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More On The Open Sourcing Of Iraq 287

popdookey writes " The BBC's broadcast, The World, has run a piece on the growing Linux movement in Iraq as was previously reported here on Slashdot. 'In Iraq, a group of computer users has started writing open source computer code. They're Linux enthusiasts. The idea is to make low-cost, home-grown software and is said to hold great promise for developing countries. It could leapfrog Iraq into a more competitive future. The World technology reporter Clark Boyd reports.'"
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More On The Open Sourcing Of Iraq

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  • after bush (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:33AM (#9493223)
    now bill gates gonna invade iraq too
    • by arjun ( 33278 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:56AM (#9493499) Homepage
      microsoft is waaaay ahead of you, check this [bbspot.com]out !
    • Rest assured, if there is in any way whatsoever, any connection at all between these coders and bin Laden, not matter how ridiculous(their mothers,fathers,cousins,friend passed by a stall where an apple(not a mac) was purchased by someone who SAW the nefarious criminal, SHOCK!) , Microsoft will use it to say that Linux supports terrorism.

      Wait,wait...sorry. Microsoft will get SCO to use it to say that Linux supports terrorism!
  • by Phekko ( 619272 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:36AM (#9493228)
    Iraq is anti-US. They code Linux stuff in Iraq. Ergo, Linux is anti-US. Bomb Linux!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:54AM (#9493293)
      Iraq is anti-US.

      What, do you mean even after we've bombed the shit out of it, shot the shit out of it, and tortured the shit out of it, they are still anti-US?

      What the fuck?

      Goddamn ungrateful motherfuckers.

      I say we bomb the place.
    • Iraq is anti-US.

      Wrong.
      US is anti-Iraq : AFAIK, Iraq never invaded nor bombed US.

      They code Linux stuff in Iraq.

      GCC/GLibC-compliant would be a better assertion.

      Ergo, Linux is anti-US.

      This however is true :
      US = United Corporations (Microsoft, GM, Enron, Monsanto, etc.)
      Linux poses them a genuine threat as it counterbalance their marketing approach and very few besides Linux shall survive without changing business models.

      Bomb Linux!

      How do you bomb software ?

      • The attempted assassination (April 1993 in Kuwait; 11 Iraqia arrested) of an ex-president (and yes I'd feel the same if it had been Clinton) is internationally accepted as an act of war.
      • Iraq is anti-US

        Wrong.
        US is anti-Iraq : AFAIK, Iraq never invaded nor bombed US.

        A lot of the world is anti-US. Doesn't mean they're bombing or invading the US. That isn't the definitive guide to who is or isn't anti-US

        • A lot of the world is anti-US.

          Or maybe it's just the US which is paranoid because as far as I see here in Europe, we just pity you for having such corporation, or testosteron-driven presidents.

          Really : we like American people, we felt sorry for you when 2 planes hit the WTC, we even told you at this time, if you do not remember how compassionate we sincerely were, then you definitely have a problem.
    • You've got it backwards. Microsoft is US, Iraq doesn't want the US invading their country, ergo Iraq doesn't want Microsoft invading their country.
      Linux is the logical solution - and the price is right. :-)
    • by Pros_n_Cons ( 535669 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:50AM (#9493475)
      You mean Iraqi's are now getting tech jobs?
      pre-war they had 1 million soldier employed, now they employ what 100,000 soldiers? The economy there is bad for ex killers or skilled labor workers from what I hear, but the tech is booming, doctors, teachers, educated people are seeing double and triple thier old incomes. It's possible this war could change iraq into a technical competitor. Now if only the U.S. could pay our own teachers here triple....
  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:41AM (#9493240)
    Iraq is downloading communism! Torvalds for president! Stallman for information minister!
  • Nice blurb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beacher ( 82033 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:42AM (#9493243) Homepage
    It's just nice seeing a linux article (featuring Iraqis ) that doesn't paint Linux users as terrorists. Don't let Didio interview them, she'll spin an article like "Iraqi Terrorists create KJihad which is what we knew all those Linux users were up to anyways. "

    Nice blurb. Hope Iraq recovers just to face the same job market as over here. Sorry... Yes, someone already peed in my cornflakes.
    -B
    • I'd like to add that Slashdot's "blurb" failed to point out that "The World" is actually a co-production of the BBC, PRI (Public Radio International), and WGBH in Boston. I know that the broadcast in my area is carried on NPR, but actually distributed by PRI. If you're looking for decent international news, sans wacky right-wing skew, you'll dig "The World."
    • It's just nice seeing a linux article (featuring Iraqis ) that doesn't paint Linux users as terrorists.

      I agree that's nice. What I think is even nicer is to see a blurb about Iraqi people living a normal life, developing their minds and industries, excercising free association, instead of getting blown up, tortured, starved, or gassed.

