Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Can the guy really be all that bad? 

I bet this type of news even gets some hard core Chavez haters to reconsider their opposition to him:

Venezuela promotes Microsoft alternative

MAR. 29 7:11 P.M. ET President Hugo Chavez, long critical of big transnational companies, is promoting free open-source software as an alternative to market-dominating Microsoft Corp.

Venezuela's science and technology ministry recently held the Latin American Free Software Installation Fair, an event promoting the use of the open-source Linux operating system and other nonproprietary programs over Microsoft's Windows.

Groups of Linux users have been organizing similar events in other Latin American countries, including Argentina and Colombia, and the Venezuelan government has signed on as a promoter.

The technology ministry said the fair is part Venezuela's move toward "technological sovereignty, and taking advantage of knowledge for building national scientific independence."

Chavez, a vehement critic of the capitalist system, issued a decree in 2004 ordering all the country's public institutions to actively move toward open-source alternatives, hoping to save millions of dollars.

Government agencies have gradually been making the change.

Chavez says previous governments spent more on licensing fees for proprietary software than social programs to fight poverty.

The Venezuelan government hasn't focused direct criticism on Microsoft, but Chavez has regularly condemned "the hegemony of the multinationals" -- saying many big companies are to blame for putting profits above the needs of poor people across Latin America.

There has actually been a lot of news about Venezuela moving to open source software. I've never posted on it because I don't know a lot about software, as you can probably figure out from the decidely low tech nature of this blog. However, it has gotten plenty of coverage by some of the Spanish language Chavista blogs which seem to be written by computer experts.

I do know enough though to know Microsoft is bad news. So anything Venezuela does to avoid putting more money in the beast of Seattle's pockets is a good thing. You don't have to like Chavez to agree with that.


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