Brazil to mandate open source use

The Brazilian government will force public departments to migrate to open source software, but Linux vendor Conectiva says the move is unlikely to work

The Brazilian federal government is drafting a decree that will force government agencies to migrate to open source software, according to reports.

This decree, which is in the final stages of approval, will compel departments to migrate to open source software unless they can justify the continued use of proprietary software, according to news site LinuxInsider. It reported that only seven of the 22 federal ministries currently use open source software.

But Jaques Rosenzvaig, the chief executive of Brazilian Linux vendor Conectiva, said the decree is unlikely to increase the use of open source.

"Some states in Brazil already have these laws and this hasn't affected their use of open source," said Rosenzvaig. "The issue is not only to have the law, but also to enforce the law."

Rosenzvaig said it was more important for the government to encourage a competitive environment where all vendors are given an equal opportunity to work with the government.

This news comes only a couple of weeks after Microsoft announced plans to extend its Windows XP Starter Edition programme to Brazil. This edition is an inexpensive version of its flagship operating system that has limited functionality, and is only shipped with new PCs.

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