      Even though I think the Administration's rationalization for the war was a sham, I still think a lot of good could come from it it if the new government becomes stable a

      • "if the new government becomes stable and protects freedom for its citizens"

        Which new government would this be?

        The Quislings run by an ex-Baathist-thug, former Saddam assassin, CIA asset Allawi?

        Or the phoney elected one they intend to put in place next year - presumably headed up by the same Allawi?

        It has been said for months that the Bushies intended to find a new Saddam-like strongman to put in place - just like they did the original Saddam, who was a CIA asset for years before he assumed power. Well
  • by mennonot ( 748021 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:42AM (#9493245) Homepage
    My favorite quote from the founder:

    "I wanted to find people to share knowledge with; to learn from them; to speak with guys who share my thoughts."

    He also talks about how the use of open-source software preventing the monopolization of the market by corporations, a big issue in all economic spheres in Iraq right now.

    Sure it's idealistic and a long way off for most Iraqis, but it could be the seeds of important alternatives for the Iraqi people.

    And finally a good sign: "Microsoft refused the be interviewed for this report."
  • I'd like to listen to that report, but unfortunately I did not yet discover how I am supposed to playback a WMA file (Windows Media Player format) on my Debian box. :-(
  • They work fast (Score:5, Informative)

    by neilmoore67 ( 682829 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:45AM (#9493255)
    There is a, IIRC, recently formed Linux user group in Iraq: http://www.iraqilinux.org/ IMHO it's a good change for open source to make an impact if Iraq's public services are going to have the opportunity to make a fresh start on handover.
  • I thought there were restrictions on exporting Linux from the US to Iraq (which somehow mysteriously don't apply to MS)?
    • by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:53AM (#9493291) Homepage Journal
      Possibly the cryptoloop stuff, but remember that Linux is a global project.

      That's why distributions like Debian distribute encryption-related stuff from servers outside the US [debian.org].
  • It is very interesting to see how developing countries are looking at Linux and other open source software as a means to leap-frog over technological problems and to create their own home-grown technology industries.

    I have just got back from a conference in Slovenia at Cyberpipe [kiberpipa.org] which was full of Linux and open-source enthusiasts developing software that was situated locally.

    And of course, there are also political and economic implications of Linux as it allows countries to avoid the costly licensing problems of Windows etc and also avoid the reliance on the US for closed technologies.

    There were some extremely innovative lo-tech hi-tech solutions to problems. For example re-use of old 8080 PCs with Linux installed to control various devices - one in particular was a 12 bank screen for projecting images using old black and white monitors.

    • If anyone actually made Linux on an 8080 CPU, I'll _really_ want to know how. For whoever isn't an old dinosaur like yours truly, the 8080 was an 8 bit CPU and could address a total of 64 KB of RAM. (Yes, that's _kilo_bytes, not megabytes.) It also boasted speeds in the low single digit MHz range.

      Now maybe you mean 8086, but even then... if anyone actually got Linux to run on anything lower than an 80386, I'd really want to hear about it.

      • UZI runs on the Z80. AFAIK you could probably hack it to run on an 8080, I don't think it uses anything special. It is basically a pretty complete 7th Edition Unix kernel.
        • Well, various other flavours of Unix are a different story. Unix or some variant have been ported to pretty much every single computer ever made in the last 20 years or so. The parent poster explicitly said Linux, though, which is why I was asking.
          • Yeah. Although, if you can get ELKS to run on the 8086, you should be able to get it to run on the Z80. And, if it runs on the Z80, it *might* run on the 8080...


            The 8086 only does a couple of things more than the Z80, in terms of 16-bit operations, after all.

            • I've programmed both in assembly, so, yes, I have some idea of what they can do :) I'm not concerned with what the ALU can do with 16 bit operands. At the very least you could always take the same C code and generate Z80 code out of it, instead of 8086 code anyway.

              I'm concerned with space. One thing the 8086 does do, and the Z80 doesn't do (or not natively), is being able to address up to 1MB of RAM via segment registers. Somehow I just can't see Linux run in 64K of RAM, no matter how you optimize it. (And
    • I'd be really interested to hear from Slovenian posters about the economic state of their country, being described as "developing". Last time I was there (1999) it seemed a lot more developed than large parts of the USA (statement not flamebait). Can more informed posters contribute? noting that it was part of the former Soviet Union doesn't wash as a response, so was Estonia and I believe Estonia is now one of the most wired up countries in the world...

    • More info about Slovenia from

      CIA Factbook [cia.gov]

      Oh and the conference for anyone interested was the HAIP conference [kiberpipa.org].

    • There've been stories on Slashdot in past months about Linux in China, and with good reason. Yes, piracy over there is rife, but the Chinese are patriotic enough to build a kind of national pride in doing something differently to the Americans and their Microsoft dependence. They also have the discipline to learn and develop with a new operating system and the concept of open-source software.

