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[Fwd: FW: <nettime> NEWS: What Open Source promises the Third World....]
Have a look at this text. Little crazy but very interesting.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nettime-l-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:nettime-l-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Frederick Noronha
> Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 12:36 AM
> To: nettime-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: <nettime> NEWS: What Open Source promises the Third World....
> Mexico Has Resources for High-Tech Success
> By GARY CHAPMAN
> An open letter to Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox:
> Congratulations on your historic victory in the presidential
> election. About 100 million Mexicans and others who love Mexico
> are eager for change in your country, and they have high hopes
> when your new administration takes office in December.
> But clearly, one issue of great importance is how to bring Mexico
> into the "new economy" of the Internet, high tech and global
> commerce. Mexico has many resources in technology to exploit, but
> they have been obstructed by weak or bad government policies. You
> can change this.
> Let me offer you some suggestions on how you might start.
> First, Mexico's future lies with free, "open source" software
> like the operating system Linux, and Gnome, another open-source
> effort to build a Windows-like screen. Gnome itself was developed
> by a young Mexican programmer, Miguel de Icaza, who is 27 years
> old. This summer, De Icaza started the Gnome Foundation
> (http://www.gnome.org) to unify and stabilize the Linux desktop
> software, and he acquired the support of IBM, Sun Microsystems,
> Hewlett-Packard and Compaq, among other major U.S. companies. He
> is a hero to young programmers around the world, and he should be
> a hero to all Mexicans. You should meet with Miguel de Icaza and
> get to know him and young people like him. They are the best hope
> for Mexico.
> Obviously, the biggest benefit of free software to Mexico is that
> it's literally free, and Mexico is a poor country that needs to
> preserve its capital. Mexico has a new law on software piracy,
> for example, and your government will need to enforce this law
> for Mexico to be regarded as a trusted partner in high-tech
> trade. But if you do enforce the software piracy law effectively,
> it will result in a massive transfer of pesos to the United
> States, and principally to Microsoft, the largest victim of
> software piracy in Mexico.
> Alternatively, you could promote the use of free software such as
> Linux, Gnome and application packages such as Sun Microsystems'
> StarOffice suite, which are all free. No pesos would leave Mexico
> and you would get all of the functionality of modern software.
> Indeed, you'd become part of a trend that is sweeping the
> computing field in the U.S. IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Compaq
> are all offering Linux on computers now. IBM is essentially a
> Linux company these days, an astonishing transformation. Mexico
> would not lose anything by adopting free software, indeed, it
> would move to the cutting edge of technology.
> Your government should also think about creating an elite but
> grassroots-oriented corps of young free-software evangelists,
> programmers, hackers and systems developers who could build on
> the culture and spirit of the embryonic free-software movement.
> Give them an identity with special shirts or jackets and
> specially painted pickup trucks to go out to villages and towns,
> and elevate them to hero status in Mexico. They should have an
> esprit de corps that reflects both their enthusiasm for their
> work and their patriotism. Send them around the world to
> technical and trade conferences and make them stand out--make
> them the young, technically skilled enthusiasts everyone wants to
> work with.
> * * *
> Joakim Ziegler is one of these wizard-like programmers. He's
> Norwegian, but he lives in Mexico City because he loves it there.
> He works for Helix Code, the company started by Miguel de Icaza.
> Ziegler is also in his twenties. He told me, "A change as radical
> as the internal use of free software"--meaning use by the
> government itself--"would be an indication of real change." The
> Federal Election Commission in Mexico used free software to run
> this year's election, but other government agencies have yet to
> grasp its benefits.
> Ziegler also said, "Small companies run by enthusiastic young
> people don't have a lot of status in Mexico right now." Too many
> of Mexico's young entrepreneurs have moved to the U.S. to start
> companies. In Mexico, there's too much government red tape,
> credit is too expensive and there is a culture of "not what you
> do, but who you know," all of which are obstacles to building the
> kind of entrepreneurial spirit Mexico needs. You should make
> Mexico a place that is as easy to start a business in as it is in
> California or Texas.
> Mexico also needs a better telecommunications infrastructure.
> Telmex, the recently privatized national phone company, and its
> competitors, such as Avantel, are slowly building up their
> capabilities. But they will not soon reach the vast numbers of
> Mexicans who live in underserved and poor areas.
> * * *
> So you should pay attention to a San Diego company called Tachyon
> Inc. (http://www.tachyon.net), which is doing business in Mexico.
> Tachyon has a contract for using SatMex 5, the powerful Mexican
> satellite that covers all of Mexico. Tachyon is offering
> inexpensive two-way Internet service via satellite, and it can
> serve every town and village in Mexico right now.
> The company's vice president, Santiago Ontanon, who is 33 and
> from Mexico City, told me that its price for broadband Internet
> connectivity for a typical Mexican school with five to 10
> computers is only about $300 to $400 per month. This is thousands
> of dollars less than what Telmex can offer, and it can happen
> tomorrow, not in some indefinite future. Incidentally, the ground
> equipment Tachyon provides its customers runs on Linux.
> With the combination of free software and inexpensive Internet
> connectivity, as well as building on Mexico's Red Escolar
> (SchoolNet) program for wiring Mexican schools, the country could
> become the world's leading example of affordable high-tech
> infrastructure for the rest of the world's developing nations.
> Moreover, the philosophy behind free, open-source software fits
> well with your important ideas about a new "open society" in
> There will be strong pressures, both internally and externally,
> for Mexico to adopt a conventional model of development,
> dependent on big corporate players and mega-deals. But you have
> the opportunity to foster something different and far more
> interesting. Throw your power, prestige and vision to your young
> people, to your entrepreneurs and innovators and to the practical
> idealists of the free software movement. This will pay off in the
> long run, and it could dramatically transform Mexico.
> * * *
> Gary Chapman is director of the 21st Century Project at the
> University of Texas at Austin. He can be reached at
> Recent Digital Nation columns are available at
> Search the archives of the Los Angeles Times for similar stories
> about: Business - Mexico, Computer Industry - Mexico, Computer
> You will not be charged to look for stories, only to retrieve one.
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The only "intuitive" interface is a nipple.
After that, it's all learned.
Committed to freedom and diversity
Pankaj Kaushal <pankaj@xxxxxxx>
//\ I'm a FIG (http://fig.org/)
\// I use GNU (http://www.gnu.org/)
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