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President Lula's Speech at FISL 10 (English Translation)

Now that the dish is prepared, is very easy for people to eat it. But to prepare this dish was not a joke. I remember the first meeting we had, at Granja do Torto, which I understood absolutely nothing of this language that this people were deciding, and that was a huge tension between those who advocated for the adoption of free software by Brazil and those who thought we should do the sameness of always, buying, paying for others intelligence and, thanks God, prevailed in our country the issue and the decision of free software. We had to choose: or we were going to the kitchen to prepare this dish the way we wanted to eat, with the seasoning that we wanted, to give a Brazilian taste to our food, or we would eat what Microsoft wanted us to eat. Prevailed, simply, the idea of freedom.

Open Source Incentives

My recent visit to Brazil was a wonderful validation of the belief that I've held for more than 20 years: if you give people a better way to do things, they'll do better things. The Brazilian government continues to expand its adoption of open source, both across more and more ministries and deeper within each ministry. I had the pleasure of talking with one of Brazil's top IT strategists, and she told me some very interesting things, both encouraging and alarming.

Open Source inspires Open Music

Fernando Anitelli Photo

Yesterday I had a chance to meet the lead singer of O Teatro Magico and then see their show. It was amazing! This creative group of musicians were about to "live the dream" by signing with a record company a number of years ago, but after they recorded the songs for their first album, the recording company said "sorry, but you need to change everything so that it sounds more like pop."

President Lula of Brazil receives ITU Award, Open Source Software cited (updated)

There's a lot of good news that does not always reach me at my desk in a single hop. But when I travel around the world, the good news of the region I'm visiting has a way of finding me, such as the news that the ITU has bestowed the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award on President Lula of Brazil. Congratulations, Mr. President!

President Lula's acceptance speech is instructive, as it specifically calls out the social benefits of free and open source software (original Portuguese, [with English translation bracketed], emphasis mine):

A new argument against SWPAT (thanks to environmental economics)

I've heard a lot of arguments against software patents (SWPAT) since Richard Stallman first raised the flag at the League for Programming Freedom, and almost all of the arguments are variations on a theme. A valid theme, but a theme that, after 20 years, has become a bit monotonous. Herman Daly puts that theme in a new context that has me all excited. He says

US CIO Vivek Kundra Advocates Open Source Software

According to a feature article in Federal Computer Weekly, the Obama Administration's new CIO Vivek Kundra has specifically called out open source as one of the key technology initiatives he will support to make the government work better at a lower cost (and with greater transparency). But the article continues to point out what seem to be persistent talking points of the FUD spinner, and this is where we need to make some real progress.

Announcing first Africa Open Source Fellowship in memory of Guido Sohne

Launched on the eve of his birthday, the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and the Advanced Information Technology Institute of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), have decided to join forces with the Sohne family to establish a Fellowship in memory and honour of the great work that Guido accomplished. So I was not worried to make the 15-hour road trip to get to Accra to be part of the event.

Copyrights and patents not so important, economist says

Michele Boldrin of Washington University in St. Louis talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about intellectual property and Boldrin's book, co-written with David Levine, Against Intellectual Property. Boldrin argues that copyright and patent are used by the politically powerful to maintain monopoly profits. He argues that the incentive effects that have been used to justify copyright and patents are exaggerated--few examples from history suggest that the temporary and not-so-temporary monopoly power from copyright and patents were necessary to induce innovation. Boldrin reviews some of that evidence and talks about the nature of competition. Listen to the interview.

Trash Talk

The story of "Let's Do It!" is both a story of civic triumph and a validation of open source software technology. But like the successful campaign of Barack Obama, the story of the actual open source software used is far less important and far less interesting than the story of how much the principles of the open source model were brought to bear in solving a problem that seemed virtually hopeless using conventional means.

It's about time: a return to anti-trust enforcement

A special report from CNNMoney.com quotes Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney saying "As antitrust enforcers, we can no longer sit on the sidelines." It's about time!

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