Dateline February 10, Ilopango - The crisis in El Salvador can be
summed up in a few simple words from Mario Arriza - The penalties
begin with $1,200 and criminal charges. Many people are afraid.
Mario also says that Microsoft and the Business Software
Alliance are putting a lot of pressure to the people to buy
licenses with TV ads and newspapaer ads.
Mario asks for help with Cheap CDs, Advertisements and Email
support. He mentions his web site at linux.org.sv
Kent Nguyen says that he will be posting a web site at www.nt2linux.com . Also, we're
reactivating lcsrc.org and will
link sites together.
The later sites will need content and may not be live for 24-48
Some people have commented that it is too late to help. But,
it's not too late. We have to act and act now. This story should be
carried by CNN, AP, Reuters and we need to start writing people.
Some recommendations include talk show hosts, Congress, magazines,
newsgroups, yahoo boards, Red Hat and other distributors and
whoever else you can think of.
Following is the letter received that alerted me to the
I have been looking for Linux products on the Internet. They
seem to be a great solution for the needs that as a country we
Last year our Government approved a new law against piracy. El
Salvador has, shame on us, one of the higher rates for piracy in
The new law will take effect on February the 15th. Prison is
offered to those who violate the new law and also higher fines in
cash will be given.
I need you to help me because we do not have the financial
capacity to solve the license problems with the Microsoft
Can you send me some software to substitute applications such
as: Microsoft 2000, (Excel, Word, Access, etc), Front Page,
Outlook, Auto Cad?
Maybe you have the solutions for me and for thousands of PC
users around here. There are a lot of opportunities for you, not
only here, but also in Honduras and Nicaragua, because all of us
are on the same situation.
If you are able to send me something do it to the following
Name withheld for obvious reasons
Dateline - February 10, 2000 Central America - Business people
in Central American countries tell me they are fearful of a little
known deadline of February 15th. That's when, they say, computer
users have to ante up for the unauthorized use of Microsoft
software they've used without paying licensing fees.
The seriousness of the matter results from the penalties --
including possible criminal charges they can expect when the
software auditors show up.
One must wonder if the government clamp downs come because of
pressure from a single company trying to squeeze every dollar it
can into it's revenue stream? And if that's correct, one must ask
who would benefit in an emerging country if Microsoft took
licensing fees out of their country? The next question one might
ask is why now?
The strategy, however, may backfire bigtime. All those Windows
95, 98 and NT boxes with M$ Office on them can be replaced for free
by Linux and StarOffice. From there, business can keep going
without skipping a beat.
So what will the Open Source community do? How about a flood of
free distributions into the Latin American countries.
I ask Linux International to take a look at this. Here's the
We need a central clearing site for each Central American
We need to place advertisements in the newspapers in Central
America letting people know where they can get software and
We need everyone to join together and offer phone support for
free to companies willing to make the switch.
When I say we have a deadline. Place the emphasis on the word
dead. Companies can be bankrupted in these communities. I say, not
on my watch.