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Brazil Mandates Shift to Free Software

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the freedom-through-mandatory-compliance dept.

Linux 503

truthsearch writes "LinuxToday is reporting news and a response about Brazil making Open Source mandatory for 80% of all computers in state institutions and businesses, setting up a 'Chamber for the Implementation of Software Libre.'" This is a big win for Linux, but is making it mandatory going too far? It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.

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Mr. Gates? (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199601)


Your luggage is ready, sir.

ASS TO ASS! ASS TO ASS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199661)

That's the best line in a movie - ever!

Followed by the best scene in a movie ever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199782)

Jennifer Connelly going ass to ass with another chick.

Fucking beautiful!

Re:Mr. Gates? (5, Informative)

inerte (452992) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199795)

He already met (twice) with Brazil's president (one time before the election, one after, during Davos), and it didn't change our president's mind.

During the campaign some IT newspaper asked the candidates what they would do for the software industry. It went something like this:

José Serra's answer:

"We must support the software industry, make it stronger so it can generate jobs for our citizens, and increases export (export? Sell something to other country)."

Pretty standard, IMHO. This anwer works not only for the software industry, but for any other else.

Lula's answer:

"We should support free software, not only because it's cheaper, but because our country needs a larger tech base, more computer and people that knows how to use it".

And Lula won the dispute. Especifically, when asked about the software industry, he cited free solutions.

So it's not a matter of what Bill Gates think, it's already happening. Cool, isn't? :)

Ps: I know you made a joke I am just trying to make the topic broader and explain some of the things that are happening.

Whoa (3, Funny)

HughJampton (659996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199603)

Terry Gilliam must be happy.

And ignore the SCO completely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199604)

I'm sure they won't be happy about this. After all, they are enemies of freedom (as in free software)... do I smell a buncha terrorists?

Glad (1)

diablobsb (444773) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199605)

I'm glad I live here... :)
time to shift those POS win boxen... to something free...

Look! It's Steve Ballmer!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199606)

He's parachuting into Brazil with a few steamer trunks of cash to do his famous "persuading"!

Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (4, Insightful)

SecretMethod70 (569755) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199610)

Making this mandatory, in my opinion, goes against everything that open source stands for - choice. To not keep choices as free as possible to choose whatever is the best solution - be it proprietary or open - defeats the entire purpose of the choice open source provides.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (5, Insightful)

Dashmon (669814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199650)

Erm.. you're wrong. The point is that that "choice" you speak of was made. This is all about Brazil's goverment - they can decide for themselves if they want everything OS or not, and they did, which is just as much a choice as chosing to buy Windoze computers/software. As long as they don't make it mandatory for Brazil's inhabitants to use OSS, they're only chosing what software they themselves want to use - you can't be against that, can you?

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (0, Flamebait)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199726)

If they were mandating a switch to Windows you'd be crying bloody murder, so spare us the sophistic dramatizations.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199775)

That's already being done...

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (2, Insightful)

Dashmon (669814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199832)

No I wouldn't. Any institution, including goverment, is free to chose what stuff they wanna use. I'd think Windows was a very, very stupid choice of course, but they have all right to say that their employees have to use software they want them to use. I don't imagine your boss'd like it if you'd come to the office with your own OS CD's, hardware, etc., and demand that he pays for it. They're basically deciding what software they're gonna buy for their employees (goverment workers). I think you're the one making "sophistic dramatizations": "Oh no! OS is about choice! They're taking it away from their people! Dirty Stalinists!".

Please mod up the parent... (1)

RTMFD (69819) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199666)

I think he's got it by Jove. The success of open-source is due to the freedom that it entails. Making it mandatory will only breed resentment and turn people off.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (3, Insightful)

Eu4ria (110578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199672)

But they are not mandating which software right ? Just that it be open. There are plenty to choose from, with hundreds of distros and several large/popular ones.

Eu4ria

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (2)

r00zky (622648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199688)

Not in this case, Brazil has a bad economy now, including some famine. Reducing costs in government needs to be mandatory.

Also it's not a total change, some software can be propiertary (20%) and i believe in this economical context open source software is the best solution in more than 80% of the cases. With the aditional openness benefit of knowing what the hell your software is doing with your data, of course.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199708)

including some famine

Ah, I see you are reaping the benefits of the catholic "family values" such as the sin of contraception.

Who said that??? (3, Insightful)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199694)

I dont recall ever hearing some consensus that Open Source stands for choice.

