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Lula vs. Gates
Jamais Cascio, 17 Jan 05

Definition of power: Bill Gates trying -- and failing -- to get on your schedule to talk.

Reuters reports that Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and chairman, has been "lobbying" to meet and talk with Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (best known simply as "Lula"), at next week's World Economic Forum -- so far, to no avail.

Brazil has been at the forefront of the movement to get the developing world to adopt Linux rather than Windows as they build out their information infrastructures. From the developing world perspective, this makes a great deal of sense: Linux is free as in gratis (so it can be distributed to millions of users at little incremental cost) and free as in libre (so users can get inside the code to modify it for both better functionality and education), whereas Windows, even at a discount price, can be very costly, and ties users to the whims of Redmond. Brazil plans to partially-subsidize the purchase of 1 million computers with Linux for its citizens.

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Comments

Well, of course, Lula is a known socialist, and we all know that socialists are communists... so there we are.

Any government that does not view the provision of public services as a thin gloss over the ability to redistribute wealth from the mass to the few via taxes will, in the end, get the ire of companies like Microsoft.


Posted by: Christophe on 17 Jan 05

In being a third world country it is not more than ethical to choose for open source software. No expensive licenses for a badly designed and foreign controlled product. Independence is not communism.


Posted by: Maurits on 18 Jan 05

Maurits, I believe that Christophe's comment was a bit of satire reflecting Bill Gates' recent assertion that proponents of free/open source software were akin to communists.


Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 18 Jan 05

and what is bad about being a communist after all?..


Posted by: ogo on 19 Jan 05

well. quite a lot. comunism is based on a wrong understanding of human nature. the utopian view. comunists failed to notice weĊ½re just mammals tempted by power and status and prone to violence (the most effective way to obtain power). the only way to counter this human weakness is to create a system with checks and balances, and democracy is, at this point, our best attempt at creating such a system.

back to the main subject, this is not the first time billg meets a Brazilian president. he met a Brazilian president at least once and a former Brazilian president at least once too.

fortunately this time we have a president that is not that fond of leaning to pressure and at least is trying to think in terms of cost/benefit for his country. linux is matching the benefit at a fraction of the cost.


Posted by: oi on 20 Jan 05

Jamais, thanks for the explanation, I didnt see the irony and as I just lately discovered your excelent site I am not familiair with all the subjects yet. Anyway, my compliments.

About communism, in the end it was a reaction to capitalism, and as history pointed out reactionists (revolutionaries) often turn in what they once fought. In this case communism, like capitalism, became a tool of suppression.

In this I have to agree with Alex about the environmentalists in his recent article, stop being a reaction to a reality, but be one yourself.


Posted by: Maurits on 22 Jan 05



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