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Linux Journal: Free Software Carnival: Latin America Takes to FLOSS in a Big Way

Jun 03, 2003, 11:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Frederick Noronha)

"Latin America seems like it's a world away, but use of free/libre and open-source software (FLOSS) there is growing much like it is in South Asia and, arguably, better. Recently, a study of FLOSS in Latin America pointed to the contribution of GNOME (started in 1997 by Mexican developer Miguel de Icaza), Brazil's Sourceforge-like Codigolivre.org.br portal site, the simple UTUTO distribution from Argentina and the popular PHP-Nuke content management system from Francisco Burzi of Venezuela.

"Latin America, specifically Peru, also has challenged the role of proprietary software and Microsoft. In addition, Brazil has come up with interesting university-based software solutions. For instance, the Brazilian UNIVATES says it has saved about $130,000 USD by not acquiring copies of proprietary software for servers and desktops. It saves $70,000 USD each year on software upgrades and maintenance--enough to pay the salaries of the development group. Therefore, UNIVATES can produce effective technology for its own use, which others also can make use of, at virtually no cost.

"To understand the larger canvas of the Free Software scene in Latin America, I spoke to Cesar Brod, the vice-president of the Brazilian free software cooperative SOLIS (Cooperativa de Solucoes Livres). More importantly, he coordinated the Latin American leg of a recent Finnish study on the significance of free/libre and open-source software for developing countries..."

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