Free Software stands for SHARING SOURCE CODE. In fact, going by the GPL, you dont even get a choice about sharing it either.

So stop promulgating that stupid sentiment. I for one have no problem with mandatory open source.

So what if you lose the choice to be a slave, you still have all the choices that matter.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199699)

But OSS doesn't get adopted at anything approaching 80% when it competes based on merit.

I can't wait until the few that don't get to do the 20% need software for something a little out there that isn't some 0.21 proof-of-concept piece of shit. Or hell, what about ones that need a decent word processor (something beyond a glorified typewriter)?

This is going to change. They're going to hit more than a few brick walls.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199702)

But this is the government we're talking about. The government has no "freedom" or "choice." It has only the privileges the people choose to give it. If the people want to require that their head of state wear a pink tu-tu while conducting all official government business, they have every right to do so. In fact restricting the actions of the government is precisely how we guarantee freedom for the people.

Now I understand your position and I could go either way. Personally I feel a mandate of open standards (file formats, protocols, etc.) would be an ideal balance. But closed source companies (not just MS) have such a history of abusing their customers, and it's about time they felt some backlash.

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (5, Insightful)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199719)

Well, AFAICT, choosing between non-free software programs is only a matter of choosing who your owner is going to be.

With Free (Livre) Software a governmant will have true soverneity over what it's computers do (well, that may need some support --> business model here?).

If it doesn't like the way some things are being done, it can always be done by others. With non-free software, all who can really do anything at all are the owneres, so they get to "tell to" the government what it can (or can't) do with its computers.

I'm sorry, but this _is_ a choice a government can do that is somewhat important. It will get to choose who can give it support. It'll get it control over what the software is doing, and talking about plenty software choices, well... the FUD some idiots spread around is that there's too much Free Software programs for you to choose... so there you go. You can choose the best Free tool for the job. Freedom is what the government is mandating for itself by choosing to use only Free Software. Why are you against it? Do you rather your government can't tell you wether some software company has secret access to your records?

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (5, Insightful)

zmooc (33175) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199720)

It does not. Open Source Software doesn't stand for choice. It stands for certain guarantees. In even forces those guarantees onto you. Guarantees like "you can be 100% sure about what this software does" and "you can be 100% sure in 100 years the data written by this software can still be read". So mandatory use of free software forces certain guarantees. IMHO those guarantees - especially in a government - are plain simply required. It's absolutely not acceptable to buy software that doesn't offer you those guarantees so closed source software just isn't an option.

Not everything Re:Mandatory defies the nature of (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199725)

It's not against everything that open source stands for. For example it's anti-Microsoft, and whilst commercial software companies are not the enemy of OS, Microsoft is ;-)

Re:Mandatory defies the nature of open source.... (2, Insightful)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199743)

Open Source is not (for me) a creedo, it's a licensing scheme that is counter-monopolistic. You're argument misses the point of choice... making one. For a government to *choose* Open Source, they'll want to deploy it broadly and not have every single IT manager and new A+ cert holder deciding that they know best how to support the infrastructure of a government.

Your view leads to chaos, not choice.

Evil CowbodyNeal! (-1, Troll)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199612)

So you really thing Open Source isn't always the best?! Evil you, Mr Cowboy!!

No such thing as 'best tool' (4, Insightful)

albalbo (33890) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199613)

The 'best tool' term can always be used to fit whatever system you're trying to push. If you're talking about desktop systems, there's always a reason that Windows is the best tool.

If, on the other hand, you are interested in making a change and making people aware of the choice out there, then yes it probably needs to be mandated - what the Government is saying is that it is more important that we have control over our software than features, necessarily. That's 'best tool', but more of a long-term view..

Re:No such thing as 'best tool' (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199738)

To paraphrase another poster, a tool that does 90% of what you need it to do is no substitute for a tool that does 100% of what you need it to do. Choose the software that best performs the task, as evaluated by you. And having control over software is no substitute for the remaining 10%, if you need it immediately.

FIRST ON TOPIC POST (-1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199615)

mmm, girlies with brazilians

Huh? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199617)

It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.

What, are you new around here or something?

Budget crunches. (5, Insightful)

Eevee (535658) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199621)

Brazil's not exactly overflowing with cash at the moment. A tool that does 90% of the job for free is better than a tool that does 100% of the job but that you can't afford to purchase.

Re:Budget crunches. (5, Insightful)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199698)

A tool that does 90% of the job for free is better than a tool that does 100% of the job but that you can't afford to purchase.

