get to see how it actually fares on such a large scale and variety of users.

Thoughtless Hemos... (5, Offtopic)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821535)

You put an email address on the front page of /. and you do not even obscure it.

/. is _NOT_ the place to post email addresses of individuals who are percieved not to get it. The typical /. reader is not going to be objective or polite. It mostly certainly is not going to aid the cause of putting Linux on these machines.

I wonder if /. hurts more than helps the wide spread adoption of Linux?

Re:Thoughtless Hemos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821547)

It wouldn't make any difference even if it was obscured - many spambots nowadays have special tools designed to strip addresses from any spam obscurity.

so you're fscked if you do, and you're fscked if you don't.

Re:Thoughtless Hemos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821577)

use a better file system ;-)

Re:Thoughtless Hemos... (1)

Alex (342) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821642)

Ahem - the poster was refering to clueless whiny linux using dickheads^H advocates sending her a shitstorm of abusive mail.

Why does no one on slashdot actually read ANYTHING?

Alex

Re:Thoughtless Hemos... (1)

oo7tushar (311912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821673)

This is an amazingly good point. When you post it on the page you are inviting people to write abusive emails.

There will most likely be an email that may threaten bodily harm upon the minister. This is a threat that can be convicted in a court of law.

If I'm not mistaken, then Belgium has laws that can convict somebody of that crime in abstensia, even if they never set foot in the country.

Thus if traced and convicted that person could be deported to Belgium to face jail time.

Could Slashdot moderators please at least trim the article so that the email address only appears when people read the news story in full (so that you don't actually censor)

This is idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821542)

The minister is (amongst other things) responsible for 'equality' and therefore pushes the plan to provide the less fortunate with a pc.

I'm not exactly a libertarian, but this is really idiotic government interference in the free market. Why dictate what products people should have, like some Soviet-style central planner?

If they're really concerned about "equality", why not just give families a tax credit or whatever equivalent to the price of a computer, and let them decide how they want to spend it? (I know, I know, they'll probably spend it on beer or some other politically incorrect product, but guess what: They will anyway. [zdnet.co.uk] )

Social Standards (3, Insightful)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821651)

Belgium is one of those openly socialist countries, like the United States, that doesn't use the word "socialist" because of the generally bad reputation that the word brings.

Instead, they use words like "equality" with the meaning of "equal outcome" rather than just "equal under the law." Their tax rates are very high, and as long as people go along with what the government programs provide, people are "happy" the same way that worker ants are "happy".

Problems occur in such a situation if you introduce too much choice. This leads to un-equal outcomes, resentment or resistance to one-size-fits-all government programs, and increasing unease since someone always feels "left out" because their outcome wasn't as good, in their opinion, as someone elses.

I really hope this program does not come to pass. 25 years ago, France decided to do this same thing, with their Mintel program. Its 300 baud command line time sharing system was advanced, at the time, but France was left in the toilet as the rest of the world developed graphical applications and interfaces, distributed information sources and efficient IP networks.

However, the only cost to government is the rare risk that a politician might not get re-elected. There is no other "cost", since they spend other peoples money. For that reason, the politicians of today may very well repeat the Mintel disaster simply because it looks good in time for the next election. Everything else is secondary.

Bob-

Why push OS? (3, Funny)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821543)

I don't see any reason why people cannot choose their own OS. Oh, right, this is a government project. Forgive my initial ignorance.

Or at least, this is a government project. It should be open bidding. Lets see Microsoft under-bid "free".

Bob-

MOD THIS UP (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821546)

IM laughing my arse off!!

Re:Why push OS? (1)

abolith (204863) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821586)

But how can you choose a linux distro when they ALL bid free ??

Tech Support (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821610)

See who bids the lowest on tech support.

Re:Why push OS? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821685)

I bet they choose Mandrake... it's the French Connection you see ;)

Re:Why push OS? (2, Informative)

osgeek (239988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821618)

Yeah, it's free unless they consider the cost of hiring a UNIX consultant to come in and help each user set up his system. It's called TCO - Total Cost of Ownership.

