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05.26.10

Latvia’s Digital Independence Under Attack by Microsoft

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft, OpenOffice, Steve Ballmer at 2:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux infestations are being uncovered in many of our large accounts as part of the escalation engagements.”

Microsoft Confidential

Coat of Arms of Latvia

Summary: Latvian sovereignty is at risk due to Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ involvement with politicians, which leads to disruption of local migrations to freedom-respecting software such as OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux, and Firefox

A READER of ours from Latvia has just mailed us some information about his/her home country (anonymity is preferred here), where Microsoft has been suppressing freedom using its proprietary code and back room deals. We wrote about the subject in the following posts and recent English references that we are appended at the bottom of this post.

AUSTRUMI is a Latvian GNU/Linux distribution we don’t hear so much about anymore (last release seemingly announced a year and a half ago). It used to describe itself as “a business card size (50MB) bootable Live CD Linux distribution.  Imagine the ability to boot your favorite Linux distribution whether you are  at home, at school or at work.”

“Microsoft lobbying is super big in Latvia!!”
      –Anonymous source
“There is [an] interesting link,” tells us a reader, “which must be added for all in Techrights website.” The link contains information about Project 3td.

Watch this page to witness how both Microsoft and super-lobbyist Gates are pushing Microsoft into Latvia. Are they trying to just block or suppress the country’s astounding adoption rates of Free software (see links below)? It’s always described as ‘donations’ and goodwill (even the Gates Foundation gets involved). It’s just wonderful when attacking one’s competition can be spun as being charitable and it takes great PR skills to achieve this deception.

There are some other pointers sent by the reader (but not in English), e.g.

That last link is translated by Google to say:

Zatlers of Latvia: Latvian IT professionals and Microsoft’s co-operation can bring real projects to be proud

[...]

The project was initiated and Valdis Zatlers Microsoft Executive Steve Balmer meeting in May this year. The president believes that the project is not only important from the standpoint of modern technology, but also from small countries in the language of the conservation, improvement and convenient everyday use, using IT software. To continue the project as a guardian, he promises to carefully monitor the project.

Language Bank was discussed at Tuesday meeting V. Zatlers, Microsoft International and Microsoft Central and eastern regional vice president Vahem Torosjanam, Microsoft Latvia Head Daiga Trump and company Tilde Head A. Vasilyev.

We wrote about Ballmer’s meeting at the time because there was English coverage (see links at the top).

Our reader stressed the urgency of the matter by writing: “Microsoft lobbying is super big in Latvia!! Can you help???? Please, please!!! Is there possible to inform about this problem our President of Latvia which is infected too!!!! [...] Please help Latvia. [...] Is there possible to inform Red Hat CEO and maybe there will be possible to put this question up???? Are you have any contacts with CEO of Red Hat??”

If anybody can help (there are some Red Hat employees who read this site for example), please do get involved and help Latvia get back to its agenda of software freedom. Microsoft is clearly trying to derail it by pushing aside the Latvian people and greasing up their politicians instead.
_____
[1] LV: City council to provide OpenOffice courses

The city council of Ogre is providing free training for OpenOffice, an Open Source suite of office applications, to improve the competitiveness of the local businesses and boost the performance of the local government.

Ogre, a town with some 27,000 inhabitants is about 30 km southeast of Latvia’s capital Riga.

[2] Latvians Love Firefox

The first day of each month often brings great news. A month ago, we saw that the latest browser market share data showed Firefox surpassing the 50% milestone in Slovakia and the Philippines. Today, we can say the same about Firefox usage in Latvia!

[3] LV: Ministry of Education approves open source software for schools

Open source can be used to teach computer science classes to secondary school pupils, Latvia’s ministry of Education announced on Tuesday.

The ministry bases its conclusion on the work of a group of experts, industry association representatives, ministry officials and school representatives. The group in August started looking for open source applications that could be used for computer science classes.

According to the group open source software will be able to fulfil all requirements of the computer education curriculum in primary and secondary schools.

[4] mCash-strapped Latvia mulls switching from Microsoft

Cash-strapped Latvia is mulling whether to replace brand name office software like Microsoft with an open source equivalent as a cost-cutting measure, a government spokeswoman told AFP Thursday.

[5] Approval For Open Source Software For Schools Has Been Announced By Ministry Of Education

Open source can be used to teach computer science classes to secondary school pupils, Latvia’s Ministry of Education announced on 1 December 2009.

The ministry bases its conclusion on the work of a group of experts, industry association representatives, ministry officials and school representatives. In August 2009 the group started looking for open source applications that could be used for computer science classes.

According to the group, open source software will be able to fulfil all requirements of the computer education curriculum in primary and secondary schools.

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