11.21.08

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Open Letter to the Portuguese Ministry of Education

Posted in Europe, Interoperability, Standard at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DEAR Minister of Education and esteemed Secretary of State and Education and Deputy Secretary of State for Education;

After reading an article [1] published on the online edition of the newspaper “O Público” on the alleged illegality of the electronic records of the individual objectives of teachers, I was curious about
the platform and decided to visit it, even though I’m not a teacher. Finding the address was relatively easy, but I can’t say the same about the access to it.

When I tried to visit the site, I encountered an error message [2] due to the browser I was using. However, the browser I use is called Icecat, now in version 3.0.4, and as it is a clone of Firefox 3.0.4; between Icecat and Firefox, besides the name, there is very little difference, and a site that is shown correctly in one is shown correctly on the other. I’m using this browser on distribution of GNU/Linux called gNewSense.

“Finding the address was relatively easy, but I can’t say the same about the access to it.”The error message I mentioned suggested the use of Internet Explorer and said that it is used ‘by more than 90% of the Internet users’. This suggestion leaves me amazed because I can’t understand how a public institution may suggest dictatorware – it should be read, proprietary/harmful software, contrary to all democratic values. The amazement is greater with the lie that follows the suggestion: the use of the browser ‘by over 90% of Internet users’. Please bare in mind that this proprietary browser, according to a report [3] of Xiti Monitor, is only used by 60% of Europeans – a number that continues to shrink every month that passes.

The same error message is also suggested when using Mozilla, an ‘Internet suite of excellence’. The problem is that this software is now called SeaMonkey and is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Mozilla Foundation (despite they give some support to the legal level of this project) as you can verify when you click the link [4] of the error page that was created for the Multi Platforma DRGHE. It would be nice if these little details were checked before putting the site online. The fact that something as trivial as this was not done makes me think that other details were also left unchecked in this platform.

Another strange… suggestion is Netscape, a browser that, curiously, had its development discontinued a few months ago. Its use could jeopardize the security of the user, such as using the proprietary browser suggested in the beginning of the error message.

Having that said, I’d like to thank you for treating me like a second class citizen. It is “good” to know that only those who use certain applications can access some sites of the government, and that interoperability, so widely recommended by the European Union, is a concept unknown to the people who develop and/or allow these web applications.

Sincerely;
Bruno Miguel

____
[1] http://ultimahora.publico.clix.pt/noticia.aspx?id=1350642&idCanal=58
[2] https://concurso.dgrhe.min-edu.pt/Definicao…
[3] http://www.xitimonitor.com/en-us/browsers-barometer/…
[4] http://www.mozilla.org/products/mozilla1.x/

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3 Comments

  1. pcolon said,

    November 21, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Gravatar

    - used ‘by more than 90% of the Internet users’.

    Glyn Moody’s post acknowledged that in Indonesia, Firefox was beyond 50% installed base, and many European nations not too far behind. Plus there are other browsers been used; Opera, Konqueror, Maxthon, Dillo, etc.

  2. albatroz said,

    November 23, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Gravatar

    Hello Bruno, let me say that I find your post interesting but some what not surprising.
    This may only be my feeling but let me say that regarding the Portuguese government a post is not enough you should be going for something like Boycott PortugueseGovernment. This country is a playground for all big companies like Microsof, Cisco, etc. and people mentality is that it is only good if it has a commercial value.
    Take the example of the new netbook for usage on schools and the fact that the government sign a contract with microsof for the development of new software without even allowing other Portuguese companies to deal cheaper prizes.
    Definitely all his situations should be put out.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 23, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Gravatar

    it’s happening in India today. They turn national universities to Microsoft Training Centres. it’s the same in France.

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