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MIT Urges Brazilian Government to Use Linux

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the tux-at-carnivale dept.

Education 223

sebFlyte writes "MIT's Media Lab has written to the Brazillian government (who is looking into a method to get its citizens cheap, high quality PCs) and has urged them to use Linux. From the article: 'Free software is far better on the dimensions of cost, power and quality...if the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning.'"

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well... (-1, Redundant)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975040)

I'm sure they will welcome their new LINUX overlords...

yey (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975044)

I'm first!!!!

Re:yey (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975061)

Frikkin' sharks with lasers!

Lol

Re:yey (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975288)

stop saying lol . jesus wept! i will kill you for saying lol so much! why - o - why. jesus wept (again) oh bloody fuck fuck shit wankstain bastard think of something else, like a proper repliy. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Re:yey (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975062)

no your not

you fail it

haaahaahaaahaahaahaaahaahaahahaaaaaaa!

Well... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975059)

It isn't like MIT is going to recommend BSD is it?

Re:Well... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975269)

Because BSD is from Berkeley, and they compete with MIT, right?

But, of course... (0, Troll)

spankey51 (804888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975080)

That's blatently communist... Catching wind of this alleged letter to "Brazil" , Gates had MIT shutdown, found the letter, burned it, then pissed on the ashes.

knowledge source (5, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975083)

if the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning

Incredible: it's the best argument I've heard about it. I don't really like the usage of the words "rob" and how emphatical it sounds but it's right.

Anyway, I learnt on an Acorn RiscPC (closed source OS) which was really ergonomical and it was also good so I sugest he should revise his consideration : open source is good but ergonomy also is and I'm afraid that, because progresses still have to be made, they can't argue much on this point.

Anyway I think the World would be better if the Brazilians heard that argument and accepted the principle.

Hooray for the MIT ! :)

Re:knowledge source (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975212)

"if the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning..."

Absolutely right -- for the incredibly tiny percentage of the general computer-using population that is actually going to learn programming. However, the overwhelming majority of computer users AREN'T programmers (just as the majority of people who drive cars aren't car mechanics.)

Re:knowledge source (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975402)

But it would help all of us if those members of the general public who were interested had easy access to a car's computer diagnostic codes and wholesale access to parts, yes?

Closing access to something always helps the privileged party at the direct expense of society as a whole.

Re:knowledge source (3, Insightful)

melonman (608440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975259)

It sounds like a really bizarre argument to me. If the general population wants to browse source code on a Saturday night (and is this true even where MIT staff live?) they don't need their governments' computers to be running it, they just need to download some source code. What might be of interest to the general population is better access to what is stored using the government's OS, but "open data" is not quite the same thing.

Incidentally, I learned to program on an Acorn too, and still use my RiscPC for certain tasks. 10-character filenames weren't that ergonomic though, and of course Acorn and their largest developer could never agree what look and feel to go for anyway.

just a thought (1)

phyruxus (72649) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975551)

>>If the general population wants to browse source code on a Saturday night [...] they don't need their governments' computers to be running it, they just need to download some source code.

Just a thought.. if you're running windows and you download the linux source to ponder, it's purely academic from your standpoint. You can't directly apply what you learn, you can't fiddle and observe results. You might as well be looking at it through a glass wall. But if you already run linux, and you peek and poke at the source, you can observe first hand what results and why.

This isn't so convincing a reason for the individual user, but for the gov't of Brazil, the collective difference in value is probably considerable, if they are thinking about their future IT industry.

Hi Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva!

Re:knowledge source (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975285)

if the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning - actually it is one of the worst arguments. I don't think that most people who buy TV care to learn how to build one or how to modify the one they have.

The effort aims to sell up to one million computers, with costs partially subsidised by the government, to lower-middle-income Brazilians this year. - now, from this we can come up with a much better argument, and voila, it is in the article: "Free software is far better on the dimensions of cost, power and quality." - I am not sure how much a box would cost to the lower-middle-income Brazilians, but if the cost can be reduced by providing a free OS, then that is a much better argument. Those who care to learn something from the source of an OS will load a Free OS and look at it anyway.