I have yet to see a tool that does 100% of what a person needs. Even if you are paying for the software development, it never works just right. In the end, you wind up changing your process to match what the tool can provide.

That being said, even if the split were 60% to 80%, it could easily justify the OSS solution. After all, how many people use more that 30% of the capabilities of MS Office?

$, once again (1)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199745)

The goal of the migration is to save money by finding alternatives to expensive proprietary licenses.

Which I can totally understand. In this case, folks, it's not about philosophy, it's about economics. The Brazilian government shouldn't have to wreck its budget because some of its members are complacent enough to stay with Microsoft forever.

The one thing I'm curious about (not morbidly curious, just curious) is how much the consulting and other migration costs are going to add up before the transition to open-source is completed.

Not jsut Linux (3, Interesting)

jlrowe (69115) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199623)

This is a big win even for Windows based software, such as OpenOffice and other desktop OSS software. And what about OSS server based software? That too.

But if they aren't using windows anymore... (1)

garrulous (653996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199687)

then I don't see how open software on the closed platform receives much of a benefit

Re:Not just Linux (2, Insightful)

pkunzipper (652520) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199810)

I think the real winner is the Brazilian citizens. Although the government is certainly not about to buy trhem a bunch of computers, thisis a big step towards spreading technological skills throughout the region, into schools, and into people's homes. Let's not forget that a society that cannot stay in tune with technology is doomed to be at a serious disadvantage on a global scale.

It's the economy, stupid! (2, Informative)

Dashmon (669814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199624)

[i]It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.[/i]

I don't think so. I think the main thing here is that stuff needs to be cheap (Brazil's a poor country), and has to be able to do the job - not necessaraly in the best way possible. FS is definetly free money-wise, and because techs can get the source too, any specific needs Brazil might have can cheaply be added. Also, don't forget, the sooner the mass of the people use open source, the sooner those open source apps will become the "best for the job", as people start contributing.

Oh yes, with Brazil's *new* president/goverment, it wouldn't suprise me if there's an ideological bit involved, too, which, I think, is good.

In the news ... (1)

Chromodromic (668389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199625)

Brazil removes choice from government's departmental heads.

Departmental heads reply, "Oh, THAT. Whatever. We're used to it."

Meanwhile, Slashdot readers celebrate.

Yay.

Seems like a good balance (5, Insightful)

jonman_d (465049) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199626)

This is a big win for Linux, but is making it mandatory going too far? It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.

I think an 80% mandation (is that even a word?) seems fair. You leave 20% left over for missions-critical applications (military and whatnot; remember, Brazil isn't like the US - they don't spend hundreds of billions on military, and therefore, I doubt their military computer systems make up even 10% of their infrastructure), on which you can chose software based on the best choice out there. But the remaining 80%, which represents mostly desktop applications for clerks and whatnot, will be running on OSS - this is good, because it prevents government from getting locked into restrictive licencing that usually comes with desktop production software, saves money, and encurages development of open software/standards.

I think they've met a good balance here, and I congradulate them.

Re:Seems like a good balance (3, Insightful)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199748)

Actually for military software it is even more essential that the source code is available so that the operations fo the code can be checked so tht no foreign hostile goverment put sin back-doors and listeningen in on the kommunikations and get access to secret information.

And in other news... (2, Funny)

HughJampton (659996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199628)

Brazil has been renamed "Torvaldia"

Re:And in other news... (1)

Dashmon (669814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199671)

What happened to the FS community that people think "Torvaldia" before "Stallmania"? :P

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199685)

Stallman is an arrogant prick. That's what happened.

Re:And in other news... (1)

ihsus (201256) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199700)

GNU Republic of Brazil

Re:And in other news... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199704)

Better yet, "GNU/Brazil"

Probably not... (4, Insightful)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199631)

Is mandating across the board reductions in cash expenditures for non-domestic product unfair or counter-productive? Almost certainly not. When a second/third world economy is able to reduce its hard currency outlay for soft product, it's an across the board win. When it's further possible to use local labor for support and administration, at local labor rates, it's a larger win. When all of that can be achieved *and* they're able to use the initiative as a basis for improving the technical skills pool locally, it sure seems like a win to me.

