NewsForge: Microsoft, Open Source and the Third World: A Fair Contest?
May 23, 2002, 11:09 (32 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jack Bryar)
"It has been said that if Linux and Open Source were going to
triumph anywhere, the first big successes would happen in the Third
World. Cash-strapped countries looking for ways to declare their
technical independence would be deeply tempted by the price point
and technical promise of Open Source software.
"In recent weeks, NewsForge reporters have mentioned the growing
interest in Linux by government agencies in places such as Peru and
Argentina. This week, the Indian state of Karnataka announced it
was looking at mandating Open Source in its public sector.
"Microsoft has been fighting back. In a number of countries, it
has rapidly expanded giveaway programs, especially to schools in
the poorest parts of Africa and Asia. This week, Microsoft
announced it had signed an agreement with the South African
government to give all the schools in that country free access to a
selection of the company's software. It was a controversial
decision in that country, but not necessarily because of any
technical considerations. Increasingly, as cash-strapped public
agencies in other Third World countries struggle to determine the
best choice, they may find their decision process has become
complicated by a variety of political and ideological