DevSummit07:Free Software Communities in Latin America

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Facilitated by Lena Zuniga, Sula Batsu, Costa Rica

Lena will share observations and insights from her recently-published book "Free Voices from the Digital Fields" which describes free software and open source developer communities in Latin America.

Session notes

General Notes

  • free software community is a diverse community
  • the history and political context of each country
  • Summary of findings from research project of free software use in Latin America."Free Voices from the Digital fields" - a Social Research on Free Software in latin America and the Caribbean
  • use of free software by social movements . Particularly in Brazil & Argentina
  • Strategy is important to make an effect.

Case Studies

  1. Brazil, where free software activists as involved as key advisors and ministers in the government
  2. Costa Rica, where companies such as Microsoft and others strategically capture key sectors, such as Education to make sure that their product is the one people know and people want to find jobs in.

what can people from outside the region do ?

  1. is it manuals, is it people?
  2. What recommendations could be given to donors who are interested in supporting free software in the region.
  • The technical capacity is there already.
  • Building business skills is key
  • the sustainability of the initiatives is a problem. It's a people problem, not hardware or internet access


  1. how does one find the time to be able to use computers and learn. It is a big challenge.
  2. Important to build spaces and opportunities for people to get together and learn together