Within the past month, I've set up both a RedHat 7.2 box and a Windows XP box. Being a Mac user, I have no real love for Microsoft, but I have to admit that the Windows box could hardly have been simpler to configure with all of the basic services, while the Linux box required a lot of poking and prodding to find all the right pieces to get the job done. Windows (and to an even greater extent, the Mac) is the result of a more concerted effort toward unity, while Linux is the result of many hands all pulling in different directions.

Linux's strength is also its greatest weakness.

Please Don't Get Me Wrong... (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821693)

If you told me to pick one OS, to foist on several tens of millions of unsuspecting non-technical people, I sure would not pick Linux alone.

Even I didn't pick Linux alone! I chose it for many reasons for myself.

You want my opinion on specific OS? MacSystem7.1. Yes, that's right, 7.1, not X, not 10. Not Win nor Lin either.

Yes, at this instant in time WinXP would minimize the initial installation support costs for a project like this. And the politicians may even go for it "monopoly" or not. But I believe the operative issue is "A project like this" where one-size-fits-all is the theory.

I much prefer cooperative efforts by interested people. That means the various users groups in Belgium organize themselves and offer support for their various preferences.

If the Belgian government were interested in real computer litteracy, it could simply give the UG's support, and let the chips fall where they may.

Bob-

Re:Why push OS? (1)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821667)

Well they have cheap computers, and problably has crappy hardware. I have crappy hardware and none of the drivers are on any linux system, only windows/mac. I needed something more mainstream like a SB card. So I'd have to pay some bucks for my 5.1 speakers to use Linux as my desktop. So even though it's free, it's worthless for my desktop.

Re:Why push OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821681)

you'd be suprised. microsoft does provide stuff for free to charitable causes. it's a bad thing of course, because they're trying to be all goody-goody. (when everyone knows they're a lying cheating, scum of the earth profiteering company.)

Re:Why push OS? (0)

Thatman311 (316281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821692)

easy. find me a company that can provide a population the size of belgium all of the hardware AND software ready to go. I am willing to bet none of them are OEM's that provide Linux pre-installed.

.. and they all will run Windows! (0, Redundant)

SlaveTroll (535702) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821550)

Something that a lot of these Linux folks don't understand is that people do NOT care to learn how a computer works or how to set it up or how to make it do anything else besides what they want it to do. People use computers as a TOOL, just like a stove or a microwave. I believe that this is one of the main reasons that *nix users find so much distain for Microsoft's products and thier vision of what a computer is supposed to do. It somehow takes away from their l33t status as a basement-based computer geek. What? Regular people are using using a computer in their day to day lives? You have to be a geeko like me to use a computer!?!

The sad fact is, computer's are becoming a part of average people's lives in the same way that all other technological advancements have been integrated into culture since the beginning of humanity. The only people that know how a television works are TV repairmen and the people who build them (hobbiests aside). Likewise, people who only know how a computer works are those that work on them or build them.

Quite simply, Microsoft developed a product that regular people could learn how to use in a relatively short amount of time with the least effort possible. It's just like people learning how to use a remote control or drive a car. So, in this light, the true computer geek's world has been tainted by the "sheep of the masses." So be it. Because even if they are sheep, they make the world turn. They have all of the money, they make everything happen. How many flames, posts, articles have you read that say, "I like Linux but I program with MS technology...hey I gotta put food on the table."

Technology adapts to people, not the other way around.

Re:.. and they all will run Windows! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821565)

bah, don't you have it when a -1 troll posts a worth while comment, but noone will ever read it.

bah....

Re:.. and they all will run Windows! (0)

tritiumsys (176498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821573)

Thank you for the truly level-headed and very reasonable post. I can't believe it was moderated down. The ignorance and zealotry is so sickening here on /. You raised some very excellent points, and in turn demonstrated the true agenda of these basement losers.

