No Tears Shed for Windows in Brazil

    The 1st National Free Software Meeting for Municipalities got underway August 23 in Rio das Ostras, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The purpose of the event is to show what can be accomplished through the use of free software (FS) like the operation system Linux and digital inclusion.

    170 thousand public schools in Brazil possess computers. Of these, 20 thousand have informatics spaces, but only 9 thousand are connected to the Internet.

    According to the President of the Institute of Information Technology (ITI), Sérgio Amadeu, at least US$ 120 are spent each year on license payments for each of these computers.

    According to Amadeu, if Brazil introduces 20 new computers respectively in one hundred thousand schools over the coming years, the annual savings from adopting FS will amount to US$ 240 million.

    In the Ministry of Cities, 20 percent of the computers are already operating with FS, and the expectation is for all the Ministry’s machines to be equipped with the new programs early next year.

    The Ministry’s Coordinator of Informatics, Gustavo Noronha, says that the challenge lies in “adapting the user,” since “the program is not difficult.”

    The difficulties, however, are not just with the users but with the creators and programmers as well.

    “In the last 15 years, everything was based on Windows, which makes it difficult to install a game, for example,” affirms Ronaldo Adriano Ramon, owner of the Insidesign company, which works with network maintenance and installation in Ribeirão Preto (SP).

    To coordinate the planning and implementation of FS and other technological innovations, the Free Software Implementation Committee (FSIC) was created in October, 2003.

    The FSIC coordinates eight other committees that are assigned specific functions, such as systems integration and digital inclusion.

    The Ministries of Culture, the Navy, the Air Force, Communications, and Mines and Energy are also undergoing the same “migration” process that is being carried out in the Ministry of Cities. In all, 58 federal government organs voluntarily adhered to the FSIC.

    Brazil is nowadays one of the countries that contributes the most to this new technology. The global coordinator of Linux version 2.4 (the most popular operational system in the world and rival of the Windows proprietary program, which belongs to the American company, Microsoft) is a 22 year-old Brazilian from the state of Paraná, Marcelo Tosatti.

    In an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Culture opened inscriptions this week for a contest to produce cultural and educational electronic games. The idea is to make the eight future games, which will be created through the contest, available in FS.

    Agência Brasil

     

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