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Brazil adopts open-source software
BBC News (Steve Kingstone)Jun 03 2005original
Posted by giovaJun 03 2005 - 09:12
In Brazil's Ministry for Cities, staff are busily at work.
The scene is much like any other modern office: an open-plan work space crammed with desks, telephones and computers.

But there's one big difference. The word 'Microsoft' is nowhere in sight.

Instead, computers here now use the Linux operating system. It has many similar functions to Microsoft's Windows - but unlike Windows, it is available for free.

Increasingly, Brazil's government ministries and state-run enterprises are abandoning Windows in favour of 'open-source' or 'free' software, like Linux.

Money saving

"The number one reason for this change is economic," says Sergio Amadeu, who runs the government's National Institute for Information Technology.

He explains that, for every workstation, the government is currently paying Microsoft fees of around 1200 Brazilian reais ($500; 270).

"If you switch to open source software, you pay less in royalties to foreign companies," explains Amadeu. "And that can count for a lot in a country like Brazil, which still has a long way to develop in the IT sector."

Overall, the government reckons it could save around $120m a year by switching from Windows to open-source alternatives.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is studying a draft decree which, if approved, would make the change compulsory for federal departments.
 


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