23 January 2007

Africa: 'Microsoft is Imperialistic' Says Open Source Advocates

Geneva — Microsoft Corporation's products have been locked out of the on-going World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi Kenya.

With over 300 computers provided for participants and the press, organizers of the WSF have preferred to provide open source software products and blocked all Microsoft related products for the forum's usage and its related activities.

Participants attending WSF, which for the first time is entirely taking place in an African country say that this was a gesture done as a way of promoting the free social movement at the same time also as a way of fighting Microsoft's 'imperialistic tendencies.'

Activists at the forum also believe that since Microsoft is a corporate brand from the United States of America, a country they believe has intentions of maintaining the status quo of a unipolar world over which it is above international law and the UN, the brand should be locked out.

In its sixth year, the WSF has developed itself as one of the foremost expressions of the struggle of social and political movements on the planet. Open source activists have since joined these movements.

Anoop Sukumaran of the Focus on the Global South, said that, since one has to pay licenses for any kind of Microsoft 's software, the multinational computer technology corporation is in a way controlling the flow of global information instead of releasing it free without any charge.

?Microsoft has no thinking. And the unfortunate thing is that the whole third world including almost all of Africa is being forced to use Microsoft products, through the pretext of these trade treaties like the WIPO and the WTO? Sukumaran says.

?The open source movement is providing Linux, a robust free software. Everybody owns it and it can be shared. And this is what WSF is all about - a free society, a movement fighting for ownership of free resources? he adds.

With an annual revenue of over US$44.28 billion as of July 2006, Microsoft develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices.

Participants from the International South Group Network (ISGN) who are advocating for open source software at the WSF are set to give out over 100 free CDs of the kubuntu brand of the open source software here at the forum as a way of fighting Microsoft.

Open source is a conceivable tool of communication, a weapon to fight for ones own right. Users of open source software are (generally) able to view the source code, alter and re-distribute the software.

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