IBM Corp. will spend more than $1 million to help fund a Linux technology center in Brazil. The center, created in conjunction with the Brazilian government, aims to train 700 public service professionals on the use of Linux by year's end.
The Centro de Difusão de Tecnologia e Conhcimento (CDTC) opened its doors last week in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, and will employ a staff of 14, including five IBM employees. The center will include a development laboratory, a support call center, and a classroom, all located at the University of Brasilia.
During the next few months, the center will begin setting up training courses in a number of Brazilian cities to train 700 IT professionals from educational institutions, with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of open-source users in Brazil, IBM said.
The focus on the education sector is part of a broader strategy by IBM to help seed Brazil's labor force with new graduates who are educated in the use of Linux and open technologies, said Scott Handy, vice president, worldwide Linux strategy at IBM. "This is a common thing that we're doing in other countries as well, to focus on the universities and the academic side," he said.
IBM has funded similar initiatives in Russia, India, China and South Korea, Handy said. "In all cases we have a similar formula of the government being interested and wanting to use the adoption of Linux and open standards for future economic development," he said.
The growth of Linux in Brazil is almost four times the pace of the country's overall IT growth rate of 5.7 percent, Handy said, citing figures from industry research company IDC.
"Linux is not only the fastest growing server operating system in the world. It's growing by multiples over the general IT growth overall," he said. "That's one of the reasons that these governments feel so comfortable in selecting this as the technology to do economic development on."
Since the government of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January 2003, it has been exploring ways of fostering Linux adoption in the country. In August 2003, the government sponsored a "Legislative Free Software Week" to promote the use of open source software in government.
The opening of the center represents a growing commitment from the government and corporate sectors in Brazil to making "widespread usage of Linux and other open source software a reality in Brazil," said Bruno Ferreira de Souza, principal consultant at Summa Technologies Inc., in São Paulo.
The fact that the center has the endorsement of a large corporation like IBM "also means that there's money to be made on the Linux market, so companies in Brazil should not be afraid of open source, but understand what it can do for them," he said.
In addition to supplying employees and computer equipment, IBM contributed $1 million in services to the CDTC, IBM said.