Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Linux in Brazil

Well, I went through DeLiLinux and Damn Small Linux … learning experiences. Then it was pointed out to me that I would need an operating system interface and applications in our home language, Portuguese.

I couldn´t find Portuguese language and keyboard support for for these flavours so googled on “Portuguese Linux” and came up with … a whole bunch of stuff!

I had forgotten that Brazil, and the Brazilian government have taken on board Linux and open source software in a BIG way! To the extent that the government signed an agreement with IBM in 2003 to develop Linux implementation in the public sector! A three year pilot project to implement Linux in one government ministry began in 2004 so, I guess, must be coming to an end now. I await news.

One of the, what could be termed “middle-range”, commercial Linux flavours, Conectiva was actually developed in Brazil. It is based on the “top-range” Debian (Linux is an ongoing family-tree of operating system flavours).

Another Debian derivative is Kurumin Linux, apparently being used in the above trial, which comes with a “lite” version for older machines. It is far easier to install programs and devices through a “control panel” designed for computer users with little IT knowledge and the user interface is much more friendly. With some caveats it can use “pure” Debian program packages (suffixed deb instead of the ubiquitous .rpm packages used by Red Hat, Fedora, SuSe etc, which, seemingly, have come under some criticism).

It also uses the graphical HPLIS system for Hewlett-Packard printer installation.

As you can gather I`ve installed it on our test machine. Unfortunately, it is not available in English.

Today my boss bought us a Portuguese keyboard and you know what? … a Brazilian Portuguese keyboard is different to a keyboard from Portugal!

No comments: