[Talk] [stojmir at linux.net.mk: (IMP) Free Software in Macedonia]

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Tue Aug 26 21:39:22 EST 2003


I have sent a response to Ivan, included below. If you have more material 
to add, please send him a note. The mechanics of convincing government to 
consider open standards and open source don't vary much from country to 
country (in most circumstances.) Perhaps we can collate them as an 
'evangelism pack' for redeployment in different countries?


----- Forwarded message from Ivan Stojmirov <stojmir at linux.net.mk> -----

Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 09:30:45 +0200
From: Ivan Stojmirov <stojmir at linux.net.mk>
To: dyfet at ostel.com, team at fsfeurope.org, gnu at gnu.org,
	osi at opensource.org, questions at oss-institute.org,
	tim at linuxgreenhouse.org, conz at cyber.com.au, maddog at li.org,
	Paul.L.Rogers at li.org, entity at danny.oz.au
Subject: (IMP) Free Software in Macedonia

Dear Free Software friends,

I am Ivan Stojmirov, president of the Macedonian (*1) Free Software 
Organization (*2). In short, this organization is the only one of its 
kind. It is about one year old and its main goal is to promote, 
propagate and develop free software. Most of our attention is given to 
GNU/Linux and applicative software such as OpenOffice?.org, Mozilla, etc.

According to our goals and aims, in one year of our existence, we have 
successfully managed a few projects on promoting and developing free 
software in our country. Behind us, we have a few translation marathons 
resulting in 100% translated OpenOffice?.org, 80% translated KDE and 
more than 50% translated Mozilla and GNOME. Some workshops, seminars, 
presentations on the local IT Expo, regular weekly meetings, forums, 
GNU/Linux portal... are some of our latest activities.

Now, lets try and get to the point.

As a developing country, Macedonia came to the step when it needs to 
legalize the software used in the government, public administration, 
etc. And like in most countries, Microsoft offered its products to our 
government. The preliminary discussions begun in June/July (most of it 
without public announcements), and now there is a rumor that the 
contract between MS and our government is supposed be signed in October.

As an organization, we are aware that now is the critical moment for the 
attention of the public and the government to be pointed at the software 
legalization and free software question. We believe that Macedonia 
should follow the example of dozens of countries who use Free 
Software/OpenSource in their public sector.

In general we need some advice how to deal with this issue. We tried to 
get the media attention, but we didn't have much success. We also tried 
to contact the government officials that are responsible for IT issues, 
but that was without success as well. Moreover, there are no Free 
Software/OpenSource oriented companies in Macedonia, so we don't have 
any supportive friends in our neighborhood.

That is why we are looking for any kind of advice coming from personal 
experiences, similar situations in other countires, suggestions for 
activities etc. We are also thinking about the possibility of having 
some FLOSS major representative to talk with our government.

Any kind of help or advice would be welcomed.

(*1)  http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6336
       (David Sugar from FSF talks about his speech in Macedonia)

       (General info about Macedonia)

       (Macedonian Government)

(*2) http://www.freesoftware.org.mk/
       (The website of "Free Software Macedonia")


Ivan Stojmirov, president
Free Software Macedonia
stojmir at linux.net.mk

----- End forwarded message -----


I will pass on your message to a number of other groups as well for
a response. In the meantime, here are some pointers to documents
which might make your case a bit stronger. You might also think
about preparing some press releases and targeting the mainstream
international IT trade-press, such as:


And some of the more specialist sites:


You may be able to 'embarrass' your government. Just when other countries
(Brazil, South Africa, Germany) are moving wholesale to free software,
your government is moving to where these governments where 5 years ago.
Perhaps the foreign media can help here...

Some whitepapers: (I'm sure ther others on your cc: list will have plenty
more, particularly maddog ;-)

1) This following is a very detailed government-funded report which
could be very useful in convincing education-sector IT managers and
policy-makers about Free and Open Source Software/Linux.

2) Open Source Software and the role of Linux in the Public Sector:

3) Asian Open Source Centre

4) What is Open Source Software (OSS)? (Italy)

5) The Case for Government Promotion of Open Source Software

6) Advocacy for Open Source in Government

7) Perspectives on Open Source Software

8) We, the People... On the importance of freedom and ethics in

9) Comparing the GPL to the EULA.


Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

The best of luck to you and your people.

Con Zymaris <conz at cyber.com.au> Level 4, 10 Queen St, Melbourne 03 9621 2377 
Cybersource: Unix/Linux, TCP/IP and Web App. Development  www.cyber.com.au

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