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An Appeal from Luis - Bring Linux to El Salvador

Feb 29, 2000, 01:16 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Adelstein)

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Tom Adelstein writes:
I received this letter from a friend in El Salvador. He has stepped forward and volunteered to accept and distribute Linux and other Open Source Products to his countrymen. He has arrangements with a small Computer manufacturer to warehouse and freely distribute the software. He has also agreed to train service professionals to assist anyone in learning Linux.

Luis is not a native English speaker, but we think he made his point.

Concerned, he wrote me one side bar item:

Luis: I also forgot to tell you that I read two different small classified advertisings in the newspapers offering to install Linux and StarOffice at $40 to $50 per copy. It that legal? Is this in accordance with Linux policies? What you suggest I do?

Here's your opportunity to answer him.

Now, here is his letter:

Linux, or the Opportunity to Pay an Old Debt to the Third World

By a Linux-Advocate

Between all the technological advances that have arisen in the last decades in the developed countries, the personal computer (PC), among them, has been possibly the one that with more amplitude has been implemented in the third world and specially in Latin America. All the spaces of the society positively have been hit by means of the use of this powerful tool that already comprises the daily living in our countries.

Efficiency in the work and the application of new technologies is the direct consequence of the use of PC´s in this area. The impact of the internet has been vastly understated. With every day that passes, millions of internet users miss out on the opportunity to perceive the bigger picture, that the world is bigger and more beautiful than they ever imagined? And of the e- mail, that it has facilitated us to communicate with all the humanity in ways that we never dreamed before it would be possible?

Latin America has taken a step inside of the global village that is today this world in which we lived. But a ghost threat to prevent that the dream continues. For several months the governments of Central American area have been approving new laws that protect the intellectual property. Between the most benefited with this new law we can find the producers of music, the manufacturers of clothes, and of course, the software producers.

This new laws apply fines in money and also jail to anyone which is non-authorized to use the software. Only in El Salvador, Central America, at least 80% of software companies and individuals are using are illegal. The amount in money to legalize each copy at the moment in use has been considered in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The MS software in the region is expensive and very few have the capacity to obtain a license. As the deadline approaches to legalize copies already in use, it increases the uncertainty of small industralists and medium companies about how to resolve this situation. Many are asking themselves how to keep going ahead without this powerful tool of work that some of them consider almost just as their right hand. For them the future it is seen hard and uncertain. These medium and small businessman are the immense majority that maintained the economy of the country during almost twelve years of civil war that finished some years ago.

Surely that the Intellectual Property must be respected. There is no doubt about that. Latin America can, one more time, stay solely as spectator of the great transformations and technological advances that are the vehicle for development because it cannot pay the rights to enter that wonderful world.

It is now the day, in which the developed nations, must share, for the benefit of the less favored nations, a part of their wealth and knowledge disinterestedly? Linux seems to be the answer for this so urgent situation.

Gratuitous Software of good quality and technological development are at hand with Linux. The Community of Linux has a great challenge ahead, the challenge to demonstrate that in the humanity still there are human beings who are interested in the benefit of the others over their particular economic interests. The challenge to demonstrate that on the Earth still there are people who thank for the gifts that life has given them, and are able to share them with those to which the life favored them less, solely because they were born in different a geographic zone. The situation is propitious, the resources already exist. Will it surpass the Open Source Community? Or will apathy towards its Southern neighbors prevail? Who will dare to make this effort effective?.

Meanwhile, the horizon in Latin America is uncertain, and an old debt, inherited from generation to generation by the developed countries remains unpaid. A debt only recognized for those who understand that the abundance of one individual has been created to satisfy the necessity of another.

Donations of CD's, books and materials to help El Salvador may be sent to:

Inversiones 2000
Colonia Montebello Poniente
Pasaje Santander
Casa No 13
Mejicanos, San Salvador
El Salvador, Central America.