It'll be interesting to see if they can leverage access to source and freely redistributable product into a long term cost reduction strategy. Short term the win is pretty clear. Long term, open source has some way to go in maintenance cost reduction, vis. Solaris vs. RedHat and Solaris vs. Win2k

Re:Probably not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199736)

Brazil may not be a wealthy nation but it is not a poor country. Local Software companies in brazil will be hurt a lot more then Microsoft from this. Brazil needs more high tech service jobs and less textile workers and bananna harvesters.

Re:Probably not... (1)

Gooberheadly (458026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199780)

Every one of those 'local' MS based jobs funnels hard currency out of the country and off to America and Mr. Gates. If those same local people learn open source, perl, php, etc they stop shipping a hunk of *THEIR* earned wages off to Redmond, pocket more money for themselves, learn a deeper skill set, and contribute to a local pool of software and skills.

Any technology transition is complicated and has costs. The upside of this transition is a larger local upside than throwing more cash at the US.

It's all about cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199635)

Brazil is looking forward reducing costs. It is not about using the best tool. It is about using an adecuate one, but cheaper/free.

Mandatory (3, Interesting)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199639)

If closed-source software is prohibited, there's no way for companies to buy their way into Brazil.

"It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job"

That's very true, but only when you don't have mega-corporations and monopolies leveraging assets other than software (donating computer hardware, donating to social programs, etc).

While I personally believe in "the best tool for the job", governments are far more vulnerable to outside pressure than businesses.

Just As Wrong (3, Insightful)

DASHSL0T (634167) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199640)

This is just as wrong as if a country mandated 80% Microsoft. Mandate open file formats and protocols, but don't mandate people or agencies MUST use a specific type of software.
--
Who do YOU think owns UNIX? [linux-universe.com]

Re:Just As Wrong (1)

Sigurd_Fafnersbane (674740) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199757)

This is just as wrong as if a country mandated 80% Microsoft. Mandate open file formats and protocols, but don't mandate people or agencies MUST use a specific type of software.

They mandate that they will only use software for which they do not get the source/control for 20% of their computers. They do not include or exclude any software, they just state a requirement for what they want for the majority of their software.

No companies are excluded. If M$, Oracle or anybody else wants to bid for contracts in Brazil they wil be welcome along side anybody else, as long as they have a product that conforms to the requirements of the Brazilian government. It is not that any different than when the DoD demands software to be written in ADA and hardware specified in VHDL.

Excuse me? (1)

Kwil (53679) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199786)

I don't see it mandating a specific type of software. I see it mandating a specific type of licence.

And even for that, I don't see any of the specifics on the licence. Perhaps MS's Shared Source initiative would even be open enough. MS is perfectly free to develop open source alternatives that they can sell to the Brazilian Government.

Re:Just As Wrong (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199799)

They are not mandating a specific type of software. They are mandating a specific type of license. Microsoft can still sell to Brazil, they just need to pick a license that fits the rules.

It is common for companies and governments to have rules about which terms they accept in contracts. Why should software contracts be different?

Re:Just As Wrong (1)

DASHSL0T (634167) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199823)

IMO, and that is all it is, an opinion, if you mandate that software must have a particular license than you have forced yourself into choosing from that particular subset of software (that which is licensed in the way you have mandated). You thus automatically exclude what may be better, but not "licensed according to the mandate" software.

As I said, just my opinion.
--
FSF's Lawyer Speaks Out On SCO [linux-universe.com]

Mandating free software is great... (5, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199641)

It brings skills into the country and stops the export of programming jobs. It ensures that the organisatons you want to account are local. It means that all of your population can take advantage of gov't programming and development work. It reduces dependancies on countries which may or may not change their mind about you in the future. It means you aren't bound to proprietary standards (docs and APIs) which might be used to keep you on that platform. It means that the code can never be taken away from you.

Given that a countries primary mandate is social, it makes a great deal of sense to mandate free software, for the good of the country, unless you happen to be the country that is the home of Microsoft (and even then that's debatable - MS is perfectly happy to outsource programming jobs to wherever is cheapest).

The best tool for the job.... (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199649)

The best tool for a particular job might be proprietary software. However, maybe Brazil's long term goal is to alleviate themselves of proprietary software.

Certainly any software tool could be created using open source. After a few years of such creation all the best tools would be open source and Brazil will no longer be reliant any anyone but themselves. Sounds like a pretty good goal to me.

Par for course (1)

Kyoya (152664) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199654)

Making in mandatory is basically saying this is what we feel is the right tool for the job. I work at a company in assett management and we've done this on numerous occasions. In fact all computer purchases have to be IBM's. Is it because it's the right tool for the job though? Not really it's more because IBM offers us the better deal for bulk business.

