Argentina considering going 100% open source

If you can't beat them, join them, seems to be the thinking in Argentina as it considers a move to go 100% open source within the government.

Argentina's congress is actively considering a billthat would require all government offices to use open-source software. It's partly a cost-saving move, and partly a way to bring the Argentine government into compliance with its software licensing:

The measure is sponsored by representative Marcelo Dragán as part of a national campaign against rampant software piracy in the South American country....

[T]he government itself is one of the worst copyright violators. The [Software Legal trade] association has pending lawsuits against several bureaucratic agencies, including the Secretariat of Tourism, the Federal Radio Committee and the Social Security Administration.

"It's a cultural issue, not a money issue," [Software Legal's president] insisted. "People just don't understand the value of software."

Rather than fight against the culture, the bill embraces it and opts for open-source software, which has its vendors charging for ancillary services and giving the software away. This makes sense. Yes, the government could invest millions in training its citizens to respect US copyright law. Or it could allow Microsoft to do the training for it.

It is taking a viable third way: Align software fees with true software value. Open source does a better job than any other software delivery mechanism in charging for value actually rendered.

I'll be in Argentina in August and would love to meet with anyone involved in open source there. Please email me at my address listed here.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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