"This legal movement, earliest and most pronounced in
Brazil, but also showing signs of catching on elsewhere in Latin
America, Europe and Asia, is finding ready converts as governments
struggle to close sometimes vast digital divides with limited
information-technology budgets. So far, there is no evidence that
similar legislation is being considered anywhere in the United
States, experts said.
Open-source and free software represent a budget-priced
alternative to Microsoft's Windows operating system and
applications that can cost thousands of dollars a month to license.
In addition, access to underlying source code means governments and
businesses can fix problems or modify software to work more
But behind the obvious reasons for the move to open-source and
free software are more subtle issues. One of the overriding drivers
behind legislation, experts said, appears to be a desire to break
free of the United States' lock on the global software market."
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