Re:knowledge source (2, Insightful)

Eternally optimistic (822953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975338)

No, it is the best argument. Open source gives an opportunity to lear for free, especially when development tools are available free as well. This helps those people who are interested in learning.

Re:knowledge source (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975485)

You are so silly. People are interested in learning, of-course, but most people are not interested in learning software programming. Most people are interested in being able to run their favorite applications, games etc., that run on MS Windows. Now, people who are actually interested in learning about software can just as easily start with a proprietory system, like most of us did, and then, if they become interested in learning something serious about the OS, they can just as easily download a GNU/Linux distro and learn from it.

Most Free software runs on Windows as well. So anyone can download cygwin, php, apache software, whatever.

So actually, this so called 'best argument' is not an argument.

The argument becomes accessibility, and if MS Windows adds 25$ to the total cost of the purchase, will it be purchased by all who want to get one of those cheap computers?

In this situation GNU/Linux is better for those who are really in the lower class situation.

MS Windows is better for those who can afford the extra cash.

Re:knowledge source (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975569)

There is a project to make a "Popular Computer" which would cost R$ 1400,00, or roughly US$ 500,00, using some sort of Windows-wannabe distro.

Re:knowledge source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975303)

It's not that great of an argument, actually. Programmers are a narrow subset of the population of any country. Competent, Linux-interested programmers with both the ability and willingness to solve problems are a VERY narrow subset.

And they don't speak Spanish in Brazil, you know. It's Portuguese.

Re:knowledge source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975546)

anyone waiting for the Brain dead CEO's of the computer industry to decry the MIT people as uneducated idiots who do not know what they are talking about??

I can hear Gates and Co already...

"MIT is not the best place to get advice, it's not like they have experience or knowlege let alone people with advanced degrees.", said CEO of Microsoft S Ballmer...

I cant wait!

Opinion may change... (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975086)

When M$ 'donates' cash for a new MIT lab. Good move MIT.

Re:Opinion may change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975161)

MIT doesn't need Microsoft's dirty money. Some universities are still in it for the good stuff, anyway.

Re:Opinion may change... (1)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975394)

MS already did build them a lab. Its even named after Bill Gates. Of course, dont let a M$ bashing opportunity pass by, no matter how ridiculous.

from the tux-at-carnivale dept. (4, Funny)

ziggamon2.0 (796017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975087)

The title says it all!

The MIT guys just want a reason to be invited to the carnival!
You go guys!

Maybe there even is a tux-at-carnivale department at MIT...

Re:from the tux-at-carnivale dept. (1)

Tuffsnake (767507) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975167)

tuxes ... penguins ... linux?

hehe but seriously, what power/influence does MIT really have? I mean yeah they are obviously a well respected university but it seems to me like it would be more meaningful if this endorsement were to come from a government agency here or maybe some computer/linux provider who might be able to suggest they go with linux and then be able to work with them to implement it

Re:from the tux-at-carnivale dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975195)

The fact that they've been responsible for many of the great advances in software isn't enough? They've done more for computing that a Red Hat or Novell ever will.

Re:from the tux-at-carnivale dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975415)

Probably that desparate MIT lab guy is hoping that he can go to brazil and bang some chicks. Nice move buddy .. lot to see here, come on ~~

over 1 bilion infactdead zombIEs still active? (1)

already_gone (848753) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975088)

wonder what those brazillians know that most of US are missing?

lookout bullow.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everybody (without ANY distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives) since/until forever. see you there?

Re:over 1 bilion infactdead zombIEs still active? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975342)

What the fuck is "bullow?"

Perhaps you meant to say "look out below."

English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?

Sounds superfluous (1)

leandrod (17766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975092)

I wonder why, if it is an already estabilished State policy in Brazil.

And no, I didn't RTFineA.

Re:Sounds superfluous (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975163)

They want Orkut all to themselelves.

Linux now includes an Orkut kill switch. But since its Open Source, its a-ok ;)

Re:Sounds superfluous (2, Informative)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975186)

I think you are right, but this is a different initiative:

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and several ministers may decide as early as this week whether free software or a simplified version of Microsoft's Windows will be installed on computers for a new effort called PC Conectado, or the Connected PC. The effort aims to sell up to one million computers, with costs partially subsidised by the government, to lower-middle-income Brazilians this year.