All in all such logic is common throughout the industry. It's the same as a newspaper buying their classified department Macs to use for their job.

Adequacy.org is DEAD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199655)

It has come to my attention that a news site "for grown-ups", that has gradually turned into a hate site filled with reactionary anti-Linux anti-opensouce anti-AMD anti-everythingthatistheunderdog, has died.

Gaaah... I hated that site. I remember there was an article there called "is your son a computer hacker?" that was SO obviously wrong and ignorant that it just makes my blood boil to think of the lies that that idiot who wrote the article said. This was also the site that made up the comic strip "Linux zealot", that showed some stoned teenager that spent his life using Linux in vain. In one of them, there was a line that said something like "yay... finally Linux has a start button, and I wrote it in Perl, too bad it crashes half the time I click it" obviously thes people had no idea what Linux was about.

Then, I think the same dude who draws that comic made a comparison between Linux and Windows at which one is more cost effective. It was obviously a POS. He claimed that Linux cost him $79.99 while Windows came with the computer. WTF is that? The price for Windows was tacked onto the computer, and any idiot who wants to tries Linux could obviously get a distro off the net for free.

There could not be a better fate for a reactionary(ultra, ultra conservative) site filled with hate propaganda against everything that is new.

Yeah, go ahead, mod this way down.

Easy solution for Microsoft (4, Funny)

shoppa (464619) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199656)

Rename Windows to "OpenWindows", rename Word to "OpenWord", and rename Office to "OpenOffice". Done. Now all their software is good for use in Brazil.

Implied :-) for those who forgot about all the "Open-this" and "Open-that" software being tossed about in the early-to-mid-90's that really had nothing open about it at all.

Maybe (1)

Zarxos (648322) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199659)

Yeah, Open Source is great, and it's great to have the option to use it, but I'm not sure if making it mandatory is the right thing to do. And a lot of people think that Linux is Open Source, and so is everything in it, but the truth is that there are some Linux programs (not under the GPL) that are not Open Source.

80%? (1)

Steve G Swine (49788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199660)

It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.
You can make damn near anything do 80% of the job. Sadly.

Portuguese, please (5, Informative)

Indio_do_Xingu (675644) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199662)

'Chamber for the Implementation of Software Libre.'" Libre = Spanish Livre = Portuguese Portuguese, not spanish, is the spoken language in Brazil...

Re:Portuguese, please (1)

GringoGoiano (176551) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199762)

Vocà falou certo.

News flash... (1)

seigniory (89942) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199664)

Linux isn't the only free software out there...

Mandating freedom? (1, Flamebait)

dr3vil (604180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199665)

Sounds like a contradiction in terms to me. Why can't we keep the adminstrators out of these decisions? They should put their efforts into making the competition open, and let the market make the choices.

Mandatory (2, Insightful)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199667)

My bet as to why it's mandatory is that they're strapped for cash, or just want to save some.

Free versus the two hundred some odd dollars for windows could save them a lot.

Read my lips... (1)

pb9494 (550141) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199673)

... it's GNU/Linux !!!

Re:Read my lips... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199710)

Or to quote Gee Dubya: "No GNU in Texas!"

Say hello to another Wall (1)

Chromodromic (668389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199677)

It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.



Ha, it looks like you forgot your audience, bud. At Slashdot, open source is always the best tool for the job, even if the job is opening a can of dog food.



"Some guy: Oh, crap, this can opener won't work!



"Slashdot reader: Have your tried Linux?



Well, one more government has now bought into this open hysteria over open source and Slashdot readers can party over someone's choice being removed. Cool. Ha, and to think, we thought the Wall had come down.

Re:Say hello to another Wall (1)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199807)

Ha, it looks like you forgot your audience, bud. At Slashdot, open source is always the best tool for the job, even if the job is opening a can of dog food.
"Some guy: Oh, crap, this can opener won't work!
"Slashdot reader: Have your tried Linux?

Well, in fairness, have you tried Linux for opening cans of dog food???

;)

Good news for all (2, Funny)

Uttles (324447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199684)

Now if I could just land an open source development job in Rio and hang out with some of those topless Brazilians.

