It’s hard not to sympathize with this idea!

Venezuela Promotes Microsoft Alternative
– By JORGE RUEDA, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

(03-29) 16:11 PST CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) —

President Hugo Chavez, long critical of big transnational companies, is promoting free open-source software as an alternative to market-dominating Microsoft Corp.

Venezuela’s science and technology ministry recently held the Latin American Free Software Installation Fair, an event promoting the use of the open-source Linux operating system and other nonproprietary programs over Microsoft’s Windows.

Groups of Linux users have been organizing similar events in other Latin American countries, including Argentina and Colombia, and the Venezuelan government has signed on as a promoter.

The technology ministry said the fair is part Venezuela’s move toward “technological sovereignty, and taking advantage of knowledge for building national scientific independence.”

Chavez, a vehement critic of the capitalist system, issued a decree in 2004 ordering all the country’s public institutions to actively move toward open-source alternatives, hoping to save millions of dollars.

Government agencies have gradually been making the change.

Chavez says previous governments spent more on licensing fees for proprietary software than social programs to fight poverty.

The Venezuelan government hasn’t focused direct criticism on Microsoft, but Chavez has regularly condemned “the hegemony of the multinationals” — saying many big companies are to blame for putting profits above the needs of poor people across Latin America.


Ottawa’s glass ceiling

Where are the women who could make a credible run for 24 Sussex Drive?


The U.S. television networks are heavily promoting their new fall series, always a time to place your bets on which ones will last more than a few episodes. It’s a tough business — second chances are rare, and if they don’t achieve immediate popularity, the hook can appear very quickly.
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Cynicism about politicians

The Gomery inquiry exposes one of our many human failings, greed. Take the money and run, in this case from the “anonymous” taxpayer. The Conservatives are acting like they will be different. This reminds me of a personal experience from the Mulroney years.

At dinner one evening my wife told me about one of her acquaintances from her exercise club. Her husband had sold his cellular telephone business and was retiring at 45. I felt slight pangs of inadequacy as a husband and a provider.

As the years went by this couple renovated their house, bought a condo in Florida, married their daughter at the Ritz, upgraded their condo in Florida, etc.

Then while reading On the Take, Crime, Corruption and Greed in the Mulroney Years, I read a paragraph in the chapter on Enterprise Cape Breton. It told of Cellcom, a cellular telephone company, that received a grant of $2 million but never started in business. It was then that I noticed that the family name of my wife’s acquaintance matched the name of two of Mr. Mulroney’s classmates from university, both of whom had worked in either the PMO or the Conservative party during the Mulroney years.