Logical Move (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975095)

I know that Linux is used widely throughout the government in Brazil for their work, it seems only logical that they would load Linux on the machines they are distributing throughout their country for the poor.

Re:Logical Move (2, Informative)

michelcultivo (524114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975304)

Also the Brazilian Government has done a Migration Guide to Free Software [governoeletronico.gov.br] that is widely used on another public projects here in Brazil.

Re:Logical Move (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975568)

I know that Linux is used widely throughout the government in Brazil for their work, it seems only logical that they would load Linux on the machines they are distributing throughout their country for the poor.
Supposing their bureaucracy can be as bad as the ones I've experienced, or their HR as idiotic as many when it comes to IT, people had better learn how to use that free software if they want jobs in the administration.

But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975100)

If they use Linux they will be robbed of something even more valuable... Half Life 2.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975155)

Hmm I just thought If everyone switched from windows to linux software piracy would all but vanish. (shh don't tell the bsa)

Re:But... (4, Informative)

Brando_Calrisean (755640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975183)

I know you're just kidding, but Half-Life 2 does run on Linux [transgaming.com] too. :)

What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

turtled (845180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975110)

I don't see why it's a big deal the MIT is contributing to the needs of Brazil. MIT is highly respected and not taken lightly. Good for them for helping out.

UK Gov... (4, Interesting)

Zebadias (861722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975119)

Here in the UK the waste of money in the public sector on MS and other software licences is huge! If only we took such a forward thinking approch.

Re:UK Gov... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975153)

To take a forward thinking approach would require a forward thinking Government. That the current Government only recently decided that provided real food to children in school diners was just too much bother, I don't even see much evidence of right thinking, let alone forward thinking.

The only forward thinking being done by New Labour right now is forward to May 2005. It gets a little hazy for the next four years or so after that.

Excellent value (5, Funny)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975205)

Don't be so silly - we get excellent value for our IT services - it's a snip, at £48,000,000,000 per year to manage 160,000 government computers - I mean, seriously, that's only £300,00 per computer, per year, which is pretty minimal - and there's no such thing as 'free' software - if there was, microsoft would have told us about it.

Anyway, I'm in charge of government IT purchasing here, and it's just fine, thanks - oh, hang on, gotta go, the kids are playing on my gold plated runway again.

Re:UK Gov... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975433)

>>the waste of money in the public sector on MS and other software licences is huge!

Huh?

OS and off-the-shelf software costs are only a tiny fraction of the cost of UK government IT.

Don't blame MS for this. Blame EDS and stupid govt procurement, lax contracts and general public sector bovin stupidity.

Linux is free but not cheap (5, Insightful)

littlem (807099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975120)

I found the article very encouraging. I think there's a danger of Linux appearing as something that's a cheap alternative used in the third world because they can't afford "first rate" proprietary software. This is patronizing both to Linux and to third world countries. It's great to see intelligent arguments to choose open source beyond simple cost being made by a government, as in If the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning.

Good News! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975133)

I hope that the brazilian goverment take this in consideration.. that would be good news for the people in Brazil and for Mandrake :)

What learning? (0, Troll)

Morphix84 (797143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975136)

Saying that hiding the source for an Operating System from the general public robs them of learning is like saying keeping Quantum Physics textbooks away from six year olds robs them of learning.

Re:What learning? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975216)

Replace "quantum physics" with "trigonometry" and "six year olds" with "twelve year olds", and you're closer.

Some twelve year olds like trig, and sometimes go on to become brilliant creators. The point is valid, even if programming's not for everybody.

Re:What learning? (1)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975220)

That was the worst analogy I've ever seen I think.

So you claim all computer users are morons??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975231)

Surely you jest!

Just because many users don't really want to look at a kernel doesn't mean that the others should not be DENIED the oportunity to learn.

Re:What learning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975247)

I'm glad you finally realized that./sarcasm But it is more like saying keeping the hood of the car openable is a foolish thing, people might tinker with it.

