Open Source in Brazil: Growing Despite Barriers

Foi pesado o sono pra quem não sonhou

 

Brazil, which not so long ago formed one of the bright spots in the world economy (remember the promise of the BRICS quintet?: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), has been battered in recent years by its geographic location, history, and political leadership. When you add up the despair of seeing one set of politicians accused of corruption fighting another set of politicians who are, in turn, accused of corruption; the fall of commodity prices; the implosion of the Petrobras oil giant; the pressures of hosting the Olympics (and the frequent protests it caused); the threat of the Zika virus; the failures of public health; and the threat of general crime met by harsh police incursions—one can well wonder how Brazil gets along at all.

Yet, Brazil remains the most important Latin American economy, strong in extractive industries, manufacturing, and services. It is indeed much weaker than many developed countries in many of the factors that support robust computer industries—universities, a business environment friendly to entrepreneurs, a history of technical innovation, fast Internet access, and a population with strong general or technical educations. However, its strengths give it a long-standing IT infrastructure and IT staff that could be the envy of the rest of Latin America. As we will see, a large tech startup culture has also sprung to life over the past decade.

In the ...

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