This piece of news item from Inquirer.net caught my eye. Making free and open source software (FOSS) widely available to the Filipino masses surely is an idea whose time has come.

I find it rather sad to see people spending thousands upon thousands of pesos to acquire a computer only to end up scrimping on spending for legitimate copies of software to install on those expensive equipment. A lot of people I see doing this even have the audacity to flaunt that they earn money using unlicensed/illegal copy of software.

For the average user who normally does email, web surfing and even some multi-media management, all one need is a single installation CD of Ubuntu Linux. In its default installation, Ubuntu Linux includes an Office suite (OpenOffice.Org), a web browser, a mail client and a media player — everything a typical user needs to be productive with a computer. For the more savvy user, it even has a bundled BitTorrent client for their downloading needs. All these programs are bundled with the installation CD of Ubuntu Linux. Compare that with installing Windows. Once installed, one needs to do another installation for MS Office. Althought there is a built-in web browser, email client and multi-media manager that comes with Windows, the typical user opt to “buy” better versions of these in their favorite stalls in Greenhills because most of these users find the bundled stuff “bitin” — it does not do what they want them to do.

Hopefully, this government-backed project will wean the typical Pinoy users from using pirated software and start using free and open source software instead.

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