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GNU is Not Unix Technology

Venezuela Moves Further Toward Open Source 406

Posted by michael
from the leading-the-way dept.
baquiano writes "Today the Venezuelan press reports that the government has formally issued a decree (English translation) which prioritizes the use of free/open source software over proprietary systems in government entities. This follows a year of pilot deployments in Venezuela's Info Centros (Internet public access points) and some ministries. (Past attempts, reported by Slashdot, by former Minister of Science and Technology Felipe Perez Marti to push ahead this initiative were allegedly foiled by Microsoft.) The decree calls for plans to actively deploy FOSS during a 24-month period."
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Venezuela Moves Further Toward Open Source

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  • Great, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mistersooreams (811324) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:35AM (#11219508) Homepage

    I don't mean to be too cynical, but I'm sure even the Venezualan people would admit that they are not the foremost force in world IT. Quite right, this is a victory for Open Source, but could we save the dancing in the streets for when a slightly more major player joins our side?

    This reminds me of Bush's hilarious "You forgot Poland!" in the first presidential debate.

    • Re:Great, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by duffahtolla (535056) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:53AM (#11219700)
      Ever see penguins grouping before going into the ocean? The ones closest to the water don't go in because they're afraid they'll get eaten by the seals. Therest are waiting for the crowd to move.

      Eventually theres so many penguins, the crowd accidently pushes one happless penguin into the water.

      All the penguins shutup and stare at the volunteer. If he doesn't get eaten, all the penguins start diving into the water in a continuous flow.

      We need countries like Venezuala to openly use FOSS so that other countries can gather courage and join them.

      I just hope that this isn't another maneuver to get better pricing.

    • Re:Great, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChibiOne (716763) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:55AM (#11219715)
      You don't understand. This is good because it could help the software industry in Venezuela.

      At the beginning of the Fox Administration in Mexico, they announced a big program to bring computers to more public schools, libraries and rural areas. The chosen software? Microsoft's. This was a stabb in the back for the software industry in our country: so instead of spending millions of dollars in promoting the in-house developement of software (which would, eventually, help the growth of ALL kind of software developement, not just educational programs or GUI localizations), which would have created more jobs in that sector, the government chose to give all that cash to a foreign company. The cash for all those MS licences goes to Bill's pockets, insted of going to the Mexican software and IT engineers, enterpreaneurs, and jobs derivated from those businesses.

      And no, it's not a xenophobic, anti-American thing. It's a matter of a lost chance to help the Mexican economy, in an age where it's (again.. sigh) losing its place in the global map.

      • You don't understand. Only the US has the right to buttress it's own domestic software industry (Microsoft, Oracle, CA). Other countries SHOULD NOT help their own, but instead support the US software industry.

        Only the americans have a god-given right to have their own software (and movie) industries so to leech more wealth from the rest of the world.

        • I wish I could laugh. The problem is not just happening in Mexico (and elsewhere), but also in the U.S. where Microsoft is trying to kill the software industry there. They want it all.
      • First let me start by saying this: I am a Mexican.

        Now, the problem here is corruption and I know MS knows it. Check out Miguel de Icaza's comments [infoworld.com] on this "MS & E-Mexico" agreement: HP, IBM and others were heading towards open source when all of a sudden MS enters and they are all told: sorry but MS is our champ!

        Just give a couple of the people in the right places some nice ca$h deals and you've acquired yourself a nice country... same thing happened with local telephony and it will continue happening
    • Re:Great, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bit01 (644603)

      ... a slightly more major player joins our side?

      A country of 25,000,000+ people? That's major enough progress to make the daily news for me!

      If even a fraction of the Venezualan programming population get involved in open source that will mean significant improvements for open source software producers, packagers and consumers world wide. Remember, one of the most valuable attributes of software is that it can be copied at minimal cost. All it takes is a single person to program it and a hundred millio

      • Serious question:

        Can someone please explain to me who feeds the family when everyone is doing work for free?