Re:.. and they all will run Windows! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821617)

Can the bullshit. No one modded this guy down - note the "Troll" in his name. He posts at -1. It's his own fault.
It's not like there aren't a lot more perfect examples of blind /. zealotry. If you're going to be an asshole, at least be correct.

Ministry of Equality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821557)

My God, that is scary!

"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance"
- John Philpot Curran, 1808 -

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.
Jay Thomas, jthomas2@uiuc.edu http://www.uiuc.edu/~jthomas2

Let's be realistic (1, Troll)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821561)

If they're going to provide computers to everyone, then they need an OS everyone can use. That breaks down into two possibilities: Windows and MacOS.

Personally, I'd try and strike a deal with Apple. Jobs would be glad to lose money on every computer, if it got him a foothold in every household in belgium, and it means good hardware, good software, and a not-so-unpleasant software company.

--Dan

Re:Let's be realistic (3)

Malc (1751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821675)

"If they're going to provide computers to everyone, then they need an OS everyone can use. That breaks down into two possibilities: Windows and MacOS. "

Errr, why? If every household in the country has the same configuration, the barrier to entry to Linux for the computer illeriterate becomes reduced... they can talk to the neightbours about their problems! The market penetration will become great enough that social factors will overcome things that are normally an issue.

Belgians use new computer as stepping stool (5, Funny)

jhines0042 (184217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821568)

Every Belgian citizen has been given a new computer thanks to minister Miss Laurette Onkelinx's campaign for equality however many of them are not using them for their intended purpose.

One Belgian used his as a stepping stool while cleaning his windows. "I powered the [darn] thing up and played around with it for a few minutes but I couldn't get anything done," said Hermsh Obernikle, "then the bulb in the hallway went out and so I toted the box over then to stand on, it works great!"

One homemaker, who asked not to be identified, was at home testing out her new computer when a bandwidth crazed crimi-geek broke into her house. "Thank goodness my new computer had linux on it", she said, "the [intruder] was so mesmerized that he stayed on the computer for hours doing something with the [kernel] thing until the police arrived." She went on to say that she was glad that linux saved her life but was unsure what she was going to do with it after that.

Hmmm... (1)

God Takeru (409424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821570)

Why do I predict this woman's plan being stifled and perhaps killed by the B.S. of what system, what hardware, and what OS to use?

I mean, I totally support Linux and all, but I don't think that it's the way to go in this situation. I would advise MacOS (as people seem to think that it's the easiest of any major OS to operate), but then I don't use it myself. And hey, Microsoft products or not, a free computer is a free computer.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821625)

Yeah. Give everyone an iMac. They should be able to get a good deal considering Apples financial situation. And Macs are easy to use, have great software (Including IExplorer and MS Office) and since they look cute, people might not be so afraid of them.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821656)

I love that the 2 examples of "great software" are both Microsoft products.

(Yes, I know they have been redone for the Mac OS)

I think that drives the point home as to why MS will be picked if this does actually go through.

Tech support nightmare (0)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821572)

I hope they have highly trained 24 hour tech support for each home if they decide to implement Linux.
When you're trying to accomodate the masses, you have to think about the lowest common denominator. Microsoft caters to that demographic. Linux does not.
It would be nice if it were an option for those who request it. But it would be a tech support nightmare if every one of those homes had a Linux box.

Why does EVERYONE have to use Linux? (3, Insightful)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821574)

It sounds to me like the budget has already been ironed out and that the budget for these PC's includes a provision for Windows. If so, can we stop for a minute and think about the GOOD things that come out of this?

-- Every person in this country gets access to a computer that they might not have had at all. They get Internet access, which provides them with a wealth of new information. Some of them will pursue computer-related jobs that wouldn't have otherwise. In general, the country will benefit from this.

So why is it necessary to post an article on Slashdot basically asking people to flood this government with email complaining about Microsoft? Can we leave well enough alone and accept that the more computer-literate people there are, the better our industry benefits as a whole? These people will buy our hardware. They will visit our websites. They might even patronize Slashdot. This is a good thing.

