December 11, 2003

Open-source software gets boost at UN

A months-long backroom battle led by Brazil, with support from India, South Africa and China, against the United States over open-source
software took center stage Wednesday at the UN information summit meeting here.

Samuel Guimarães, executive secretary in Brazil's foreign ministry, told government representatives at the summit meeting's opening sessions that
free-to-share software is crucial for the developing world because it enables poorer countries to develop their own technology instead of having to
import it.

That message put the maneuvering for open-source software business at the highest levels of global policy, with proponents and critics both struggling
for the endorsement of intra-governmental agencies such as the UN.

Brazil wanted the summit talks to endorse the idea that the digital divide cannot be bridged with proprietary software and that open-source software,
which is developed collaboratively and exchanged freely over the Internet, is the best path forward.



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