Brazil: The spirit of community
The Brazilian government may distribute one million laptops running open source software to local schools. In January, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched a project to build low-cost Linux-based laptops for the developing world. The Brazilian government is considering building 2 million of these laptops, half of which will be distributed to local schools, and is investigating the finances of the scheme.
Open source software has been deployed by the federal, state and city governments in Brazil, although the states and cities have been more progressive, according to Ronaldo Lemos, the director of the Centre for Technology & Society at the Fundação Getulio Vargas law school in Brazil, which recently advised Brazilian government on the its open source strategy.
"Before the Federal government embraced free software, there had been initiatives at the city and state levels that helped to pave the way for a broader program," says Lemos.
There have been a number of large scale migrations in Brazilian states, for example, the state of Parana is migrating 10,000 government employees from proprietary software to a customised version of the open source collaboration application eGroupWare and São Paulo has deployed Linux on 16,000 PCs and 1,000 servers in schools across the state, according to Mandriva. Some federal government agencies have also migrated to open source software, with seven of the 22 federal ministries reportedly using open source. This includes a number of open source desktop deployments, for example, OpenOffice.org is run on 4000 seats in the federal government, according to Erwin Tenhumberg, a product marketing manager at Sun.
The Brazilian federal government has drafted a bill that would mandate the use of open source software by public departments. This decree would force...
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