Brazil and Open Source

Open source: Brazil shies away from Redmond

Brazil recently signed a letter of intent with IBM to help boost government use of such platforms as Linux. Mr [Segio] Amadeu [of Brazil’s IT Institute] faces the uphill task of bridging a very wide technology gap: just 10% of Brazil’s 170 million population own personal computers. He believes that open source Linux is the cheapest way forward.

So far, only two small government agencies in Brazil – Mr Amadeu’s own department and the government-run news agency – have made the jump away from Microsoft operating systems. Mr Amadeu is also eyeing the country’s half million Windows-variant electronic voting machines as a target for switching to open source software.

Some Slashdot background: IBM, Brazilian Government Launch Linux Effort and Brazil Moves Away From Microsoft .

Australian P2P Trials

Aussie students escape jail for online music piracy

Australia’s first criminal trial for online music piracy has ended with two students each receiving suspended 18-month jail sentences.

Charles Kok Hau Ng, 20, and Peter Tran, 19, ran a music-swapping site called MPW3/WMA Land. Available for download were 390 CDs, some 1,800 tracks. The pair charged no money for their service, but were responsible for big losses to the record companies. According to the Prosecution, the losses to piracy attributable to the site was AUS$60m. According to the Australian music industry the loss was somewhat higher – AUS$200m. Hmm. Not very scientific, is it?

The assumption is, of course, that each illegal music download is a sale lost. […]

A third defendant, Tommy Le, 21 was sentenced to 200 community service. His crime was to upload four compilations in which he showed off his DJing skills.

A Question for Gov. Mitt Romney

If you are constitutionally opposed to the Supreme Judicial Court’s introduction of a civil definition of marriage, what do you have to say about the current ability of civil authority to dissolve marriage, which is declared “until death us do part” or even beyond in some sects? Or is that the next step in the program to covert the US into a medieval theocracy? I am baffled by those who seem to need civil authority to back (legitimate?) what I was taught were a part of one’s personal faith.

Derrick Jackson, who usually is more aggravating than elightening, really skewers this perception in today’s op-ed: Mass. court cuts through the homophobia

If politicians really wanted to strengthen American families, they’d be better off funding after-school programs and creating jobs. If the Catholic Church is serious about families, it should make sure its new procedures against child abuse are working. Railing about gay marriage in a society where half of straight marriages end in divorce is gutter politics that exploits one of our deepest remaining strains of bigotry.

Update: And this Salon run through of the right-leaning blogs comes up with further points to ponder: Right Hook

But “Jim Noble” tells “Always Right” why a Constitutional amendment may not make a difference.

“Traditional marriage has 3 elements:

1) It is permanent (no divorce)

2) It is sexually exclusive (adultery is a felony)

3) It is between a man and at least one woman.

Which of these does your amendment restore?”

Making it in Music Retail Today

A profile on what it takes from today’s Boston Globe: They’re tuned in to customers’ needs

To counter falling sales, managers are cutting their staffs, strengthening their services, pricing their CDs competitively, and expanding stock to include videos, DVDs, and clothing. And they’re practicing the art of specialization, luring customers to specific genres and formats of music that can’t be found at a Target or Best Buy. ”We certainly try to appeal to more of the lunatic fringe,” says Pat McGrath, owner of Looney Tunes Records in the Fenway, which has survived the last 25 years selling used classical, jazz, and rock records. ”People who scarcely have a life are our ideal customers — someone who would eat dog food so they would have extra record money. I swear, some of them look like they’re existing solely on Alpo. That’s the clientele I cultivate. I’m a niche market.”

[…] But specialization and service don’t always ensure longevity. One of the reasons Biscuithead Records closed last year is that the college students who flocked to the store for underground hip-hop discovered they could get the same songs on the Internet for free, says Biscuithead’s owner, DJ Bruno, a veteran of Boston’s club scene who would not divulge his birth name. He was also battling Massachusetts Avenue neighbors who didn’t want a store catering to the hip-hop crowd in their midst. ”[They] were complaining about the music,” says Bruno, ”complaining about the clientele that was coming in there. There wasn’t really anything wrong with the clientele. . . . It was just the black stereotypes.”

[…] While plenty of fanfare accompanied Universal Music Group’s September announcement about slashing suggested retail prices to $13 from $17-$19, the cut affects only retailers that buy in bulk. Now smaller distributors are stepping in to help mom-and-pop stores. New York-based reggae specialist VP Records offers a 5 percent discount if a client buys 10 CDs rather than five. The price drop can give Laxton an edge over bootleggers such as the one Henry sees roaming Dorchester and Mattapan selling reggae and soca discs for $5.