MOD PARENT DOWN -1 Troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975249)

I find your argument to be offensive to both the general public and open source software.

Re:What learning? (2, Insightful)

Chris Hodges (670481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975253)

Saying that hiding the source for an Operating System from the general public robs them of learning is like saying keeping Quantum Physics textbooks away from six year olds robs them of learning.

While that may be true for the vast majority of the population, it's an insult to the minority who will tinker with the code of the OSS they are exposed to, get a taste for it, and go on to develop a home-grown software industry as a result.

Re:What learning? (4, Insightful)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975325)

While that may be true for the vast majority of the population, it's an insult to the minority who will tinker with the code of the OSS they are exposed to, get a taste for it, and go on to develop a home-grown software industry as a result.

How very true! Somewhere out there, in Brazil, or anywhere else, is a kid who wants to learn how an OS works, and wants to try his hand at making it better. Who the hell are Megacorps to deny that kid the right to do that, just because "the majority doesn't need to know".

By the way, Marcello Tossati, maintainer of the 2.4 kernel, is from Brazil. He works for the local Brazilian distro called Connectiva. How could any of this have been possible if the world only had a shoddy Microsoft playpen to play in, with the nicest toys only meant for the privileged few employed by Megacorp to write operating systems?

Re:What learning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975467)

I agreed with that right up to where you started the whole "Think of the Children!®" crap, now I'm having second toughts...

M-i-n-o-r-i-t-y (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975527)

Here is what genius above really means:

"While it may be true for everyone but the .00000001% who actually tinker with it."

When you put it that way, people will say Fsck the minority (unless theyre gay hackers who want to get married, then we all have to care whether we do or not)

tt

Re:What learning? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975293)

yes, and who would put in place a policy to keep kids from learning? oh yes, America.

Re:What learning? (1, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975312)

Saying that hiding the source for an Operating System from the general public robs them of learning is like saying keeping Quantum Physics textbooks away from six year olds robs them of learning.

No kidding. That's always been the least compeeling linux argument for me (and I say this as a user) - it is NOT possible for even a college trained programmer to go in and start playing with even a small OSS project. I'd say less than 100 Brazillians would be benefited from the "openness" angle of linux. It pretty much comes down to cost and an abstract principle that has no impact for them.

Re:What learning? (3, Informative)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975359)

No kidding. That's always been the least compeeling linux argument for me (and I say this as a user) - it is NOT possible for even a college trained programmer to go in and start playing with even a small OSS project.

Then why was the Brazilian kid Marcelo Tossatti, not even gone to college yet at the time, elected by Linus Torvalds as maintainer of the freakin' LINUX KERNEL (2.4.x)?

The openness doesn't hurt, so if doesn't benefit you, don't whine about it.

Re:What learning? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975403)

Just because your grandma can't figure out how to use a mouse yet, You souldn't transfer that to a population of dispriviledged people that are eager to learn new skills to they can get a better job and maybe feed themselves and their family properly. And learning how to program with Linux will certainly land those people a better job than learning how to use MS Word. It's really all about motivation when you get down to it.

At the same time that there are millions of unemployed brazilian workers, the industries are in desperate need of trained professionals, and that's why Linux computers for the masses are a Good Thing.

Re:What learning? (2, Insightful)

micromoog (206608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975425)

The point no one's making: those 100 (probably more like several thousand - Brazil ain't dumb) people can directly help everyone else. Under closed software, the only real help comes from the vendor, who in this case has a terrible track record.

Re:What learning? (1)

00420 (706558) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975390)

Yes, because there are only as many programmers in the world as there are 6-year-old quantum physicists.

Also, what if some 6-year-old out there was smart enough to learn quantum physics? Would you not be robbing that child of learning by denying textbooks? Just because other children wouldn't benefit from the books doesn't mean that child wouldn't.

Thinking small. (3, Insightful)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975450)

I hate to sound like RMS but you do realize that when most people say Linux they mean more than just the kernel?

