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Open Source in Latin America -Venezuela I

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Drummond Ltd. Systems engineer Carlos A. Brewer R.

 Continuing with open source initiatives in Latin America, we have now the case of Venezuela, this chapter will deal with their open source computers.

Venezuela is widely recognized worldwide as one of the most important crude oil producers of the world,  its oil reserves are among the greatest in the world, check for "Orinoco Basin" in any search engine.

In the last few years venezuela has been using its large incomes product of oil exports to support and promote a series of social initiatives.  one remarkable initiative is directly related to computers and open source and its linked to the idea of provide computers to public schools around the country.

This initiative is called "Bolivarian Computer" as president Chavez named when the program was launched.  the program produces four different computer models all with linux as OS preinstalled, the computers are produced by ITV "Venezuela Technological Industry" owned both by the Chinese company Inspur Group and the Venezuelan ministry of light industry and commerce.

The first goal of the initiative is to provide low cost computers to public organizations, including schools and universities, then those computers will go for general sale.

Even it is not the first country to embrace open source alternative, Venezuela is one of the key players due to the fact that is one of the few countries with own factories to produce it.

Why is so important to have factories?, technology exchange and training possibilities, having one factory requires trained and skilled engineers capable to operate the facilities, this creates a dinamic between the industry,the goverment and universities that facilitates and promotes and environment for improvement and development in several areas of computer science.

By being open source means that technical specs of the computers are available and susceptible to improvements not only inside the company itself, but by engineers and experts both in the universitary environment and other areas of knowledge.

Venezuela has set an example of what can be achieved in open source computers area,  next chapter i will continue with the review of this country experience.






Cassidy Alan

Private industry could do it better. You're talking about "open source" computers. Open source is a movement, a phenomenon, that had spontaneous origins in the hackers' labs of MIT and the OS that dominates in the web server market is Linux, started by a student that had hardly cut his teeth, and was the core of the namesake work that grew up around him.

This did not occur in government-controlled "market" areas with the fences of restrictions, certifications, and licenses around it. It sprang up precisely as an answer to such controlled chains.

Hardware? Apple got its start in a garage. Search? Built on code contributed by coders that emerged in the free context of peer selection mechanisms.

So even such command-and-control governments like Venezuela's will use something like this. And because of its command-and-control nature will get the attention, especially from interests that promote such structures. But the real revolution is occurring outside such control. Initiatives for cheap laptops emerged from individual players.

And we are just getting started....

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