        What happens when programmer A, who does OSS development on the side when he comes home from working at MS gets fired because OSS cuts into revenues so much that MS can no longer afford to pay programmer A?

    • Re:Great, but... (Score:2, Informative)

      by outrage98 (99696)
      I don't mean to be too cynical, but I'm sure even the Venezualan people would admit that they are not the foremost force in world IT. Quite right, this is a victory for Open Source, but could we save the dancing in the streets for when a slightly more major player joins our side?

      Twit. Who cares whether Venezuela is a "major player"?

      If this means that schools in Venezuela are more inclined to teach using OSS, then that alone is a victory. Who knows where the next Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds will c
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:35AM (#11219515)
    This is a positive development. However, as President Chavez has stated that he plans to model Venezuela after Castro's Cuba, in the end this won't amount to software developer/user freedom or efficiency.
    • by curtisk (191737) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:40AM (#11219562) Homepage Journal
      I was just going to post the same thing, Chavez is busting down hard on any dissent or anyone that doesn't meet him on the political scale [washingtonpost.com]. So great for open source, but is "OSS: Used by the Chavez Administration" a good thing to have out there?
      • Exactly. An initial step toward more openness and freedom does not matter much when the president is dedicated toward making his country just like one of the most totalitarian dictatorships in the world.

        Does open vs closed source really matter when the government ends up owning and controlling all the software?

        • Does open vs closed source really matter when the government ends up owning and controlling all the software?

          It does for Slashdot. Venezuela would suddenly become one of the bad guys though if the MPAA/RIAA were to get the Venezuelan government to crack down on .ve bittorrent sites...
        • ...freedom does not matter much when the president is dedicated toward making his country just like one of the most totalitarian dictatorships in the world.

          Well if Washington has its way [npr.org], he might be around for much longer.

      • If the US hadn't blundered it's coup so bad who knows where we might be now.

        Either way we'll see how it all turns out. This action gives the US yet another reason to kill him or capture him. Look what we did to Noriega when he stopped playing nice with us.
      • Sounds like the perfect MS Marketing campaign to me.

        "Microsoft: Because we're NOT commies!"
      • If you care to actually read the article, you would notice that Chavez is simply counterbalancing the greater disinformational power of the bourgeois-controlled media in order to avoid further destabilization attempts by the bourgeois who cannot bear to see the State help the poorer people by providing them by better education (the bourgeois are dependent on an ignorant population in order to suck their wealth).

        In effect, the Chavez government is providing A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, something the bourgeois hat

        • what article are you talking about? The one I linked to or the the article linked in the main story? I can't find what you are referring to in either, unless the babelfish translation is THAT bad

          ....besides, I'm really just stating that having a hot-potato such as Chavez be a "spokesperson" or "example" for the use of OSS, probably ain't all that hot on many levels. The editorial linked to just gave some examples of some policies or actions that might put a cloud over the "OSS victory" and can be used again

        • If you care to actually read the article, you would notice that Chavez is simply counterbalancing the greater disinformational power of the bourgeois-controlled media in order to avoid further destabilization attempts by the bourgeois who cannot bear to see the State help the poorer people by providing them by better education (the bourgeois are dependent on an ignorant population in order to suck their wealth).

          This sentence is a marvelous example of of double-talking spin skills. Maybe you could have or a

      • by Garabito (720521) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:58PM (#11220338)
        I am not Chavez fanboy, nor do I approve that media law. But it amazes how the Washington Post spins this news.

        The law does not bust down hard on any dissent. Neither does it will shut down stations for content contrary to the security of the nation. What the law restricts is the broadcasts of mild language, sex or violent images from 7:00 am to 11:00 on open T.V. I don't condone this law, but it's not fair to say that it will end with dissidence in Venezuela.

        There's more about the Bolivarian revolution than "being more like Cuba" and what the U.S. media tells. But when this gets the way of the interest of the wealthier american corporate interests, some nasty things happen, and depending of who owns the media, you will see only one side of the story.

