June 28, 2003

Brazil Not Actually Mandating Open Source Usage

Linux Today had an article Brazil Mandates Shift to Free Software [6/13/03], about the Brazilian government's alleged plan to migrate 80% of its machines from Windows to Linux, and also included a response from Tony Stanco from the Center of Open Source & Government (saying that mandatory open source adoption was not a good policy).

I agree imposing any quota (80%, 100%, etc.) on open source adoption is bad. However it turns out the Brazilian government is not doing that. It is merely conducting a three-year pilot project of having one of its ministries use Linux instead of Windows. Linux Today was actually linking to an article on PCLinuxOnline [6/7/03]. Scroll down to the last comment and you will see the translator of the original article explaining that the LinuxToday article (and resultant slashdot discussion [6/14/03]) were wrong to be talking about an open source mandate. The PCLinuxOnline article also has a couple of other interesting comments posted by people who work in the Brazilian public service.

The reasons given for the Linux trial are cost, security, and a desire to "foster the production of local software and 'democratize access to knowledge'". The translator summarizes it as "Making a choice about what software makes it easier for Brazil's government to respect the constitutional rights of its citizens to privacy and transparency of data seems like a perfectly legitimate choice to me. " Indeed!

Posted by Adam Barr at June 28, 2003 09:12 PM | TrackBack