The best tool for the job... (5, Insightful)

zmooc (33175) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199686)

...is a tool that guarantees you it can still be used in 20 years. Only Open Source Software can assure you that. The manufacturers of Closed Source Software will eventually stop support, go backrupt or be bought by a large company that just kills it. There is absolutely no excuse to use closed source software. And "It's easier to use on the short term" is NOT an excuse if you cannot be 100% certain that your data will still be readable in 10 years.

Re:The best tool for the job... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199716)

Great point!

Re:The best tool for the job... (0)

zackeller (653801) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199755)

I disagree. With open source, you get either no software support, or you pay for it (like redhat) and then it eventually becomes unavailable, just like closed source. At least when you buy closed source you are guarenteed product support, rather than having to hire full-time geeks who understand it. If there's a problem with MS Office, you can call them up, pay them their fee, and have a solution right away. If you go with OpenOffice, you get no tech support, and instead hope that whoever you hired can fix the problem.

Holy Crap! (-1, Troll)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199691)

It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.

What is this? A level-headed and unbiased comment about a law mandating open source? THIS IS SLASHDOT BUDDY, THAT KIND OF THING IS NOT TOLERATED HERE!!

misleading title? (3, Insightful)

leekwen (677248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199701)

Are they really doing any mandating? I RTFA and it seems like they're only making the move to free software only because it's cheaper, not because they have to or anybody is forcing them to.

It only seems like they are mandating it because of the story title, even in the babelfish translation of the spanish original article title they're only 'migrating.'

I was wondering why they'd try to force open source software on anybody, isn't that against morals and such?

Is Open Source like Generic Drugs? (2, Insightful)

kompiluj (677438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199703)

In this case I see some likeness to the case of Generic Drugs. Brazil forced lower prices of patented drugs by threatening with ignoring those patents and producing cheap, generic medecines.
They won because a state is still more powerful than any corporation. Imagine what would happen if SCO won the case against Linux, while Brazil would have most of the governmental IT run by Linux. Would the surrender to the power of SCO? I doubt it. So every such case is beneficial to the stability of Open Source community

Re:Is Open Source like Generic Drugs? (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199833)

Brazil not only forced lower patent prices, it also CANCELLED some of them, and opened for anyone who wants to fabricate it, specially on AIDS treatment.

Going too far? No... (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199707)

This is a big win for Linux, but is making it mandatory going too far? It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.

I'd say Linux/Open Source (don't forget BSD;) is the best tool 80% of the time (or more) though.

Brazil might be willing to settle for a 'good enough' solution, while saving MILLIONS of dollars. Those savings really add up, year after year. Everyone touts the advantages of OSS for business, why not apply it to a whole country? Stable standards and software also increase value over time.

Linux vendors might benefit from this, in terms of support/update plans. We'll see...

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199709)

They diddnt mention this in the article, but mandating _100%_ open source software (Though not nessesarily FS) in goverment is reasonable for any democratic nation.
Goverments around the world are becoming more dependant on technology every day. Its not impossible that someone would be able to influence the democratic process through the technology it relies on.

how does it end? (1)

redJag (662818) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199713)

I don't mean to sound like a doom-sayer or anything, because I do love Open Source..but, what happens when there's an alternative, free solution to everything?
Eventually, it could easily happen. As Open Source gains popularity, it will also gain more contributions from good programmers. It is possible that the Open Source solutions created, basically in programmers' free time, could equal and/or surpass every commercial product out there.

Then what do those Open Source programmers do? P.S. Sorry if this has been said a lot before, seems like something that would be but I've never seen it said once. Correct me :)

Not Going Too Far (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199714)

but is making it mandatory going too far?

In the transition to a fully open source office, the initial training expense is high (not because Windows is easier, but because everyone already knows how to use it). After the initial expense, and assuming a large installed base (to facilitate peer support), the cost savings are enormous. Government offices are the perfect places to take advantage of these facts - no quarterly stockholder reports to worry about means the initial expense won't affect anyone's bonus, and the massive user base makes peer support extremely cost effective.

Wholly aside from the cost efficiency aspect is the open government and independence issue. As things stand, Brazil is dependent on Microsoft, and runs on software to which Brazil's citizens have no access. This is hardly an appropriate position for democracy to find itself in.

actually it's a good business model (4, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199731)

mandating open software over closed is a financial and logical extension of the notion that government should be more cost effective, accessible to all comers, more equitable and be able to accomplish it's tasks. What this does is to put a huge incentive on other software companies to compete on terms of usability and service, instead of locked in closed formats and inertia, ie, holding them ransom for money every year beyond what is really necessary to spend, which is the model most governments and busineses have been using for a long time, but times change now. Cost is a serious consideration, and open source has enough variety to do the bulk of what needs to be done, and shows every indication of soon doing *all* of it.. If-obvious reference- microsoft wants to still compete, the ball is in their court now, there's several avenues they can persue, either drop prices to a much more realistic level and open up their document formats in particular, or go full bore open source same as linux and bsd vendors,make their profit from service and reliability and security, and also the same thing applies to various specific applications they might require.