All of the software is open. You can go look at the code for ls or the Gimp or whatever you want. Yes only a few hardcore geeks will care about the internals of kernel code but your missing the point.

With all of the software being open you can always look at what is going on. You can always change whatever you want. You can always verify that your code is free of spyware/trojans/whatever.

Having access to the code is not just one thing it's a lot of things and I don't think you really get it.

Re:What learning? (5, Insightful)

MartinG (52587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975484)

No, its like saying that hiding Quantum Physics textbooks from the general public robs them of learning.

Re:What learning? (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975491)

Except that computers are a bit more of a real life skill than quantum, and it would be rather more useful for the Brazilian nation if they could better understand the OS they are using and who knows, even write code for it.

Justin.

IDE = Good (3, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975534)

Saying that hiding the source for an Operating System from the general public robs them of learning is like saying keeping Quantum Physics textbooks away from six year olds robs them of learning.

Worst analogy ever, and inaccurate.

I am a successful software engineer. I started my interest in computers primarily on a system called CDC Plato, and later on the TRS-80, both which had the development environment available and integrated into the OS by default, not unlike most Linux installations. The convenience of being able to tinker with software in varying degrees of involvement without having to acquire extra, expensive tools and exponentially larger learning curves made all the difference.

I really feel sorry for kids today trying to learn programming. There are no IDEs conveniently available within Windows by default. At best, one can hope to master the user interface of a particular version of some proprietary software -- all of which is subject to instant obsoletion upon release of a subsequent version.

WTF? (2, Insightful)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975581)

What idiot modded this up as "insightful"?

I would like to point out, that until you first sat down at a computer, you were a member of the general public. Dickhead.

Other money-saving ideas... (1, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975140)

Several other people have also written Brazil to advise them to use FedEx for their International shipping to save money.

It seems that even ZDNET doesn't realise... (2, Insightful)

oscartheduck (866357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975141)

free software is not the same as Open Source. Maybe it's something to do with their logo, "Where technology means business." Minor point, but still.

But ... (-1, Flamebait)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975146)

Linux isn't secure and doesn't scale well.

Re:But ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975214)

Linux isn't secure and doesn't scale well.

You are not intelligent and probably dumb

Re:But ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975547)

sure, just ask google.com ;)

Influence (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975156)

With all due respect to the Media Lab, the people who brought us....ummm...well nothing useful yet... I hope that they don't expect the government of the largest South American nation to make policy decisions based on a (relatively) small component of a foreign university.

While I agree whole-heartedly with the content of their message, I am constantly reminded that the egos of many individuals in this over-rated school are larger than the Great Dome itself.

Just what my grandmother was saying (1)

moronikos (595352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975185)

...and my uncle who uses the net to surf for pr0n.
if the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning.'"
They were saying they wish the source code was available for Windows so they could learn from it. Yeah, right... The general population doesn't give a damn about learning from the source. Propaganda!

Bravo, but bye-bye funding (1)

Bozdune (68800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975194)

Talk about antagonizing your big money corporate sponsors, including the guy who built the new building around the corner on Vassar St. Gutsy move, but not a terribly bright one, unless self-immolation is their next plan.

Re:Bravo, but bye-bye funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975499)

It sounds like "not becoming America Jr." is part of their big plan. Good for them.

Computers for the poor. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975199)

Ok, Save the hassle, flamebait, troll what ever.. What will these poor people do with these computers? Why not fix the country, fix the government, fix the future of the people instead of giving them Computers. Hmm lets see, I'm sure linux will help them manage their NON EXISITING bank accounts. Or, I could be looking at this the wrong way, and if i am, fine, correct me.

The Nigerian model (4, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975300)

"I'm sure linux will help them manage their NON EXISITING bank accounts."

Give them email accounts, and they will quickly fill these bank accounts:

"Dear Sir, Confidential Business Proposal Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigeri^H^HBrazillian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts. The above sum resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed, commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor. This action was however intentional and since then the fund has been in a suspense account at The Central Bank Of Nig^H^H^HBrazillian Apex Bank."

