Brazil Looking At Dropping Microsoft In Favor Of Open Source

Letis see; Germany told them, "Auf Wiedersehen," China said, "Huí tóu jiàn," and now it looks as if Brazil is bidding Microsoft a not so fond, "adeus!" It seems that Brazilian President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, believes that one way to help bridge the social/economic gap between the haves and the have-nots in his country is to start making extensive use of home-grown open-source software in government and scholastic institutions.

According to an AP article, President da Silva believes that the lower cost of using open-source software could do a lot to bring computers to those would not normally have access to them, and that it would relieve some of the continuing debt his government faces. The Associated Press article, Brazil Leans Away From Microsoft has the details:

Silvais top technology officer wants to transform the land of samba and Carnival into a tech-savvy nation where everyone from schoolchildren to government bureaucrats uses open-source software instead of costly Windows products.

Such a policy makes eminent sense for a developing country where a mere 10 percent of the 170 million people have computers at home and where the debt-laden government is the nationis biggest computer buyer, says Sergio Amadeu, the open-source enthusiast appointed to head Brazilis National Information Techonology Institute by Silva after the president took office this year.

Paying software licensing fees to companies like Microsoft is simply "unsustainable economically" when applications that run on the open-source Linux operating system are much cheaper, Amadeu said. Under his guidance, Silvais administration is encouraging all sectors of government to move toward open-source programs, whose basic code is public and freely available.


Although Amadeu insists the government has no plans to mandate open-source software use, Microsoft is worried and is lobbying to prevent the policy from becoming law.

"We still think free choice is best for companies, the individuals and the government," said Luiz Moncau, Microsoftis marketing director in Brazil. "There is the risk of creating a technology island in Brazil supported by law."

Read the full article for more information and insight into the tough choices Brazil and other South American countries must make.