12.20.10

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Wikileaks/Cablegate Shows Microsoft Trying to Take Over Brazilian Schools

Posted in America, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 1:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brazilian flag

Summary: Leaked diplomatic cables from Brazil show what Microsoft is up to around the school system which embraces GNU/Linux, affecting over 50 million children

ONE of the latest cables to be redacted and released is from Consulate of Sao Paulo and further down it states (“Microsoft” capitalised for emphasis):

¶21. Secretary Gutierrez next visited a branch of the National Commercial Apprenticeship Service (SENAC). SENAC is a University system begun in 1946 with the support of different Federations of Industry, including FIESP, which wanted to begin a system of schools that would increase the country’s stock of technically trained students. SENAC has 56 units in Sao Paulo State alone. The Secretary, Consul General, and Senior Commercial Officer were SIPDIS greeted by Joao Kulcsar, Director of the U.S. Study Center; Abram Szajman, President of SENAC and of the Federation of Commerce for Sco Paulo; and Emelio Umeoka, President of MICROSOFT. The group toured SENAC’s library, where they were given an overview of SENAC’s activities and resources, and then went across campus to MICROSOFT’s Center of Innovation learning center. Umeoka provided an overview of MICROSOFT’s investment in youth education and the goals of the Innovation Center, as well as a summary of other MICROSOFT corporate responsibility programs in Brazil. Following a photo with some of the Center’s students, the Secretary and others were escorted to a classroom, where they spent 30 minutes speaking to twelve students in a roundtable format about their different classes, incubator businesses, and hopes for future employment. A brief interview with SENAC’s internal television station followed, and Szajman and Umeoka and other SENAC representatives took their leave of the Secretary and his delegation.

This is very relevant to us because on many occasions before we have shown that Microsoft is trying to take schools in Brazil away from GNU/Linux and free/libre software. See for example:

Also see this wiki page about Brazil and Microsoft's high estimation of GNU/Linux market share in Brazil.

Do not let Microsoft hijack the minds of Brazilian children, who are tomorrow’s generation of leaders. Regarding Microsoft’s destructive hijack of Yahoo!, for example, Groklaw wrote some days ago: “So what are you trying to say? That partnering with Microsoft doesn’t pay off or something?”

Pay attention to it to avoid repeating the mistakes of others, including OLPC. The expert when it comes to abducting national education systems is the Gates Foundation.

As a side note, Microsoft has used Brazil to sell the impression that GNU/Linux is only for the poor, but according to these new numbers, GNU/Linux users spend the most money.

The Humble Indie Bundle #2 just came out three days ago with the Braid, Cortex Command, Mechanarium, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans games for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X operating systems. Like the original Humble Indie Bundle, you pay what you want. While this unique game offering has just been going on for three days, the developers have already raked in more than $900,000 USD. At the time of writing they have banked away $911,134.35 and it looks like over the weekend they should exceed $1 million USD.

Just like in last year’s Humble Bundle, GNU/Linux users are the most generous (or maybe richest). This also shows that money can be made by sharing.

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2 Comments

  1. Agent_Smith said,

    December 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

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    Actually, it’s a fierce struggle. I’m struggling to show students there are options, good options, but the inertia and piracy are really hard to beat.
    However, congressman Paulo Teixeira had a draft of a law of his approved. In this draft, all the public service and civil servants are obliged to use open source software and open standards for file exchange. I’m hoping for the best, and that his law be approved without modifications.

  2. Adam Gonnerman said,

    December 21, 2010 at 10:16 am

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    Wow. It shouldn’t really surprise me that Microsoft would be doing this sort of thing. I’ve heard that in many parts of the developing world Windows (even pirated) is considered “first world” and Linux is second-rate. Again, this is mere perception. I’ve been encouraged by the Brazilian government’s embrace of free and open source technology. I hope this will continue, and that in a few years I can do my part to help get young people there away from pirated Windows and into stable, useful GNU/Linux.

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