Re:Computers for the poor. (1)

derbs (563933) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975434)

Brazil government saves money by using OSS. Money saved can be pumped into social problems (although it probably wouldn't be)

Re:Computers for the poor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975471)

Other countries do not use computers in the same manner as we do. Think about this. Several computers in a classroom or town hall means that people can have access to say science classes without the expense of building a lab. Nurses (some of the poorer areas do not have doctors easily available) can download latest medical information, or upload questions to doctors in the major cities for help. Farmers can learn more about better agriculture techniques, weather changes, or even prices for their crops.

That is why the "bridging the digital divide" is so important. Personal computers and internet connection is a short cut for these countries to catch up with the rest of the world.

Digital Inclusion (2, Informative)

michelcultivo (524114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975225)

The Brazilian Government is doing this to do the Digital Inclusion [http] that the citizens need, only fews people here in Brazil has access to a computer and Internet connection.
Bill Gates tryed to do a meeting [usatoday.com] with our president Lula but by the way it don't happened.

Get your degree in international business (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975227)

Remember when MIT was all about mathematics, science and engineering rather than a international public policy think-tank?

Oh well, there's still Caltech and Harvey Mudd.

Re:Get your degree in international business (4, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975431)

Remember when MIT was all about mathematics, science and engineering rather than a international public policy think-tank?

No I don't. MIT has always been influential in areas of policy, especially as it relates to technology, science, linguistics, media, etc. If MIT wasn't a great source of knowledge, nobody would care what they think.

not (just) linux (4, Insightful)

jschauma (90259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975238)

The article does not mention anywhere that ``MIT Urges Brazilian Government to Use Linux'',. MIT seems to suggest to use ``Free software''. I wish people would stop equating the two; there are many, many other free software or open source projects that are not linux, and I believe it's harmful to the overall open source community to continue to enforce the notion that Open Source == Linux (and linux only).

Re:not (just) linux (2, Insightful)

micromoog (206608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975461)

Linux is definitely the poster child OS (with Firefox now starring as the poster child app). It's easier for the general public to get its mind around a real thing rather than an abstract concept.

That said, the success of Linux will breed success for all FOSS.

I can't comment (-1, Offtopic)

(3067) (867811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975262)

My ips been banned !

Re:I can't comment (-1, Offtopic)

(3067) (867811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975296)

Yes I can ! I'm sorry ! Please don't ban my ip again !

MIT? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975278)

What does MIT know about free software?!?

I have a feeling this is (0)

GatesGhost (850912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975283)

part of a large scale mit hack

Re:I have a feeling this is (1)

GatesGhost (850912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975540)

hey, fuck you mod for the -1! it could be.

LOL! (1, Funny)

presarioD (771260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975287)

I just received the new product catalog from HP and Windows Media Player Suite is at the "bargain" price of $200.

LOL!!! That gave me a good laugh! Talking about irrelevancy here! Somebody needs to send them xine or mplayer on a 50cent CD with a $1 red ribbon on it. They just do not get it and it will be a while since they do, but it will be too late.

Insulting the intelligence of the population with the FUD campaign won't cut it either!

Go Brazil! Europe and Asia are following suite sooner or later!

MIT, one step forward again ... (2, Insightful)

wagner_bila (796889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975374)

I'm a Brazilian and i always see many things that MIT is one step further than others institutions or governments, that's why i see MIT as a visionary college, from the current present to the near future ... once again, i have to say that i strongly agree with MIT vision and i think it is time to get rid of fear on using Linux, Open Source software, and thinking the user is so dummy to grasp any other OS than Windows ... lower costs will reach more people, which means more users and then more programmers ...

why (1)

suezz (804747) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975378)

why are they considering even putting windows on these boxes - if the government runs linux on a number of their pc's it should be a slam dunk.

maybe corporations are trying to use this as a training opportunity for their employees - if all the corporations run windows and the employees run windows at home then their training costs would be practically zero. but if they run linux then the corporations will have to train them or take their business where the people know windows already.

call me paranoid but this is just a thought. I can't think of another reason why they would even be considering a broken version of windows. the people can learn how to do all kinds of stuff using linux.