      The chief threat, I think, stems from that same national pride in their rush to show that they can "do corporate" ju
    • It is very interesting to see how developing countries are looking at Linux and other open source software as a means to leap-frog over technological problems and to create their own home-grown technology industries.

      But they aren't, tho'. Initial development of Linux was funded by the Finnish taxpayer, and it ran on hardware developed in the US, relying on a compiler also developed in the US. Sure there are bits and pieces developed outside of the "developed nations" (no pun intended). Brazil, for exampl
      • The first steps to a Brazillian OS are being made by the OpenBeOS project (now officially renamed Haiku).

        Seriously, one of the most active contributors of the project is one Bruno G. Albuquerque, a resident of Brazil. There are several other important contributors from around the world working on Haiku as well.

        Of course, there are many of the same problems (U.S. compilers, U.S. hardware, etc.), but the base of initial developers is more multi-national, it seems.

        It's just one of those things that will ta
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What kind of f'ed up imperialism is this?

    They should be required to buy US software!

    I'm writing my representatives.
  • Bloat solution? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stallmanite ( 752733 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:49AM (#9493273) Homepage
    Maybe poor countries developing Free software is just what we need to keep the GNU/L bloat [osnews.com] under control.
    • This might be a troll, but I'll bite.

      Don't like GNOME? Use windowmaker [windowmaker.org]. If that's still too fat for you, use oroborus [oroborus.org]. Still too big? Try setting your window manager to "twm".

      Don't like OpenOffice? MS Office isn't much better...maybe you'd better stick to HTML and CSS with Bluefish [openoffice.nl]. Or maybe vim [vim.org] or Emacs [gnu.org].

      FireFox still too slow? As long as you're dropping features by moving away, try w3m [sourceforge.net] or lynx [browser.org]...two very capable text-based browsers.

      Don't have a 3D accelerator? Play software-rendered Quake [quakeforge.net]. Or
  • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:49AM (#9493275)
    First, SPA "License Inspectors" are sent in. All they find is Free Software. Undaunted, Bill Gates sends in his own lawyers...

    Then it's a year later and the WMA's still haven't been found.
  • by phreakv6 ( 760152 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (6vkaerhp)> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @05:52AM (#9493285) Homepage
    Actually its just the opposite that linux today [Wired news] reported few days back. Slow going for linux in Iraq [linuxtoday.com]
  • patent law isnt written by Microsoft like the proposed EU's.. yet.

    "/Dread"
  • Windows "backdoor" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carvalhao ( 774969 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:04AM (#9493327) Journal

    This is definitely THE major "backdoor" into Windows market share. While in most developed coutries Linux must open it's way into an already large Windows user base which has economical resources to buy the licences, in developing countries it has the opportunity to get a fresh start PLUS a user base that will hardly be able to pay Windows licences!

    As this applies not only to home users but also to governments in these conditions, this is a major victory. As these countries increasingly become the agricultural and industrial centers of our globalised economy, while the developed countries become information and knowledge producers, the need to interface may leed to:

    1 - The adoption of open middleware standards

    2 - The widespread use of Free Open Source software

    Either way, Open Source gets something out of it! :)

    • in developing countries it has the opportunity to get a fresh start PLUS a user base that will hardly be able to pay Windows licences!

      If only :-( In many countries, US-style copyright and software licensing laws to not apply. Many people use unauthorised copies of commercial software (i.e. Windows) anyway moral and legal issues aside.

      If Open Standards, and more importantly Free Software, prevails in places like Iraq, it will do so by virtue of being first: in the right place at the right time like everythi

  • hardly surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by manavendra ( 688020 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:19AM (#9493373) Homepage Journal
    Contrary to the more obvious knee-jerk reaction and wisecracks this post might invoke, I can can understand how the populace of Iraq feels having been subject to years of anarchy, tyranny and then several years of painful, forced and widely questioned war

    We have all seen dozens of documentaries and newsreports of what the people have Iraq have had to face, especially since this new war

    Yet, in a way, things can only become better. Perhaps the fanatics/militants will target something else (or at least outside Iraq) once the formal hand-over/creation of a sovereign Iraq is completed (think its only 9 days to go now).

