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Linux desktop's on-again, off-again relationship with Brazil

Brazilians seem to love the idea of open source, but not always its reality, at least as it relates to the Linux desktop.

Wow. In discussing the Brazilian government's attempts to subsidize interest rates for Linux desktops in order to promote the open-source operating system, CNET uncovers a sad statistic about Linux desktop adoption. Despite a lot of noise around Brazilian adoption of open source and disdain for Microsoft, Microsoft is getting lots of love, as CNET reports:

A big part of this has been a government-backed "PC for all" program that subsidizes the interest rate for some models, though only those with Linux qualify....

That said, some estimates show as many as 18 or 19 out of every 20 machines sold with Linux ultimately are converted to some form of Windows.

"There was a retailer in one of the countries that sold their systems with Linux," said Gartner analyst Luis Anavitarte. "They made a survey of clients within the first 30 days; 95 percent were already on Windows."

This is why I repeat over and over and over that the way to drive open source adoption is not through government fiat. It's through the end-user's heart. Where open source is better, people gladly use it. Where it's not, people will use their preferred solution.

The good news? Open-source solutions are increasingly better than their proprietary counterparts. Where they aren't, however, we shouldn't expect people to use them just because they're open source.