Open Source and 3rd world countries

Norberto Meijome freebsd at
Fri Mar 10 11:43:28 UTC 2006

On Fri, 10 Mar 2006 09:11:48 +0700 (ICT)
Olivier Nicole <on at> wrote:

> > Sorry Nicole, but here in Brazil our government does not use pirated
> > software, and yes, they're changing to Open Source.
> That only means Brazil is not much a 3rd world country anymore...

Given that the communist block has fallen, I would say that the concept
of "3rd world countries" is rather obsolete, dont you think? :) 

> > guess this may be coming to an end, or not expanding, since the new
> > "cheap" computer for the poor people comes with Free Software.
> Yeah, sure, government did the same here in Thailand, cheap PC at $250
> with Linux, and every body did installed Windows on it as soon as they
> get home :) Because Free Software was simply not working and that was
> not what they used at school, in the internet cafe and such, there
> were not the latest and coolest games...

FWIW, I was born and raised in Argentina, and moved to Australia when I
was 23. I can tell you that as far as 1994 open source was already
making strides in the environments you usually relate to OSS
(universities, etc), which I think is somewhat in line with the rest of
the world.
By 1998 I was personally involved in 3 companies (private
tertiary education (linux) and web hosting (linux and freebsd) ) using
open source (linux and linux + freebsd, respectively). I then moved to
Sydney, and found out that things in the "first, Anglo Saxon /
Commonwealth world" were somewhat different...but not as much as one
would expect. eg.:
 - Individuals still install their WindowsXP / Office / others CD from a
friend (which is actually a copied CD from god knows where) - just like
in Argentina.
 - Individuals couldnt care less about it - just like in Argentina 
 - Companies still will install their MS Windows OS from a copied CD,
or knowingly use more licenses than they are entitled to.

The rate of this behaviour is higher in Argentina than in Australia,
but I suspect it's mainly because 1 single license of, say, Windows XP
can be as much as a whole month's salary in AR, whilst in AU it may be
a week's. 

So, yes, I agree that opensource makes a huge difference in quality
(mainly) and cost (somewhat, because those who wont buy the software
wouldnt do it anyway), but as Brazil, Germany, France and so many other
countries are showing , the best way (IMHO)  to foster OSS is to get
the goverment and education instutions to lead the way by spending
wisely the tax payers $.

And I agree with Giorgios post - talk to the people in the
countries...or go spend some time there - it's far more complex than
you think.

Sorry for the /rant :)

Best regards,

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