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06.27.08

Quick Mention: Bill Gates’ Political Crusade Has Already Begun

Posted in Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Semi-retired man battles ‘cancer’ in the UN

On several occasions before we provided examples of situations where Bill Gates uses his wealth to stifle Free software adoption, especially where children are involved [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. While the press is still humming about Bill Gates ‘benevolence’ [1, 2, 3, 4], some more news ought to show that the man has already moved on to his adventurous crusades for Windows everywhere. It’s a diplomatic battle rather than a technical one. The UN and Microsoft have begun flirting and — quite unsurprisingly — it’s all about the man who claims to be retiring.

The head of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates have discussed enhancing their collaboration on using information technology to spur development around the world.

The UN has persistently encouraged, as a matter of principle in fact (monetary considerations aside), the use of Free software. Here are some stories about Free Software in the United Nations, assembled over the past year or so.

1. UN think tank urges legislators to support ‘open source’ information technologies, software

“Participation in, not just access to, the information society is important” Ghosh told the UN event, attended by members of parliament from over 40 countries. “Open source software gives people fishing rods, not just fish.”

“The main issue here is a plea for open standards as they guarantee competition,” says Prof. Luc Soete, Director of Maastricht-based UNU-MERIT, underlining the importance of this topic to the Institute’s work. Recently published UNU-MERIT studies demonstrate the strong role of open source software in skills development.

2. UN University Launches OpenCourseWare

It seems a no-brainer that the United Nations University (yes, it exists) should make available its courses for the world and her dog to use…

3. Technical support for open source system now in GenSan

Dr. Francisco Sarmiento III, project officer of the United Nations Development Programme-International Open Source Network (UNDO-IOSN) Asean+3 Sub-regional Node, said local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), government and non-government organizations migrating towards the free and open source software (FOSS) may now link up for support with the Mindanao State University’s (MSU) Computer Center here.

4. UN partners with MSU-Gensan for dev’t of 1st Foss center

A United Nations (UN)-funded organization promoting the use of the free and open source software (Foss) has forged a partnership with the Mindanao State University (MSU) for the development of Southeast Asia’s first OpenHUB or accessible FOSS resource center.

5. Talking FOSS at the UN

Weesner says that despite the fact that speakers like Stallman and Cooper were well-received last year, “This year [the delegates] expressed a wish to hear more from real-world users instead of the technologists and advocates. This year’s agenda does not include open source software developers, apart from Chris DiBona, who will be representing the Google case.” Other unconfirmed guest speakers include Virgin America, SchoolNet Namibia, and Banco do Brasil.

6. UN body releases desktop Linux guide

A UN-funded organisation has produced a Linux desktop user guide to encourage the take-up of Linux in developing countries

7. UN Technical Agency Honors Mozilla

This is an enormous honor. It is a very significant recognition of the work of the Mozilla project. I want to thank the ITU for selecting Mozilla and congratulate the Mozilla community for making such an impact in people’s online lives.

8. UN body releases desktop Linux guide

A UN-funded organisation has produced a Linux desktop user guide to encourage the take-up of Linux in developing countries

9. Editor’s Corner (on Open Source in Healthcare)

Suggesting that a private healthcare provider switch from proprietary software to open source-based applications is one thing. But when an official affiliated with as august a body as the United Nations suggests that all member countries adopt open source for their healthcare applications, that’s a much bigger deal.

In summary, can you see why Bill Gates is meeting high-level UN officials? It’s all about circumventing the technical and ethical decision makers; it’s about playing on myths and charm instead. We’ll be seeing a lot of this in the future now that Gates has more available time in his hands, for supposedly charitable deeds.

“People everywhere love Windows.”

Bill Gates

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