The "right tool for the job" is the correct assessment, but you must needs take all the variables into account when considering your selection. Example, I can dig out a small gadren spot to make a new flower bed, I could lease a trackhoe, by golly that thing is very efficient in digging out the bed, and it's sure a tool, but all things considered the better tool would be me, the garden sysadmin and my shovel I own and don't have to rent.

I don't think the brazilians are stupid, they can see the advantages in cost, long term viability, having the freedom to develop custom in house, having the notion that more of their people will have lawful access to the same tools for more universal access, and so on.

Put it another way, it would sure be bogus if to use the highway here I had to only drive a belchfire, and government wouldn't use anything but belchfires, and they were real expensive all the time with expensive parts and expensive maintenance. That's been almost completely "mandated" so far, time to move on to another idea.

Hence the other 20% (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199734)

If Mac OS X or Unix is needed for something, or someone absolutely must have a Windows box, then there's the remaining 20%, which will always have some space left in it if you keep adding open source machines, and converting older machines to open source.

The best laid plans of men and mice... (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199740)

....gang oft agley.

The article, if you read it, says that accpording to one newspaper story, the government PLANS to move SLOWLY (starting with one pilot; ramping up ove rthree years) to Open Source.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your viewpoint, plans and especially government plans often do not work out. ("No New Taxes", remember that one?). So I would not cheer. Or worry. Just yet.

Michael

We'll see more of these stories (5, Interesting)

DaveMe (19844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199742)

Just a reminder of what just happened in Munich, Germany: while trying to convince public administration to choose Windows, Microsoft dramatically reduced its prices. So, if you're a big company or a public entity, the sole announcement that you consider the Linux alternative can save you a couple of million dollars. Not considering OSS alternatives will cost you or your taxpayers millions of dollars.

That's why competition is so good.

Going to far, dont think so. (1)

pstreck (558593) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199750)

This is a big win for Linux, but is making it mandatory going too far? It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.


I think that is why it is mandatory for 80% of the computers and not 100%.

Re:Going to far, dont think so. (1)

amembleton (411990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199803)

Why should it be mandatory though? I don't mind encouragement through support but making people use it shouldn't be done.

This should be upto the individuals in-charge of the different department's IT expenditure. Mind-you they might have got together to agree this so that there is more of a standard across the board.

who knows.

best tool (1)

agurkan (523320) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199753)

It would seem wiser to support a solution that favors the best tool for the job, which may not always be an open source product.
We are talking about government here. Their job is long term well-being of their people. OSS is the best tool for this job.

30 million people... (1)

ihsus (201256) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199758)

...below poverty line. Some of them starving. It's a nice idea to stop sending money abroad for tasks which could be made domestically. Besides, this 80% ratio will make corruption more difficult in software acquisitions, since it will require a hell of brazilian bureaucracy to acquire proprietary systems.

Becoming a Trend? (2, Interesting)

fastdecade (179638) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199770)

Notice [slashdot.org] A [slashdot.org] Trend? [slashdot.org]

Ballmer [slashdot.org] Does! [slashdot.org]

MS is going through what happened to IBM years ago. "No-one ever got sacked for buying IBM". Decision makers like to run with MS (whether for desktop, development, whatever) because if things go wrong, they at least can't be accused of using "weird" stuff like Linux.

But when others start having the courage to adopt Linux, it becomes less of an excuse. Indeed, if other governments are successful with Linux, decision makers who play conservative will even have to justify why they chose Microsoft when there are other viable alternatives.

If years of gluttony have eroded product and service quality, as IBM discovered, a monopolistic empire can quickly crumble.

This is good for software all round. I am pleased to see Linux getting some action in conservative quarters. I am also pleased that Microsoft will be forced to innovate. Flame if you must, but I think they have always been very good in responding to challenges. Yes, some of that had involved questionable tactics. But they have also made some top innovations over the years, or at least commercialised cutting edge research and ideas which were formerly obscure (e.g. Windows 95 interface - Start Menu, Taskbar etc ... Pocket PC interface ... Tablet PCs). Current activities will give provide needed funds to Linux development and also provide an impetus to MS to get its act together. Good news all round.