        • Well, does anyone actually expect the US commercial media (Time Warner, News Corps, Disney, Viacom.. The multi-billion dollars corporations that are basically the media oligarchy of the US, owning more than 90% of all media outlets (radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, book publishers), with interests in all economic sectors) to cover favorably Hugo Chavez?

          Come on!
      • by Catbeller (118204) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:02PM (#11220386) Homepage
        Um, they tried to oust him in a military coup endorsed by Dubya within hours? They committed acts of armed treason? They are agents of U.S. interests? They killed people?

        Let's try a thought experiment. Let us say that two years ago, the Democratic party leadership, with the help of the wealthiest people in the country, and with foreign endorsement and aid from, say, FRANCE, overran the White House, held Bush prisoner, and declared the 2000 election invalid on ideological grounds. And they failed to overturn the government.

        Then, later, those Democrats faked up a recall election, which failed.

        HOW FAST WOULD BUSH HAVE BEEN BUSTING DOWN HARD ON ANY DAMNED BODY HE WANTED TO? How many people in Gitmo getting razors up their backsides? How many new "security" measures cracking down on the First Amendment? How many dead in the street as he sent in the freakin' Marines? If past behavior is any guide, he'd have laughed as people were mowed down in the street.

        Chavez has been far, far more lenient on traitors than Bush ever, EVER would be.
    • by agurkan (523320) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:22PM (#11219958) Homepage
      I will take Cuba rather than USA with it various new laws and powerful corporations, any time. How much freedom is left in this country?

      Also, how much do you know about Cuba? It is a country standing on its own with US's embargo continuing over years, not to mention CIA's attempts to destabilize it. Everyone thought they would collapse after the USSR, but they survive. Maybe they do something right? Their health care system, infant mortality rate and many other markers for "good life" are better than USA :-).

      • A few questions.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PaxTech (103481) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:44PM (#11220776) Homepage
        If Cuba is in such good shape and it's citizens enjoy such a "good life", why do so many of them risk death attempting to cross the sea to Florida in barely seaworthy boats?

        I mean, if what you say is true and it is the US that is the totalitarian dictatorship, shouldn't the people requesting political asylum be traveling in the other direction?

        Also, why is it that the people who tell me Cuba is such an enlightened society with low infant mortality and high literacy have NEVER, EVER actually LIVED in Cuba?

        This is what passes for "Insightful" on /. these days? Yeah, great, so Castro's Cuba has low infant mortality. Hitler got the trains running on time in Germany, too. It doesn't make either of them anything more than fascist strongmen.
      • Their health care system, infant mortality rate and many other markers for "good life" are better than USA :-).
        I'm not surprised if many countries have lower infant mortality rates than the US because the US does so many abortions that it kills (ha) that statistic.
    • Please give me a direct quote on this. Chavez has been smeared so many times by the media, I'd like to see your source.
  • by Garabito (720521) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:37AM (#11219532)
    To the list of sponsors of the next coup attemp?
    • This would apply equally to Apple et al.

      Say what you will about Macs, I for one would hate to be involved in government printing down there once this kicks in.

  • 'Foiled'? (Score:4, Funny)

    by captnitro (160231) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:37AM (#11219533)
    Did Bill hire Inspector Gadget or something to keep the Venezuelan authorities from going open-source?

    Anybody got tape on this, so to speak?
  • by eobanb (823187) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:38AM (#11219545) Homepage

    ...how Microsoft can get away with determining the priorities and policies of foreign governments. How often in history does a private enterprise have this much power?

    In any case, I applaud Venezuela now for actually paying attention to this kind of thing. Think about how many other issues they have to deal with, yet they still managed to account for stuff like this (cost to government for software). Look at where we are in many other countries, including the US. How many government officials here in America could you actually convince to launch a campaign promoting free software? Not many, if any.

    • Most likely... 0. I wonder how well Linux or other open source solutions would catch on if the government and some large private firms got on the band wagon. Use Linux at work, use Linux at home, tell your friends how easy things are. Who knows.

