Revolution in the Revolution? Venezuela goes open source ...

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Mon Sep 2 22:40:05 MDT 2002


>From Linux Today:

Venezuela's Government Shifts to Open Source Software
Aug 30, 2002, 16 :00 UTC

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

According to government sources in Venezuela, the South American nation has
announced an official policy that exclusively calls for the use of open
source software in that government.

The announcement, made on Wednesday, stated that from now on, all software
developed for the government must be licenced under the GPL. The entire
policy was summed up in this statement by Dr. Felipe Pérez-Martí, Planning
and Development Minister: "Open source whenever possible, propietary
software only when necesary."

full article here:

http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2002-08-30-011-26-NW-LL-PB

There is also an article on the CNN Spanish website on this development:

"El pingüino toma Caracas: Venezuela adopta el modelo de software libre"

http://www.cnnenespanol.com/2002/tec/09/02/venezuela.software/index.html

That article incorporates material from a digital web  daily published in
Venezuela, La Red, with the minister and two of his aides (both well known
Linux hackers). That interview is here, and although quite long, it is very
much worth reading:

http://www.lared.com.ve/archivo/porta69.html

Of great interest is that the minister basically adopts the traditional
hacker arguments around the idea that information wants to be free but gives
it in addition an anticapitalist edge:

"El software libre es un fenómeno sumamente interesante, el cual pensamos
aprovechar en la reforma del Estado, incluso nos proponemos impulsar este
esquema como parte esencial de nuestro modelo de desarrollo. Pienso que la
tecnología es un bien público, así como el conocimiento es un bien público.
En términos más sencillos, un cambur es un bien privado, porque te lo comes,
entonces ya no está disponible para nadie más. Pero si utilizas un programa
de computación, no desaparece, sino que está disponible para "Pepe", para
"Ricardo", para cualquier otro, y esa característica le da una cualidad muy
especial en economía. La Era Industrial privatizó la tecnología como una
manera de producirla. Sin embargo, surgió una nueva modalidad de producir
bienes públicos: la manera 'solidaria'. "


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