Action in support of Sergio Amadeu, the Brazilian government official in charge of deployment of Free Software, who is currently enduring criminal proceedings brought forth by Microsoft sign now

Disagreeing with the policies of the Brazilian government in defense of free software which is bringing to an end the *market reserve* of Microsoft for the purchase of software and government computers the company is launching an offensive to try to intimidate the Brazilian government.

In the middle of the week of the largest free software event in Latin America and one of the most important in the world, the president of Microsoft Brazil, Emilio Umeoka, has begun the attempt at intimidation declaring that the decision of the Brazilian government to support free software on computers in the public sector is being "influenced by ideology". The salesman with the monopolistic megacorporation, Mr. Umeoka, goes further, afirming that the sovereign decision of our government, legitimately elected, can lead the country in "the wrong direction". The right one, in the opinion of the salesman, would perhaps be to maintain the "market reserve" for MS in the government, fatten the wallets of the richest man in the world and continue sending, annually, billions of dollars out of the country in the form of royalty payments, in a country where 22 million people go hungry and 46 million live below the poverty line.

The search for alternatives for our development, unleashed by the government through its gamble on a new business model based on free and open software, has received wide support from small and medium-sized Brazilian companies in the field of information technology and even from large global companies such as Sun, IBM and HP, who are investing heavily in this platform. In addition, this policy has wide parliamentary support, through the Parliamentary Movement for Free Software and Digital Inclusion, headed by the president of the Brazilian National Congress, Senator Jose Sarney, and by Senator Serys Slhssarenko, in addition to representatives Walter Pinheiro and Sergio Miranda. It's one of the largest movements in the National Congress!

But in the week when the media all across the world were applauding our country's initiatives, for the achievement and for the content of the debates that took place at the 5th International Free Software Forum in Porto Alegre, the New York Times, once again, instead of providing "journalistic" coverage of this positive occurence, preferred to give publicity to the "patriotic" declarations of the Microsoft functionary, Mr. Emilio Umeoka, against the Brazilian initiatives: "ten years from now we will hold a position of dominance on something totally insignificant."

The Practice of Intimidation

All of us already know that Microsoft doesn't let itself lose and that it's opposed to open competition, but the giant crossed the line this week. In a clear act of intimidation loosed by the giant against the government of Brazil, the monopoly began criminal proceedings against the Brazilian government official responsible for the deployment of free software, Sergio Amadeu, president of the ITI. The Brazilian official received judicial notice of criminal charges brought against him by the company against his supposed declarations, in the weekly "Carta Capital", saying that the donation of software to governments is a practice similar to that of drug dealers. This declaration, attributed to Sergio Amadeu in the magazine, isn't original. The president of Sun and various activists of the free software movement use this analogy: "the first dose of proprietary software distributed for free is like a drug, after creating a dependency in the users the company starts to charge."

But why were the charges only brought against the Brazilian official?

The company also wants Sergio Amadeu to explain why, according to the magazine, he attributes Microsoft's business strategy to the practice of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) where the free software market is concerned. This is also nothing new. A week prior, a declaration entitled "Declaration of Barcelona for the advance of Free Software", signed by various international experts, among them Manuel Castells and Vinton Cerf, one of the creators of the Internet, had already noted: "Free software must work hard to combat the techniques of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) which are used against it."

But why were the charges only brought against the Brazilian official?

The answer is simple. It's a clear attempt to discourage the activities of the Brazilian government. This Microsoft initiative warrants a response from the international community. More than ever, we should unite in support of our country's initiatives in the direction of technological independence.

Text by Marcelo Branco.

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Jeanine BarronBy:
MusicIn:
Petition target:
All those who *truly* believe in serious projects of social inclusion, to governments, especially in Brazil, that should not tolerate a North American company that is trying to deter righteous projects of social and technological uplifting of a developing

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