Brazilian Citizen Petitions President-elect for Free Software
Dec 14, 2002, 04:00 (6 Talkback[s])
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A Brazilian citizen has started up his own online petition to
persuade Brazillan President-elect Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to end
government funding of foreign proprietary software firms and
instead turn government software spending towards free and
The petition, which is being hosted at PetitionsOnline.com, is a
brief missive to President-elect Lula urging him to divert funding
from purchasing software from companies such as Microsoft and use
the savings to facilitate the transition to free software.
The arguments made by the petition are relatively
straightforward: shifting the government to using only free
software would not only save funds right off the top, but ideally
would seed citizen's use of similar technology.
This is a familiar argument, having been used in Israel and
other nations to promote the use of government free software
The petition specifically highlights the Brazilian government's
relationship with Microsoft--a government the petition cites as
providing 80 percent of all of Microsoft's sales in Brazil.
The author of the survey is Renato Siqueira, who describes
himself as "a Brazilian how cares how the public administration and
people spend money in my country."
Siqueira plans to have the petition online until it has acquired
500,000 signatures. While not a member of any free software of
Linux group, Siqueira, a self-proclaimed "GNU/Linux lover" would
certainly weclome assistance from "any free software group wants to
help me with marketing or training in GNU/Linux..."
The petition is only valid to Brazilian citizens, though
Siqueira indicated that any comments on his efforts would be
welcomed and most likely posted on his own personal weblog.
How President-elect Lula would react to this petition should be
interesting, particularly is the requistite half million signatures
As a member of the Workers' Party in Brazil, Lula has in the
past been very left on the political spectrum. Some have described
him as socialist. Even though he turned to more centrist views
during this current successful presidential campaign, Lula has
always maintained very strong ties with Brazilian labor groups. Not
surprising given his backgound of 20 years as a labor
Given his leanings away from big business, Lula may be a
powerful ally in shifting government software use towards a free or
open source environment. With Brazil currently having the eighth
largest economy in the world, that will mean big stakes for
proprietary software vendors.
Petition (in Portuguese)