      It could happen. Really. I'm not deluding myself!
    • How often in history does a private enterprise have this much power?

      All too often, especially in the United States.

      • The use of linux is multiplied year to year. Its popularity has extended between the countries of the first world and those that are in via of development, and has overturned the glance, before indifferent, of the great corporations that make business with the technologies of the information.

        For great justice!

    • by Erwos (553607) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:46AM (#11219617)
      "How many government officials here in America could you actually convince to launch a campaign promoting free software? Not many, if any."

      The government has no place doing this sort of promotion. Their job is to use whatever works the best. We have enough problems with ideology in this country - no sense adding more to the fire.

      -Erwos
      • The government has no place doing this sort of promotion. Their job is to use whatever works the best. We have enough problems with ideology in this country - no sense adding more to the fire.

        The job of a government is also, hopefully, to spend taxpayers' money wisely. I have no idea what kind of IT infrastructure the Venezuelan government has, but I know for damn sure that the US government wastes tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of tax dollars paying giant companies for closed, proprietary systems t
        • >I know for damn sure that the US government wastes tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of tax dollars paying giant companies for closed, proprietary systems that never work as advertised.

          Waste is waste. It doesn't matter if its Open or Closed Source, it will still cost a huge amount and still barely work because it is the government.
          • Waste is waste. It doesn't matter if its Open or Closed Source, it will still cost a huge amount and still barely work because it is the government.

            [sigh] The computer you used to write that message, and the entire internet infrastructure that allowed it to be posted in a public forum, are largely the results of decades of government and government-funded R&D. The ideological conviction that governments are always inefficient (and the corollary, that private corporations are always efficient) is pur
            • >entire internet infrastructure that allowed it to be posted in a public forum, are largely the results of decades of government and government-funded R&D

              But was there waste? The end product is good, same with a working water system, but could it have been done better with less waste?

              >one thing that is pretty much guaranteed to be inefficient is close collusion between careerist government bureaucrats and giant, secretive corporations

              They have clear laws against this sort of thing and it doesn
          • Waste is waste. It doesn't matter if its Open or Closed Source, it will still cost a huge amount and still barely work because it is the government.

            I disagree. Mostly because open source software used by the government, with improvements funded by the government, will not just be used by the government. If the USA decided it needed a secure web browser with some very specific features they could hire contractors to write one, buy an existing one, or hire someone to modify an existing open source browse

        • Ah yes, spend the taxpayer's money! Great Idea.

          As far as I am concerned the gov't, in as much as it is possible, should let the citizens of the country KEEP THEIR MONEY. When you are talking about spending money wisely, you have already lost part of the battle--the one where you are only required to support the bare essentials of government, such as military and police (and a very few other programs, medicine being of debatable utility in the hands of gov't).

          You are right though, when the gov't is spend
          • "How much should we tax/spend?" and "How should we spend it?" can be debated separately. Even the minimal functions of government you describe require fairly enormous amounts of infrastructure, which these days includes IT; this seems to me a question of "how" rather than "how much", and one on which reasonable people of Left and Right can come to some sort of agreement.
            • I tend to agree, but the problem is that many people take it for granted that taxes are the way to go, and that more taxes are inevitable, and I think that it is important that people take this in to account.

              The question of how is important, but it should NEVER drive how much. Raising tax levels should not be necessary except in rare circumstances, but it has become accepted world-wide as the only way a gov't can stay afloat. Perhaps there are other ways to fund a gov't that have yet to be fully explored
      • The government has no place doing this sort of promotion. Their job is to use whatever works the best.

        In that case the government should be promoting a totalitarian regime as it would be easier. Just like Bush said "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - just so long I'm the dictator."

        We have enough problems with ideology in this country - no sense adding more to the fire.

        I think as a democracy it is imperitive that we promote free and open forums, open source is in essence d

    • How often in history does a private enterprise have this much power?

