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Brazilian Citizen Petitions President-elect for Free Software

Dec 14, 2002, 04:00 (6 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Nilton Martins for this link. ]

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 open-source software.

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 use.

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 are gathered.

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 negotiator.

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.

Link to Petition (in Portuguese)

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