The Free Software Movement in Latin America

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Facilitated by Toya, SFCCP

Toya has worked with the government of Brazil in many free software projects and is deeply involved in the Latin America FOSS movement. In this session, she will offer the latest on the FOSS movement in Latin America, the progress of the migration work in Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador etc. and an overview of the history of this movement. She will then facilitate a discussion about the ongoing work in Latin America and how to reproduce it here in the USA, and how to give support to this movement. The discussion will include a critique of the American/European FOSS movement for their lack of attention and support of the incredible projects happening in Latin America (and, in the case of sites like Slashdot, for the misinformation they spread about it).


raw, unformatted, typos

Open Source in Latin America Toya who works at IT deparmtent of the president of brazil

30 years latin america

  • no freedom of speech
  • oppression
  • born in brazil at this time
  • dictatorship
  • coups are often sponsorsed by America


  • people are not allowing dictatorship
    • in Venzuela
    • in Bolivia, the right-wing won movement against coups
  • people in the goverment now are the ones that were in the movements against the dictatorship
    • has been process


  • Old Brothers of Software ??


  • in early 90, companies were using
  • in 2003, in Ecuador, goverment staff were part of the open software movement
    • said goverment was going to use free software (policy)


  • migration as changing culture (in Brazil)
  • in Brazil, 8 years later, now, open software is becoming policy
  • Espresso has become created, maintained by government community
    • started from existing GPL softwar, instead of creating new GPL, so that a new leader/president could not change the license
  • Digital Inclusion Process
    • 3,500 satelite internet servers
    • teach about hardware
    • atennas were given to schools, villages
    • now have VOIP
    • indigenous communities
      • internet saved snake bite
    • government wants the people to know how to use a computer and how a computer works
      • spread knowledge
      • allows children to grow up with skills to program
      • there are many kids that don't go to university
  • REcycling
    • want to start fabricating hardware and not depend on other country manufactures
  • Schools
    • move to free software
    • universities
  • Free Software Community
    • there are many in Brazil
  • First Internalt Congress for Free
    • S Africa, Brazil, etc.
    • Signed letter to use free software
    • Went against ISO because did not want to use Microsoft document format (BIG)
      • stnadard storage
      • standard Communication
      • had Open Office come and talk with employees
      • Reasons to go to ODF format
        • security
        • money (license, migration, etc.)
        • It was illegal (against constitution) for them to go to Microsoft because of communications policy ???
      • Massachusetts example: chose ODF
        • it was very surprising to see how much infuence Micrsoft had
  • Piracy
    • kids paying for college with selling pirated software, movies
  • free software is in voting systems


  • 2nd big brother
  • 2002
  • Chavez: Oil money giong back to the country
    • SAIC
    • all white-collared workers striked and changed software
    • this cause Chavez to declare for Free Software
  • MITA ?? free softwre made by the goverment
  • software should be a resource, like education, food, medicine, etc.
  • follows similar to Brazil
  • state-created instituion for free knowledge
    • free hardware
    • university for free software
  • optical cable infrastrucre for free use for all people


  • 2006-2007
  • have Stallman come in to talk with president
  • video of Stallman to people/president
  • now are migrating
  • emphasizing education on free software so that the people can work on the software


  • some secotors are using
  • mostly education and military
  • just recently, Stallman was there
  • community there is strong
    • U2 - operation system

How do we get free software in the US government?

  • we have a different circumstance in US
    • we dont distrust corporations, we may distrust the goverment
  • Use the constitution
  • use in education, university
  • we can use the experience in other countries
  • specific points (the logicial argument)
    • security, encrypted emails!!
    • budget
    • adaptability
    • transparency
  • Free Software allows for more flexible budget (as opposed to fixed costs of proprietory software)
  • decision should come from the top (write Obama!!!)
    • get people in charge on board
    • Obama CTO (
  • takes time, piecemeal
    • local, state levels are important entry points
  • make changes that will last beyond change of people
  • meet with the decision makers and community and have debates
  • new policy in Department of Defense where RFPs must decalre why they didn't use open software
  • make sure free software persons get into goverment positions