      Well their were the Medici family, Catholic Church, Knights Templar, Guilds, etc. I'd say all of those qualify. Money has been a power for a long time. Democracy has in many ways made governments less repressive, but people are power hungry, and if they can't gain dominion through force of arms and a repressive government, they will do so with private organizations and subversion of law.

      How many government officials here in America c

    • From wikipedia.org...... The British East India Company, popularly known as "John Company", was founded by a Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600. Over the next 250 years, it became one of the most powerful commercial enterprises of its time. The British East India Company's business was centered on India, where it also acquired auxiliary governmental and military functions which came to overshadow its commercial activities. Based in Leadenhall Street, London, the company influenced al
    • *ahem*

      The Knights Templar had a massive amount of wealth and loaned it to kings and people all around the world effectively making them the first bank. Philip the Fair (French) got together with the Pope to have them rounded up and killed. Before then they were big-time movers and shakers in European governments and by Papal bull were allowed to do things like levy taxes and receiving tithes.

      The Dutch East Indies company was comparable to the Guild (Dune reference) in their control over trade around the world. There's more to it, but they were satisfied with their control.

      When Standard Oil was broken up into it's subsidiaries you had 5 American companies plus the British Shell Oil looking into South America for new prospects. Because companies had become so heavily aligned with specific countries the only way for one company to be able to prospect on what was thought to be fertile ground was by getting the country they worked in to expand its borders in that direction. At least two wars were started in South America in order to expand a border onto prospective new ground. In both of those wars it was found that there was no oil there anyway and the governments sponsoring the wars got paid nothing in return for their actions.

      There was this guy named Rhodes who got a scholarship named after him. He basically got the British government to protect him as he invaded Zulu territory for diamonds. He simultaneously sold the Zulu some firearms which, upon notice by the British, made them important enough to wipe out. From then on that diamond operation has controlled the interests of South Africa.

      Today's offenders: OPEC, U.S. media conglomerates, varying world telecoms, Microsoft, and China (a giant unionized manufacturing company, they count right?)
    • How many government officials here in America could you actually convince to launch a campaign promoting free software? Not many, if any.

      Such a capmain has already been launched, take a look at eGovOS [egovos.org].

      I don't have any hard numbers on this, but I would not be surprised if the American government money has sponsored more open source code and standards than any other country if not all of them combined.

    • Exactly. Microsoft, or any other corporation, isn't *entitled* to ANY sales except the ones it makes.
  • 191 to go!

    but i guess this is a good win for Open Source, it can't be bad
  • by nysus (162232) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:42AM (#11219572)
    A new world order has arisen with Microsoft now in charge of most of the world's armies, they have vowed to crush insurgents in countries with ties to the Open Source Software Initiative.

    "We need to defend liberty and freedom everywhere," World Leader Gates said. "If we don't stop open source overseas, we'll soon be fighing Linux in our own homes."
  • All the proprietary software goes on strike and marches through the streets, demanding the overthrow of the president.
  • by panurge (573432) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:56AM (#11219724)
    Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing surely depends on which aspects of Cuba Chavez wants to imitate. If he wants state repression and political prisoners, it will be an embarrassment for FOSS (but it won't go anywhere because government use of FOSS will not flourish in that climate.) But if he wants to imitate the good bits of Cuba - a society with higher life expectancy and literacy than most of the Caribbean must have some good points - and encourage self reliance and ingenious solutions to the problems of 3rd world countries, it could be a success story.

    Personally I suspect Chavez says most of it for effect. He obviously enjoys pissing off the Yanquis. Once upon a time, when the UK had been largely isolated from European in-fighting, the English enjoyed pissing off the Continentals by mocking their political theories and their habits. It was a way of relieving the tension of living next to powerful neighbors who might turn nasty at any moment.