It's sad, really, to see what should have been a "look what this great country is doing!" article turn into a pro-Linux, anti-Microsoft rant. I'd much rather see Slashdot readers take their time to go volunteer computer training or to build hardware and install software at a local school than to see Slashdot readers criticize a country for what is, in the long run, an incredibly Good Thing.

Re:Why does EVERYONE have to use Linux? (2)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821622)

I think people who want the Belgian government to install Linux on the machines that their government is paying for does not realize this thing: Windows is on 85% of the world's desktop computers.

I mean let's face it: the vast majority of the corporate desktop computers out there run Windows, which means if the average citizen in Belgium knows how to run Windows the learning curve to get into the business environment isn't so steep. I'm sure that Microsoft will offer very substantial discounts for this project in Belgium.

Why does EVERYONE have to use one PC? (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821643)

More to the point, they are doing a disservice to the market by buying everyone the same computer. They should simply provide a tax credit or a voucher for the purchase of a PC, and let the consumers decide what they want. One size will not fit all, particularly for people who already own a PC.

Good point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821648)

--Slashchick

Pro Linux Rant for you troll. (2)

Erris (531066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821665)

It sounds to me like the budget has already been ironed out and that the budget for these PC's includes a provision for Windows. If so, can we stop for a minute and think about the GOOD things that come out of this?

Let's do think of the good that can be done. While dumping M$ boxes on the world may be better than dropping bombs, we can always do better if we try.

Let's say Microsoft decides to dump windows on these poor people at no cost. They should refuse on grounds of security. Why would they want to make their internet look like SirCam and "I love you" all day? Sorry, that's not a rant it's a simple statement of fact that M$ makes a single user OS that does more to cripple a machine than use it.

If M$ does not dump the reasons are even more obvious. Every Euro not spent on OS can be spent on computers. This means more people get them faster, or the savings can be put to something else useful. One useful thing might be to fund a configurations and help group to work out hardware problems and offer other general help. The publication of such a group would be of use to all. Money spent on a second rate OS from a forgein company is not money well spent.

You are obviously a man.

I just hope they get decent machines... (1)

LilDebbie (539816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821579)

so when the "less fortunate" sell theirs on eBay, I can get some good hardware.

Re:I just hope they get decent machines... (1)

ubugly2 (454850) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821694)

....and how will they do that?

Does it really need to be said? (-1)

LOTR Troll (544929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821583)

Linux is not viable for just plain info getting. Sorry, try again.

Also addressing the digital divide: (2)

wfrp01 (82831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821587)

Speaking of providing the less fortunate with a PC...

I'd just like to put in a plug for Kite, Inc. [kiteinc.org] : "a nonprofit organization addressing the global digital divide by offering free, customized computer support packages and technical training to community groups in the 'Third World'."

Do you buy books? Then you can help them, by purchasing from galtbooks [galtbooks.com] : "The mission of galtbooks is to assist charitable and community organizations in generating revenues for their cause."

No, I am not affiliated with either organization. I only heard of them just recently, and thought "wow, I'm really glad someone's doing that". Sorry if this comes off as just more spam.

Linux, Windows or MacOS... (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821590)

I use linux, I like Linux and I've deployed it in many production enviroments but my enthusiasm for it is tempered by the realization that it's not quite ready to be considered suitable for beginning computer users, and thus probably not appropriate for deployment en masse to the less fortunate in Belgium or elsewhere.

I am making an asumption here, that most of 'the less fortunate' mentioned in the article will be first-time computer users. Given this asumption, you could argue that these uers have history using other OS's, they should be able to adopt the Linux paradigm more easily than those unfortunates who were brought up using MS Windows. On the other hand, if these users are not familiar with computers it would be most beneficial to provide them with the simplest enviroment possible (and by that I don't mean WebTV). With this reasoning, the government should deploy iMAC's to everyone. You'd think Apple would jump if given the opportunity to penetrate this new market.