Ubuntu is clealy the answer..... (1)

RazorJ_2000 (164431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975380)

Clearly, if they just ordered the Ubuntu disks, then they could get one for each citizen. Crap, please don't /. Ubuntu ordering free disks now.....


Ubuntu Linux [ubuntulinux.org] or just go here: Ubuntu Shipit [ubuntulinux.org]



Stop with the propaganda Droids (3, Insightful)

cheezemonkhai (638797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975382)

Could somebody please explain how this:

"MIT's Media Lab has written to the Brazillian
government (who is looking into a method to get
its citizens cheap, high quality PCs) and has
urged them to use Linux."

Was derived from this:

From the article: 'Free software is far better on
the dimensions of cost, power and quality...if
the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from
the general population. This robs them of a
tremendous source for learning.'"

They said free software, not GPL or GNU/Linux

You could run Hurd or BSD.
Why is it that everyone associates Free == Linux.

Is Linux (OS) becoming MS? (2, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975406)

FTA
Some cabinet members think consumers should have a choice between buying a computer with open source software and paying slightly more for a machine with Microsoft software. They think this approach would make sense to reach consumers who are already familiar with Microsoft software. But free-software advocates within Lula's administration believe Microsoft should be excluded from the program.

I'm all for Linux (OSS), but a bit disturbed when when advocates of any technology try to advocate less choice. Why NOT give the people the option to have MS or OSS? Trying to force "free" or "open" software upon the people doesn't sound open or free to me!

Ideology trumping pragmatism...again (1)

mr_majestyk (671595) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975419)

"If the source code is proprietary, it is hidden from the general population. This robs them of a tremendous source for learning,"

This sounds overblown. Giving computers to 1 million of the country's poorest citizens will *grant them* a tremendous source for learning, regardless of the operating system that is used. I don't think the ability to hack the source code is going to have an impact on the "learning" for the vast majority of these users.

"[Open] source serves not only as an example of programming ideas and implementations, but also the development community serves as an accessible social learning community of practice."

Huh? What does this sentence even mean? It just looks like a jumble of pleasant-sounding words. I mean, who can argue with "learning", "community", "ideas", and "social"?

MIT OpenCourseWare (5, Informative)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975444)

Because I am a big fan of it, I would like to take a moment to plug MIT's OpenCourseWare [mit.edu] , where you have access to MIT's entire course catalog, including assignments, videos, and other materials. Want to learn Japanese? Go for it. [mit.edu] Or perhaps Electromagnetic Fields, Forces, and Motion [mit.edu] is more to your liking. Have at thee.

MIT has shown their dedication to an open academic atmosphere and the benefits for the public of easy access to knowledge. Their endorsement of free software here is completely consistent with their previous actions.

Good for them.

What are they waiting for...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975487)

Has the Bill Gates & Lula meeting in Davos changed something ? As far I knew they're starting the transition to OSS

Are they still going to OSS ? Hope yes, but sure the M$ people are doing whatever they can (read: $$$) to stop this movement.

My country Argentina (neighbour) should follow the same movement, what're we waiting for ? stupid politians...

for the third world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11975521)

... its better to adopt freestuff from the open source, rather than go for reduced/truncated/obfuscated/discounted version of windows. without sounding anti-MS - competition is good for any business. the world would have been a very different place - but for mozilla/firefox, star/open office, php/apache/mysql, linux, postgres, gnu/hurd....welll the list goes on - but the point is we would've had a bloated windows 2005 (oops we might have one anyways), bloated office application (yeah, worse still - with hardware accelerated helper, including lensflare ;) and other whizbang), well, i still might be speaking in the realm of whats happening - but you get the point - i would be stuck with propreitary shit and pay through the nose for the favours that they extend! thank heavens.

nah, nevermind! (1)

protomala (551662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11975556)

This thing probally won't come out of the paper as the last try. Instead of doing all of this yad-yada (bla-bla-bla), government should work to lower taxes and raise salaries, so people could acctually buy a computer by themselves! I worked hard and have a nice duron 1.6, it's not a big thing and it came throught Paraguay (this mean, no taxes) as most people here do, because they can't afford a regular pc sold in shops that is 3 times more expensive.
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