    Unfortunately the US has a remarkable degree of paranoia about any country that turns even mildly pink in what it sees as its own backyard. The result has been gross overreaction in places like Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba and, most ludicrously of all, Grenada. It's not surprising that the poor people of the South can easily be made to see the US as the enemy. I hope that the FOSS movement can remain sufficiently politically neutral that it is seen as favoring no particular economic model, but that it will flourish in any economy where independent thought and individual cooperation are valued. The strong German contribution to FOSS, along with the input from the former USSR/Warsaw Pact bloc, suggests that this may well happen. In the meantime, let's not confuse a noisy politician with a country.

    • Saddam used to issue decrees all the time. In democratic societies nobody tries to shove shit down your throat by issuing decrees. If open source is better than let it win on its own merit
      • > In democratic societies nobody tries to shove shit down your throat by issuing decrees.

        In all democratic countries, you will get "shit shoved down your throat by issuing decrets".
        Democracy is the dictatorship of the majority.

        If you don't like that, go for anarchism.
      • by demachina (71715) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:03PM (#11220946)
        "In democratic societies nobody tries to shove shit down your throat by issuing decrees."

        Instead they shove shit down your throw with:

        - Monopolies
        - Laws(Decrees and Laws are really the same thing)
        - Financial pressure
        - Political pressure

        If you actually want to put FOSS in place in most governments there almost has to be a "decree" of some kind. Otherwise an army of software salesmen from places like Microsoft are going to work over, pressure or bribe the people making the purchasing decision to buy their crap. After all civil servents aren't wasting their money they are wasting tax dollars and they could care less if they pass on the low cost option and waste money on Microsoft's software especially if they are being bribed. FOSS doesn't have the army of salesmen which are the free markets "decree" enforcers.

        Assuming you are American, and live in a country that is the home of the Patriot Act, the DMCA, software patents, monopolies and cartels(Microsoft, RIAA, MPAA, etc), a government that is almost completely owned by lobbyists, corporations and special interest money, that is arresting and holding people without due process, is promoting the use of torture around the world, routinely toppling sovereign governments and replacing them with two bit dictators, you don't really have a leg to stand on to preach to the rest of the world about "democratic societies". The U.S. only vaguely knows what they are and its increasingly not what you have in the U.S.

        Fact is places like China and Cuba have a lot more in common with the U.S. than they differ. The tools for controlling people are just somewhat more subtle, though they seem to be getting less subtle with each passing year under the new regime. And of course most American companies seem to be quite fond having all their work done in China by workforce under repression so increasingly if you it comes down to be "free" in America and unemployed or "repressed" in China and have a job though under generally bad conditions.

        In China or Cuba they throw you in jail just for being a dissident. In America if you don't go along with the system you run a substantial risk of unemployment, homelessness, death on the streets, or being thrown in prison via things like the "War on Drugs" or by the IRS.

        I point out the IRS because it abuse of tax records was a favorite tool of Nixon's to attack his political opponents and someone attempted to renable abusing tax records for political purposes in the recent intelligence reform bill. It was caught only at the very last second when someone actually speed read the bill before it was passed. Actually reading legislation before its passed is increasingly rare in the Congress which is also undemocratic. The new regime often writes it behind closed doors and then tries to rush it through before anyone can read it, let alone understand it.

        Also, in case you haven't looked lately the U.S. has one of the highest per capita prison populations of any country in the world.
        • "In America if you don't go along with the system you run a substantial risk of unemployment, homelessness, death on the streets, or being thrown in prison via..."

          I see. You are right. Michael Moore dared to question the US government. As a result, he is rail thin, impoverished, and imprisoned. Al Franken and Bill Maher also lost their careers (no-one remembers who they are anymore) after they criticized the US.

          And the Dixie Chicks? Never mind that their sales increased after they insulted GWB. The reas

    • I think that the only reason that Cuba has a higher standard of living, higher life expentancy and higher rates of literacy is dur to the fact that Cuba was receiving so much aid from the former Soviet Union for so long, and is blessed with having some of the best tobacco on Earth, which provides an influx of hard foreign currency.