--CTH

Re:Linux, Windows or MacOS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821626)

why do you type MAC but not LINUX or WINDOWS? do you think it is an acronym, or are you just yelling?

Re:Linux, Windows or MacOS... (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821686)

MACs Are C[ool|rap]*?

*delete as approperate.

Sounds good to me (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821627)

That sounds great. Also If the Macs are runnign OSX, those intrested in digging deaper into the computer will get a chance to experience UNIX.

this is not right (1)

orcldba (195785) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821593)

Looks to me like the right way for honorable minister would be instead of talking to Compaq an MS is to have an open bidding. If windows is cheaper solution then, say, Linux, then so be it.
Is it just me being paranoid or the way she addresses the problem suggests some potential corruption?

Linux for the homeless in Belgium... (0)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821594)

...give them a 'root' over their head.

Sorry... could not resist.

Putain! (0)

Guillaume Ross (517391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821598)

Les belges seraient jamais capable d'utiliser Linux alala !

fuck the dutch (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821604)

and their fucking wooden shoes

They will be used for kiddie porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821606)

Use the computers to track all the Paedophiles [guardian.co.uk] running around in that country with impunity. Even the government and the royal family is

Do you trust Slashdot? (-1)

Roto-Rooter Man (520267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821609)

I guess we have to take Slashdot's word on this. Most of us can't speak Dutch, so that story's link is about as useful as this one [goatse.cx] .

Linux is great but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821613)

Linux is not for everybody! I consider myself a generally advanced computer user (no hacker or programmer, but...) but have had trouble using linux. It may seem normal to alot of you that operate it frequently, but for most 'normal people' (like the people who, by definition, don't have computers in the currest case) linux will just be a pain when compared to (yes) the ease of using and running windows.

Re:Linux is great but... (1)

Green River (538461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821653)

"don't have computers in the currest case"

Do you mean "current case?" Preview is your friend.

It's silly, really, to claim that Windows has some sort of UI or usability advantage over Linux or *BSD or any other OS. As you said, these are people who aren't used to any computing at all.

I bought my old grandmother, who had never owned a computer, a Linux PC. She has no problem whatsoever using it - she can run KDE and all she really needs to do are run the Mozilla and KMail programs, which she learned fairly quickly.
The truth is, when you're teaching a person how to use a system, much more important than the perceived usability of the system are:
A) What's the former experience of the trainee? If they've used Windows mostly, they'll be used to Windows. If it's Linux, or MacOS, they'll be used to those. I often have trouble using Windows or MacOS X because I'm so used to X-style cut-n-paste, terminals, etc.
But if they know nothing about computers, MacOS and Windows and Linux will all be just as alien to them.
B) What programs are they using? Most people use a mail client, a browser, and a word processor. The main thing you need to consider for these people is the ease-of-use of the actual programs they use (not the OS, not the UI) and teaching them how to get to those programs.

Again, just my 2,000 Argentine pesos...

Belgium: A Paedophile in every other home (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821619)

They will store nothing but kiddie porn on their machines

Sorry, linux nowhere near ready for "every home" (2)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821624)

I think its nice that the linux folks are giving it the "college effort", but chances are most home users would simply shrug and furrow their brow if they booted up their computer and it wasn't Windows.

The "free" argument doesn't wash either - for such a large purchase it impossible that the government would pay the going consumer rate per install. In fact, I suspect they would pay at most 40% of the cost of being each copy of Windows independently.

Here's a thought: (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821630)

I've seen other posts that resemble this but I'm not sure if they were serious.

Why not let the people choose their own OS? The government is going to be shelling out the $$$ for this big project anyway.

I understand that the platform will be x86. So give them choices of Win98, XP, all Linux distros, BSD, Be, Solaris...

Let the taxpayers decide what they want. It shouldn't be shoved down their throats.

Besides, Microsoft isn't always evil and (I know you don't want to hear this, but...) Linux still isn't ready for the masses on the desktop.

