Wow! Berkeley is going to provide all students with “free” copies of Microsoft software for the next couple of years.

Cocaine, 2008, International Relations & Security Network, cc-by-nc-nd

Berkeley Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO Shelton Waggoner emailed all Berkeley students late on Tuesday night to announce that the project for Operational Excellence (OE or Bain & Company consulting, for short) would be distributing Windows and Office to us all as part of the “OE Productivity Suite” (or OEPS – pronounced “whoops”).

Here’s the email (fresh from my inbox less than 30 minutes ago):

We are pleased to announce that the campus has signed a license agreement to provide Microsoft Office and Operating System software to all students at no cost this year and next. Students will be able to download one copy of the following products and may keep the software perpetually upon graduation.
Office Professional Plus or Office for Mac Home & Business (one or the other, not both)
Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating System (OS) upgrades including Windows 7 Enterprise

The software will be available for download beginning Monday, January 9, 2012. Check the Student Technology Council`s (STC) website,, in January for download information.

This agreement is part of the Operational Excellence-sponsored Productivity Suite (PS) project. The goal of this project is to reduce complexity and costs and, at the same time, distribute licenses for the most commonly used software and tools so that everyone can work with the most current version. The Adobe agreement reached at the start of the fall semester is also part of this project.

Have not downloaded Adobe yet?  Go to the STC`s “Downloads“ page,  Links to help with troubleshooting are on the same page. Watch for information about spring semester Adobe training and a T-shirt design contest using Adobe products.

During this academic year, ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab are partnering with the STC on assessing and advising the PS project; first, to support the adoption and use of these popular software products, and second, to gauge interest and usage for such a program over the longer term. Depending upon student feedback and students` continued level of interest, alternatives for cost recovery for student downloads will be explored. More information about these efforts can be found on the STC`s “Downloads“ page,

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Vishalli, Bahar, or the STC (

Vishalli Loomba
President, ASUC

Bahar Navab
President, Graduate Assembly

Shel Waggener
Associate Vice Chancellor-IT and CIO

John Wilton
Vice Chancellor
Administration & Finance

As a good friend once put it, this is DIGITAL DRUG DEALING.We’re being given “free” copies of Office & Windows now so that we don’t consider alternatives later. We’re being locked in. IT’S A TRAP.

Incredible as it might sound, Berkeley can do better – in fact, without negotiating at all, the CIO could distribute operating systems and office productivity software free to all of us for life!

I’ll have more to say about this soon…but for now, venom.


Twisted logic

October 22, 2008

From the stranger than fiction department:

  • Microsoft decides that the middle of a financial melt-down is a good time to punish Chinese users of unlicensed copies of Windows by turning on some really annoying spy-ware.
  • The folks who use the unlicensed software react virulently to Redmond’s latest (and long-predicted) move in their Quixotic crusade against piracy.

I hope some Linux evangelist somewhere is capitalizing on this opportunity.

Here’s Glyn Moody’s concise and direct discussion of some of the reasons why ACTA represents a misguided approach to global information governance.

He does a great job making the case with the general interests of the Linux community and Free and Open-Source Software industries in mind.

Earlier today, Ryan and Isabela Bagueros at NorthXSouth published an interview with Marcos Mazoni, the Brazilian public official currently in charge of Free and Open Source Software initiatives, in which he clarifies his vision of the role of the Brazilian state and public sector firms in promoting the FOSS ecosystem.

I wrote this post last week about Mazoni’s recent appointment as chair of the Committee for the Implementation of Free Software.

On April 17, Marcos Mazoni, the current director of Brazil’s Federal Data Processing firm (SERPRO) was appointed to head an arcane bureaucratic body: the Technical Committee for the Implementation of Free Software (CISL).

Mazoni replaces Renato Martini, the current president of Brazil’s National Technology Institute (ITI, a small office within the executive branch).

This is big news for Brazil’s Free Software movement. One of the earliest public officials to champion FOSS in the world, Mazoni has earned a widespread reputation as an effective administrator and a skilled manager of FOSS migrations.

Mazoni has an impressive record as a public servant in many of Brazil’s largest state-owned IT firms. After leading some of the earliest public sector FOSS migrations in the late 1990’s at PROCERGS (the IT agency of the state of Rio Grande do Sul), Mazoni did not take a federal position under the first administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Instead, he became president of CELEPAR, the Informatics Company of Parana state, from 2003-2006, transforming the firm into Brazil’s most celebrated and extensive case of FOSS adoption.

Mazoni received his current appointment as SERPRO president at the beginning of Lula’s second term in 2007. Since that time, Mazoni has performed a crucial leadership role among the FOSS supporters within the fragmented and over-sized Brazilian bureaucracy.

As head of the CISL, Mazoni will have oversight of the FOSS migration efforts across dozens of federal ministries, agencies, offices, and firms. He will also have an opportunity to implement new migration strategies and build consensus around the strategic, technical, and financial advantages of FOSS.

Lula’s endorsement of FOSS received world-wide attention during his first term. Since that time, many observers have publicly doubted whether there was any substance to Lula’s pro-FOSS stance. While a number of large-scale migrations did take place during the first term, things slowed down following the departure of Sergio Amadeu, the polemical professor who gained global fame for his radical denunciations of the anti-competitive tactics of proprietary-minded IT firms like Microsoft.

Mazoni’s placement as the head of SERPRO, and now as the head of the CISL signals that Lula is still serious about FOSS. With two years to go before Brazil’s next presidential election, Mazoni will almost certainly have time to make his presence felt.

Redwood City, CA based NComputing beats OLPC to the punch in Macedonia.

If it worked for São Paulo, it can work for the Macedonia Ministry of Education and Science.