      I believe that the remarkable rate of aid from the USSR was due to the fact that Cuba was so close to the United States. Many other countries under the Soviet sphere of influenc
      • Nice propaganda but no it doesn't have a lot to do with the USSR other thank a lot of Cubans went there to get their educations out of obvious necessity in the '60's and '70s. I'm pretty sure Cuba's excellent health care and education systems are self sustaining now.

        Cuba and Venezuela place a massive emphasis on education and health care, both are universally available free of charge but universal health care doesn't really have anything to do with freedom. Most developed countries whether it be Canada o
        • "A handful of plutocrats and organized criminals pretty much looted all the assets of the country"

          You are describing exactly what happened when Lenin overthrow a democratic government and seized control of old Russia.

          "Capitalism is very good at some things but it has a really nasty dark side, that most American's choose to overlook."

          Fact it, Russia is a lot better off now. In the glory days of the communists, hundreds of thousands on average died each year due to starvation and being executed by the l

          • "You are describing exactly what happened when Lenin overthrow a democratic government and seized control of old Russia."

            Uh, Russia was coming out of centuries of rule by a monarchy, and an aristocracy that owned everything, all the land in particular, in the end under the incompetent Czar Nicholas, It was a constitutional monarchy and maybe you could stretch it to call it a democracy but it was a big stretch when the country was ruled by a monarchy and an aristocracy.

            Or maybe you are refering to the gov
  • Finally (Score:2, Funny)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    I for one, welcome our open source overlords. ...

    Ok I'm gonna lose karma for this one... ;-)

    Tom
  • I glanced at the title quickly, saw "Venezuela Moves Further...", and immediately thought that Venezuela was somehow affected by that earthquake.
  • by LocoMan (744414) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:31PM (#11220042) Homepage
    This is the first time I actually reply to the article instead of to another discussion, but it's also the first time I've seen slashdot discuss something about my country so here goes.. :)

    Personally I don't see this having any effect other than public offices changing to linux and open source programs. It will give more jobs in the public sector to programmers, which is a good thing considering the huge unemployment right now, but the regular people will just continue using their pirated copies of programs. To put things in perspective, I live in the 4th biggest city in the country, and where the electricity (hydro) for most of Venezuela and part of Colombia and Brazil is generated, plus a big producer of iron, steel, aluminum and lots of other minerals exported worldwide... but yet I don't know of any place here where I could buy legitimate software.. while at the same time just walking from my home to work everyday I pass in front of at least 4 places that sell pirated DVDs, music and software.. and I don't mean shady places in the back of a van or soemthing, but huge places with neon signs advertising pirated stuff for sale... heck, I've seen several next to police stations with police people buying on them frequently. People here just don't know about open source, because there's just not a culture of paying for software at all, most people don't even realize that buying a burned CD with the latest software on it, a crack and a serial written on the label is illegal... and last time I heard of something being done about it was 4 or 5 years ago when the BSA did a campaign against piracy, closed down several stores and placed fines on people... and things were back again like it was before within a week.

    If I had to guess, I'd say this is more about president Chavez sticking it up to the US in any way he can (after all, we're talking about a guy that called Bush an asshole in public chained TV.. and for those that don't know "chained" means that the president can "chain" all the public TV and radio stations so that they're forced to display whatever he wants, usually him giving one of his 2 or 3+ hours speeches, which he does very frequently... times like those makes me feel pity for those that can't afford cable TV), and as I said, I really doubt it'll have any effect outside of the public offices... and if the ones I've gone to, in this city and in the capitol, even then they have so few computers and so outdated the effect will be minimal... we use to joke around that anytime we hear the sound of an old style typewriter (that old tac-tac-tac), that it sounds like a public office.. :)

    • I suppose you're part of the minority elite that would have been satisfied that the coup had succeeded.
      • Not really. While I don't agree with lots of things Chavez is doing in the government, there are some things I do agree with, and I do believe we needed someone like him to revive the politics in the state they were. I don't think right now he's the best person to lead the country, though (though I have to say I'd be hard pressed to find someone that would be better and that would have the amount of public support needed), I don't believe a coup is the way to go (even if I believed back then Carmona might h
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:32PM (#11220055)
    I think Open Source solutions are good choices if there is good support if things go wrong but they often require more expertise by the IT people and can be costly if they have to customize or otherwise wade through the often poorly written documentation just to compile and install.