Government goes anti-copyright? (3, Insightful)

GammaTau (636807) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199778)

One thing that really bugs me about many governments around the world is how they are never willing to touch the fundamental issue behind free vs. proprietary software. Copyright is a government-granted exclusive right to a work. If this government-granted right is hurting the society, the society should reconsider the principles behind the copyright.

I find it insane that the Brazilian government first grants each author with strong rights for the software they write and then they say that sorry, we can't use such software because you use the rights we have given you. I also find it insane that the US government grants software authors similar rights and when one company simply uses those government-granted rights (well, I guess you know what company I'm talking about), the government sues it for abusing those rights.

Making open source mandatory is pointless. The proper way to change things is not to grant anyone privileges that hurt the society. The copyright, to some extent, might be a good thing. If it becomes such a bad thing that the government itself wishes to use only copyleft software, there is something fundamentally flawed either in the government decision or the copyright law.

Mandate Free Software (4, Interesting)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199779)

We should mandate free software for government not because "it's the best widget for the woozle problem," but because it's _public_.

The government shouldn't be subsidizing some _private_ interest if there is a public alternative.

Then they'll have to develop an O/S one (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199788)

That can't be bad...

Re:Then they'll have to develop an O/S one (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6199806)

Meet Conectiva [conectiva.com.br] , a brazilian distro.

Smart, but risky move (2, Interesting)

nozpamming (664873) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199792)

I think this is a very smart, but somewhat risky move. 80% is a lot of computers for a lot of people. I sure hope that this will not cause major chaos as these kind of overhauls do tend to cause. Government institutions can be notoriously bad at implenting new technology (although exceptions appear of course). I am not sure how Brazil is doing at the moment, but I hope this move will not interfere with what is already a weak economic situation.

What Brazil may hope to achieve is jumpstarting a good developer community and user base by this action and jump the gun on other countries in the world giving them a competitive advantage in the future. I wish them all the best...

Umm... (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199816)

This is a big win for Linux, but is making it mandatory going too far?

My guess is thats where that other 20% comes in

Mandatory (4, Interesting)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199827)

Yes, in an ideal world, everyone has choice.
We should all realize, though, that often the power to choose is wasteful, and unnecessary. What do I mean?

Do you know how much time, effort, and money gets wasted having some government committee trying to decide what software to use for something? How many factors are involved? And we're talking latin america here, don't forget bribes.

The choice to use free software is not the same as the "choice" to use Windows. Free software encompasses a whole range of things; somteimes, an edict like this is what it TAKES To change things.

Canada switched to the metric system in a very short time. How? It was forced on everyone. Once you accept it, it's EASY. Yet we still have people in the US with silly studies saying how it would take 100 years for the US to switch, the logistics, yadda yadda. Guess what, if it was actually decreed that you HAD to switch, you would find a way, it wouldn't be anywhere near as disruptive as everyone says, and so on.
The same happened with the switch to the Euro.. tons of people had studies and reports shownig how switching was going to be a HUGE disaster, how it wouldn't work. Guess what, it went rather well.

Given what government does, I'm sure they can fit whatever applications absolutely cannot be replaced by free alternatives in the 20% non-free they are allowed.

What I'm saying is, in practice, sometimes removing choice is the ONLY way to force a real shift in how things are done. I mean, people have had a choice all along, and the pressures involved caused them to chose proprietary things.

Mr Darl? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199831)

Mr Darl? A one way ticket to Brazil? [sec.gov]

THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002
In connection with the quarterly report of The SCO Group, Inc. (the "Company") on Form 10-Q, for the quarter ended April 30, 2003, the undersigned certifies, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350, as adopted pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, that to the best of each of our knowledge:

1. The quarterly report fully complies with the requirements of Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; and
2. The information contained in the quarterly report fairly presents, in all material respects, the financial condition and results of operations of the Company.

By: Darl McBride, President and Chief Executive OfficerDate: June 13, 2003

The entire SCO quarterly report is found here [sec.gov]

What this may mean is that... (4, Interesting)

Kickstart70 (531316) | more than 11 years ago | (#6199835)

...when the right tool for the job can't be found then it will be sought by this gov't. That is excellent news, as it builds the open source pool of software, and pays (hopefully local brazilian) open source software writers for their effort.

KS
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