UNESCO promotes use of free software in Latin America and the Caribbean

Montevideo, Uruguay, April 8, 2008

UNESCO Office in Montevideo, Uruguay, in cooperation with the network of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) in Latin America and the Caribbean, published the Guía práctica sobre software libre: su selección y aplicación local en América Latina y el Caribe (Guidelines on free software: how to choose it and apply it locally in Latin America and the Caribbean).

Authored by Fernando da Rosa and Federico Heinz, the book has its genesis in the regional FLOSS conference LACFREE 2005 organized in Recife, Brazil, where the need for such publication was discussed.

This easy to read and practical guide promotes FLOSS contribution to sustainable development. It gives practical advice on the selection of adequate FLOSS solutions with the requested functionality and addresses the issue of migration from proprietary software to FLOSS. To facilitate the exchange of experience, the book offers a list of organizations and country related contacts. It also gives an overview of the thematic and regional landscape of the FLOSS community through the hints on annual FLOSS conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to Richard Stallman, founder of Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project, who wrote an introduction article for the book, the society "needs information that is truly available to its citizens - for example, programmes that people can read, fix, adapt, and improve, not just operate". FLOSS offers today a broad spectrum of programmes covering various areas: audio, video and design; networks and connectivity; office applications; file management; operating systems; mail and web server management, etc. FLOSS applications contribute therefore to digital opportunities in education and public administration, and support social inclusion of people with special needs.

The Guidelines were presented and distributed in several regional FLOSS events and are available online on many local websites. To download the book in Spanish, please click here.