    This is where MS flexes their corporate muscle--they make CTOs feel good about spending m/billions on their solutions.

    If MS and Open Source were men:

    Open Source would be the quiet mysterious geek who can't utter a sentence without geek speak but is pretty nice looking and gentle. He's sincere and eager but doesn't have lots of money. He's usually polite and makes you feel quite comfortable though you have to pay for his meals now and then.

    MS would be the tall, dark, and handsome fraternity boy with a new Porsche who slips you some Rohypnol and you wake up naked and screwed with an empty wallet. He throws wild parties at your place but doesn't check the guest list very well. Your stuff keeps getting stolen and you keep finding creeps living and hiding in your closets. You notice on the wall that you have a marriage certificate on the wall and it's signed in your blood. You're Mrs. Satan.

    Maybe I took that a little too far...but you get the point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:34PM (#11220099)
    But it is the fifth largest oil producer in the world and the Oil industry is nationalized. A move to open source by a huge oil company (Citgo belongs to PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil company) means a lot of opportunities for guys like me (several years of experience in linux) to make a buck. Hey! The fact that I am venezuelan might even help, uh? Not all of us in latin america live in mud-huts like Hollywood might like you to think. Maybe a little traveling will open up your eyes and maybe help you make a dollar or two.
  • From what I see, president Hugo Chavez has a deep hatred towards the U.S. And he sees any american company as a threat to his government. In other words, his move towards open source is not to be seen as something "defending the rights of the people", but rather as an instrument of pressure.

    Frankly I don't care what happens with software on Venezuela... I just want the guy out.
    • From what I see, president Hugo Chavez has a deep hatred towards the U.S. And he sees any american company as a threat to his government. In other words, his move towards open source is not to be seen as something "defending the rights of the people", but rather as an instrument of pressure.

      This is not surprising, given that in order to promote the leeching bourgeois agenda of siphoning off the country's wealth, the US has been trying for a long time to destabilize Chavez's goverment.

      Why should Chavez b

    • From what I see, president Hugo Chavez has a deep hatred towards the U.S. And he sees any american company as a threat to his government.

      Him and about half of the rest of the world, and with good reason.

  • by Roliverio (844827) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:56PM (#11220876) Homepage Journal
    Im From Venezuela, and i also Follow Slahsdot Very Closely, and seeing this thread about how the Government Adopted a FOSS policy, prompts me to finally create an account and post a good reply to the news.. I, like many other Lug members in this country, where in a Forum whose hosts were mainly RMS and the aforementioned ex-Minister of Technology Felipe Perez Marti In this Forum apart of demostrating other technologies and hearing RMS's Speech, the reasons to adopt Open Source by the Goverment where exposed and these are: 1) Improve Education Trough FOSS 2) Cut Costs in Government IT sectors 3) Develop a joint Strategy With Brazil to Implement FOSS nationwide and not only in Government Agencies and Institutions. 4) Better Access to Technology for Everyone 5) Stay updated in new Software Technolgies 6) Use FOSS in Universities and Superior Education Institutes to Teach others how to implement, use and improve over Open Source. These are the main reasons, altough there are some others that arent as important as these that where what the former minister told the people tha t assisted the forum in November.. RMS couldn't talk properly because he had a horrible flu, and every other word a cough spelled out i see that in some replys to this article, there are Chavez supporters, or "Chavistas" as we call them here, i personally don't like the Chavez Administration, but i cannot disagree with this decree, as it makes a lot of sense even for the private sector, that should start noting a lot more FOSS for now on... Im not going to attack Chavez supporters here, the only thing i say is, before you believe either me or any of them, please, read every media in Venezuela before making an opinion!

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