    The people of Iraq realize the only way forward is to make the most use of whatever resources available, be it hardware or software. Most services and businesses need technology, and though hardware costs cannot be eliminated entirely, open source software solutions go a long way in reducing costs.
  • After all, they already have the beards, and I'm sure sandals are pretty popular in the Arabian desert ;-)
  • Now if the electricity would stay on for more than two hours at a time, they'll be set.
  • by MajGeek ( 781532 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:45AM (#9493457)
    Thing is, we're all assuming the average Iraqi, or even the average Iraqi government minister, *cares* about licensing issues. They don't. This is a country where you can buy pirated CDs with anything you want for next to nothing. If they decide to go with Microsoft products, they'll buy them for a fistful of dinars, install them, and use them for the next three generations with nary a thought of a visit from Redmond copyright police. If Iraq becomes the next bastion of software freedom and advances the cause of FOSS throughout the world, it will be because FOSS DOES THE JOB. Not because of pure idealism, or any longing to breathe free air after decades of tyranny. It's a good opportunity for FOSS advocates to break into an emerging market, but the focus needs to be on the capabilites, ease of use, great support, and security of future development -- not licensing platitudes.
  • Uh Huh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:48AM (#9493467)
    "The idea is to make low-cost, home-grown software and is said to hold great promise for developing countries. It could leapfrog Iraq into a more competitive future."


    Yes, yes, of course it will. Jesus Christ. Does anyone here actually, truly and genuinely believe that a handful of Linux users in Iraq are going to make the nation more competitive when their main natural resource (oil) is being plundered so freely by The West?

    Linux is not the answer to all of the world's problems. Oh, hold on, here's an idea. Stop 'coding' yet another MP3 ripper for KDE, get out a pen and some paper and start writing to your congressmen about the Allies' invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    Free software may help Iraq in the future, but it won't do Jack Shit until they get the rest of their immediate problems sorted first.

    • I was just wondering how far down the page I'd have to scroll to see another "hold everything and feed the children first" merchant. Looks like the concept of a country full of people being able to tackle two problems at once still hasn't sunk in on /.
  • Leapfrogging (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cowbutt ( 21077 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @06:55AM (#9493494) Journal
    The idea is to make low-cost, home-grown software and is said to hold great promise for developing countries. It could leapfrog Iraq into a more competitive future.

    This has happened before; when the former eastern bloc countries wanted to get on the Internet when the iron curtain came down, despite being not especially wealthy, they bought current equipment. As a result, for many years, sites in countries such as Slovenia and Poland were faster than sites in France and Germany that were making do with equipment they'd bought many years earlier.

    --

  • by rotor ( 82928 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:41AM (#9493735) Homepage
    ...if it weren't for one of the people most vilified by slashdotters. It seems a little ironic that people who are so against what the Bush administration has done in Iraq are so excited about the freedoms that the Iraqi people are starting to see as a result of those actions. Yeah - Bush has problems, but the course in Iraq was the right one to take.
    • Yeah - Bush has problems, but the course in Iraq was the right one to take.

      Really.
      Why Iraq? Why not....say Afghanistan. We blew the shit out of them and then left them to rot. This even though they actually *did* harbor terrorists who attacked us. In fact, as far as we know the guy who really did attack us is still there but we gave up on it.

      So explain to us, if you will, what makes the course in Iraq the "right" one, but that same course was wrong in Afghanistan.

      Unless you can explain that, save the mo
    • Right one to take? Ask the tens of thousands of families in Iraq who've lost loved ones over the last year, and are still being shot at by overzealous guys in uniform. Now, those guys have better boots and bigger guns. They're also worse at restoring power and water, and can't tell the difference between a normal iraqi and a militiaman. Right course to take my ass. If you really believe that, I pity you. Turn off Fox.
    • So you're saying the invasion was justified not because of WMD (which never materialized), not because Saddam had ties to al Qaeda (which everyone with a clue agrees that he did not), and not because we would "liberate" Iraq (since we've been against having local elections from the beginning even though many in Iraq have been begging for them, we've shut down newspapers, we're installing a handpicked leader who has been working with the CIA for years, but rather because it might increase the number of linux
  • I was a bit realistic when I said it's going to take between 2 and 5 years t have a solid base to build on. Tons of challenges down there now, security is the bigest issue.

    Iraq does have a large technology work force, they lack direction and lack resources. Just so you know, Iraq governement and educational institues been running Unix since the 1970s on mainly ICL mainframes (International Computers Ltd., too bad they are gone now). I personally knew few Unix gurus in Iraq and it's just a matter of time
  • why develope linux in iraq if nobody can afford a pc??
  • Open source is never more relevant to Iraq. The whole idea was to open source the oil.

    You get some of it with

    ftp oilfield.com

    Maybe not. It's been slashdotted.

  • "Enduring Freedom" :D
  • ... right now Iraq is 0wn3d. Yes, the "handover" will happen soon but please don't kid yourselves into thinking Iraqis will have any say in who gets their money from oil sales for many, many years. They will live under a "forced monopoly" imposed by the US where the US will say what software will be used in all government offices. I personally wouldn't be surprised if they figured out a way to at least temporarily outlaw the use of OS/GPL software in the government to give US software companies a chance to
  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:16PM (#9497490) Homepage Journal
    The story was about the growth of Linux in Iraq. But what about non-Linux operating systems? Are Net/FreeBSD banned because of their mascot, but OpenBSD not because its mascot is Puffy? Enquiring minds want to know!

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