Linux != OS for the masses (1)

Cortek (165100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821631)

Putting Linux on the systems would pretty much render the computer useless for 90% of the Joe Six-Packs and Sally Lunch-Buckets out there.

Besides they aren't going to be able to properly secure the machine once they get on the net. You can't expect these people to subscribe to bugtraq and update religeously!

No need for national ID cards (3, Funny)

Merry_B.Buck (539837) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821636)

If everyone in Belgium had a copy of XP, police could just require you to carry your Microsoft Product Activation Key with you at all times.

Here's an Idea (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821638)

What if they sent out a ballot and a had the people who would be getting the pc's decide. Obviously if they have never had a pc then they are not 100% bias towards microsoft.

Also include a packet with the ballot that would explain the two choices. Explain how running linux would save x amount of dollars initially and how it would also save y amount of dollars to them in the long run because they would not have to purchase software since it is freely available.

Don't force linux upon people, but instead educate them on why they should run it, and let them make their own choice. :-)

Hang on.. Belgians speak French (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2821640)

I know they speak some Dutch in Belgium, but at any rate, why is there no link to the same article in French? Ridiculous, especially since French is generally acknowledged as being the more common language in the country.

I can read French (and you can Babelfish it).. but Dutch is useless, you can't even run Babelfish over it :-(

great idea (1)

oo7tushar (311912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821645)

This is not an occasion for an advancement of linux, it's a great oppurtunity for those who don't have access to computers to get that access. Perhaps those who feel they need more (or specific uses) can switch to an OS that better suits them.

MS Windows is a great OS for exactly these people. When all that most people want to do is surf the web and read their email or write documents/improve their computer skills it makes sense to get an OS that is supported the world over and can be fixed easily.

This isn't about us, it's about the world.

fucking stupid (1)

Nasticity (532860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821649)

sometimes geeks can be fucking retarded... linux isn't for normal desktop users.. let alone people having a computer for the first time

Neither is Windows... (4, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821679)

Windows is "easy" for many because it's what they are used to. It's not intuitive (Click on "Start" button to shut down machine is not intuitive or "easy) as people keep making it seem to be.

Nice idea but too late... (2, Funny)

Nick Smith (321087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821660)

Think of all the misery that could have been prevented if this had been implemeted 20 years ago? Young Jean-Claude Van Damme could have been steered away from martial arts with a timely dose of computer games and warez cracking.

If only the Belgian Government had had a little more vision, films like 'Hard Target', 'Street Fighter' and 'Universal Soldier' might never have been made.

Little use in trying now. Only once every 50 years or so does something noteworthy come out of Belgium and JCVD was it for this half-century. We had our chance to stop this and we blew it...

Noooo! (2, Funny)

Ezubaric (464724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821663)

Just what we need. Ten million more Jerry Lewis fanpages.

------------

Ich finde, (1)

flotsam or jetset (546296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821664)

die Idee hört sich gut an!

This is so Boneheaded (3, Insightful)

child_of_mercy (168861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821669)

I'm all for making computers affordable,

but if people don't want one enough to get one, what are they going to do when it gets pushed through their door?

I can see Eastern Europe filling up with these units.

This sounds a little familiar (0, Troll)

GePS (543386) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821687)

Wasn't there just recently an article complaining about Microsoft pumping a .NET poll? *scratches head* is there much difference here?

slashdot infiltrated by MS! (3, Offtopic)

austad (22163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2821689)

Holy crap, just about every response I've seen is in favor of MS, not linux for this. Did someone at MS email the whole company like with that ZDNet poll that they rigged?

Recent versions of Mandrake are nearly as easy to use as windows, and gets better with every release. If mandrake made a dumbed down version of their distro with the same features of windows ME, I'm sure there wouldn't be a problem. Plus, if you've used OSX lately, you'd realize how much more advanced it is than windows. Easier to use too, but still has lots of power under the hood.

Seriously, I can't imagine that Belgium will want to tack on $300 for an OS on each machine, and another $450 for an office suite. That's insane.
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