VENEZUELA PROMOTES MICROSOFT ALTERNATIVE
By Jorge Rueda
March 29, 2006
CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez, long critical of big
transnational companies, is promoting free open-source software as an
alternative to market-dominating Microsoft Corp.
Linux operating system and other nonproprietary programs over Microsoft’s
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.